Daily Vegan Lunch for 13 December, 2013: Potato Leek Curry

vegan potato leek curry IMG_3818
INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon oil
1.5 cups onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped (I used red bell pepper from a jar)
1.5 cups green part of leeks, chopped finely
4 cups potatoes, skinned and cubed
Water for boiling potatoes
4 cups water or vegetable broth, I used water
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice OR 2 teaspoons mango powder (amchoor powder)
1 tablespoon chili sauce or 2 teaspoons tabasco or Sriacha or to taste for heat
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Peel potatoes and chop them into cubes.  Put them in a pot and cover them with water.  Bring the pot to a boil (high heat) and then immediately turn down the heat and cook for about 20 minutes.  If you cut the potatoes to the small size you see in the photo above, you won’t have to cook them the whole 20 minutes.  Potatoes are done when they are fork tender but not mushy.  Drain the potatoes, set them aside.

In a large pan, cook the onion in oil on medium-high heat until translucent.  Add the garlic and all spices except mango powder/lemon juice.  Allow the spices and garlic to cook for about 30 seconds, douse with water.  Add the cooked potatoes, leeks, and red pepper to the pan.  Cook about five minutes or until the potatoes thicken the broth and add salt to taste.   Add hot sauce to taste.  Add the lemon juice or mango powder last, right before serving.    

Daily Vegan Lunch for 28 October, 2013: Red Lentil Pumpkin Curry Soup

red lentil pumpkin curry soup

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon oil

1 cup red lentils
4 cups water

1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1.5 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
1.5 cups canned pumpkin

4 additional cups water and 2 vegan broth cubes

1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
4 cloves
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric

2 cloves garlic, minced

DIRECTIONS:

Bring the red lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil in a pot on the stove. Turn the heat to medium and allow lentils to simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a very large pot, sauté the onion in oil at medium heat until translucent. Add carrot and potato and sauté five minutes. Add cumin, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, cloves, and garlic, sauté 30 seconds more. Douse with 4 cups additional water and broth cubes (or just add 4 cups vegetable broth). Cook until potatoes and carrots are fork tender but not mushy. Add cooked lentils and pumpkin and stir well. Add salt to taste.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 19 October, 2013: Black Lentil, Potato, and Spinach Stew

vegan black lentil, potato, spinach stew indian

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup black or brown lentils
3 cups of water

1 tablespoon oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups potatoes, peeled and chunked
2 cups additional water

3 cups fresh spinach leaves (or use 1.5 cups frozen spinach)
1 heaping tablespoon fresh minced garlic
2.5 cups pureed tomatoes (I used tomatoes from the garden and put them in the food processor for 45 seconds)

SPICES:
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

In a small pot or pan, combine lentils and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer on medium heat. Cook uncovered until lentils soak up all the water.

Fry onion in the bottom of a large soup pot on medium-high heat until translucent. Turn heat down to low. Add spices and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Bring heat back up to high. Add potatoes and 2 cups additional water and boil until potatoes are tender and 1 cup of the water is boiled off. Add spinach, garlic, and puréed tomatoes and cook until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 12 October, 2013: Creamy Spinach and Potato Curry

creamy vegan curried spinach and potatoes

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon oil
2 cups onion, chopped
3 cups frozen organic spinach
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon coriander

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I used my own made of cashews and almond yogurt)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the peeled potato cubes in 2 teaspoons of oil and sprinkle with spices in a baking pan. Toss them to coat. Put into the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, toss the potatoes and cook for 20 more minutes.

In a large pot, fry the 2 cups chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of oil on medium-high heat until onions are translucent. Add the additional teaspoon cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and coriander. Toss for about one minute until spices are fragrant. Add the spinach and vegetables broth to the pot and cook it until the spinach thaws and is heated through, up to 20 minutes. Add the garlic and the cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese is incorporated. Lastly, add the cooked potatoes to the resulting stew. Serve with rice.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 15 July, 2013: Baked Pakoras (Chickpea Flour Vegetable Fritters)

baked vegan pakoras

baked vegan pakoras

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cups besan (chickpea or “gram” flour, found at Indian & Pakistani grocery stores)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 cup onion, sliced
3 cups spinach leaves
2 cups cooked chopped potatoes (I used red potatoes)
2 teaspoons salt

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the chickpea flour and water into a stiff dough and leave alone for 30 minutes. Add the vegetables, salt, and spices and stir until the spinach settles into the dough. At this point, you can either fry or bake the dough. I chose to bake. If you fry them, bring 2 cups of oil to smoking in a deep pan. Drop dollops of the flour/veggie mixture into the oil and retrieve them with a spatula once they turn golden brown.

If you’re baking them, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment and oil the parchment (for flavor). Drop dollops of the flour/veggie mixture on the parchment and bake at 500 degrees for 9 minutes. Flip the pakoras with a spatula and bake for another 9 minutes.

I ate them with spicy ketchup: 1 tablespoon ketchup plus 1 tablespoon chilli sauce.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 11 March, 2013: Samosa Chaat

samosa chaat with 2 chutneys

Samosa is a spicy deep-fried potato and pea dumpling. Chaat means “snack”. You can often buy samosas in the freezer section of the grocery store. Some Indian grocery stores, like the fabulous one by me, actually sell freshly made samosas from a deli counter in the store.  One  problem pre-made or store bought samosas is they’re usually deep fried.  I love deep fried foods but I seldom eat them because as much as I don’t gain weight as fast as before I was vegan, deep-fried foods are still calorie bombs and they are very acid-producing and bad for my health.  You also may not like the samosas from the Indian restaurant or deli because they are almost invariably hot-spicy if you live in the US.

These samosas are baked, which wipes out a lot of unnecessary calories.  Baking doesn’t take away any of the flavor from what I’ve noticed.  I also left out the hot peppers because sometimes I’m into hot spice and at others I’m not.  Today I wasn’t into it.  The secret?  Sweet brown chutney and the sour parsley-cilantro chutney put this over the top in deliciousness.

SAMOSA DOUGH INGREDIENTS:

1 teaspoon oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, add little by little

SAMOSA FILLING INGREDIENTS:

4 small potatoes, unpeeled, or 2 medium large potatoes, unpeeled (about 4 cups chopped)
Water for boiling
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup frozen or canned peas, defrosted in microwave
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon fennel powder or fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder or cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon amchur powder (dried pulverized mango powder sold in Indian grocery stores) or the juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
Salt to taste

SAMOSA CHAAT INGREDIENTS:

1 or 2 samosas, split in half
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Brown sweet chutney and green sour chutney

SAMOSA DIRECTIONS:

Make the dough by combining flour, salt, oil and a little water at a time in a bowl or on a large flat surface.  Scoop it and mess with it until the dough forms a solid ball and knead the crap out of it to develop the gluten in the dough, about 2 minutes.  Once the dough ball is very Play-Dohish in texture, cover it and set it aside for 20 minutes while you make the potato-pea filling.  The dough needs to rest for 20 minutes before you roll it.

Chop the potatoes after washing them.  I don’t bother to skin them.  Boil the chopped potatoes in water on the stove for about 10 minutes until they’re just fork tender.  Strain them and set them aside.  Microwave or boil peas until just defrosted for frozen, for canned peas strain and rinse them.  Fry garam masala, cumin, fennel, and coriander in 1 tablespoon of oil and add peas.  Add drained potatoes and smash them with the peas.  Add amchur powder or lemon or lime juice.  Taste and add salt to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.  Flatten a ball of dough and roll it out with a rolling pin until it is the thinness of a thin pie crust.  Cut the dough circle in half and make it into a fat ice cream cone shape by pasting the two edges together using water.  Stuff the little cone with a heaping tablespoon of potato mixture and seal the top of the cone up so that all of the potato filling is enclosed in a packet.  Put a tablespoon or two of oil on a cookie sheet or casserole dish and lay the samosa down in the oil.  Flip the samosa a couple of times to coat it.  Alternately, you don’t have to use oil anywhere in this recipe.  I’m not all that concerned with being fat free, so I went ahead and used oil. Make the rest of the samosas and lay them down in the casserole dish or cookie sheet.  They can touch each other, they won’t stick.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Flip them and bake 10 minutes more for a total of 25 minutes baking time.

SWEET BROWN CHUTNEY INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup raisins
4-6 dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper

SOUR GREEN CHUTNEY INGREDIENTS:

2 cups washed parsley, densely packed
1/2 a lemon’s juice
1 cup cilantro (this is a good way to use excess cilantro, but replace with parsley, kale, or chard if you don’t like cilantro)
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt

CHUTNEY DIRECTIONS:

Whirl sweet chutney ingredients in a blender or food processor until they are a chunky paste. Scoop out into a bowl. Clean out blender or food processor, use it again to do the same to sour chutney’s ingredients.

ASSEMBLE THE SAMOSA CHAAT:

Serve samosa by reheating them for about 30 seconds in the microwave if necessary and splitting one or two of them in half. Put some chickpeas around the split samosas and dollop generous spoonfuls of the sweet and sour chutneys on them.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 26 January, 2013: Fat-Free Cauliflower-Potato Curry

Fat-free cauliflower potato curry

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water
1.5 cups raw cauliflower, chopped
1.5 cups Yukon gold potatoes, pre-cooked in the microwave
1/2 an onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce or puree

Spices:
OPTIONAL: 1/4 – 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon coriander
3 cloves fresh garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute onion and cauliflower. You are actually braising them, which means steaming them in a fry pan. Meanwhile, stab 2-3 small potatoes with a fork and put them in the microwave for 3 minutes. Keep cooking the potatoes a minute at a time until they seem soft. Chop the potatoes on a cutting board and add them to the cauliflower mixture. Make a well in the center of the vegetables, turning the heat down if necessary to medium. Add the spices in the well you’ve made, but don’t let them burn. Add the tomato sauce and garlic and heat through. Add salt and pepper to finish.

I ate this on a bed of wilted organic spinach and millet (it is all about millet right now) though it would be even better over jasmine or basmati rice.