DDD #80 – Vegan Aloo Palak – Indian Spinach & Potato Curry

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I fucking love Indian food.  I always have.  I have posted many Indian recipes & Indian food is the easiest way to feed someone vegan food without them noticing.  If you research, you will find that most recipes have largely overlapping ingredients.  If you intend to get into cooking Indian food – the critical spices (outside of cumin & coriander) are garam masala & cardamom.  If your local market does not carry the spices you need – and there is no local Indian spice source (ethnic markets are THE BEST resource for cheap spices) – buy them on Amazon.  This recipe calls for fenugreek (or kasuri methi) but I read that celery seeds are a decent substitute.  If you can’t find either – blow it off.

If you are accustomed to cooking Indian food – you might notice I tend to use far larger amounts of the spices than your average recipes.  The measurements are very forgiving, though, so don’t worry if you want to use more – or less – than what I suggest.

I used a vegan goat cheese that I bought at a Soledad Santuary stand at the Hollywood farmer’s market.  If you live in Hollywood or can make it to that market – look for them.  They recently turned vegan & are experimenting making many kinds of vegan cheese.  (If you get there – BTW – look for Dave’s Korean stand, too.  Their tempeh is INSANE!)  You can use any soft vegan cheese (cream cheese or yogurt or goat cheese – if you can find some).  If you are not vegan – a Boursin or garlic/chive cream cheese would work.  You just need some sort of “dairy” to mellow out the overall flavor.

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Vegan Aloo Palak (Indian Spinach & Potato Curry)

Serves 4-6 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 – 2 lbs fresh spinach (You can use canned or frozen but the flavor will not be the same & you won’t get the vibrant green color.  Google Aloo Palak & see how ugly it can look.  LOL)

3 large red potatoes – cubed

1 large onion – diced

1-3 jalapenos (to taste) – chopped (remove seeds to lessen the heat)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp cumin

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced (I used jarred)

1 TBS garlic – minced (I used jarred)

1-3 tsp chili powder (I used 3 but I like heat)

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp dry fenugreek (or celery seeds) – OPTIONAL

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 cup vegan soft cheese

Salt

Olive oil

Garnish – cooked rice and/or naan

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DIRECTIONS

Boil a large pot of water & blanch the spinach by immersing it for 30 seconds to a minute – so it wilts.  Plunge into cold water & drain.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil & pan fry the potatoes until they begin to brown – turning often.  This might cook them through – depending on how large your cubes are.  If it doesn’t do not worry.  They can cook more in the spinach.  Set aside.

In that same pan – heat another TBS olive oil & add the cumin seeds.  Once they begin to sputter, add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, & spices.  Cook until the onion is soft.

In a food processor – blend the onion mix.  Then – add the drained spinach & puree.  Return this to the pan.  Stir in the cheese & add the potatoes.  Heat through & be sure your potatoes are soft.  You may have to add between 1-2 cups of water to thin it out.  If it is too thick add more water.  Too thin?  Cook it down.

Serve with rice or naan – or eat it naked!  I mean – the spinach & potatoes could be naked – as the potato adds a starch to the dish, already.  But – if you wanna be naked yourself – I don’t see a problem with that.  Your roommate or children might feel awkward but fuck’m.  You just made motherfuckin’ Aloo Palak.   What the fuck have they achieved lately?  Probably not appreciate you enough, that’s what.

See my point?  Might as well swill some wine, too.  Haters gonna hate.  No reason for you to give any fucks at all.  Eat, drink & be proud you just made a yummy vegan meal!

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DDD #74 – Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew to Detox & Cleanse (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

My friend, Katie, turned me on to kitchari.  Apparently, you can eat it – JUST IT – for 1-7 days straight & it calms your digestive tract & detoxes you system but with the added benefit of feeling like decadent comfort food.  Also – mung beans are dirt cheap. (Articles on the subject are linked at the bottom of this post).  This recipe makes about 7 quarts which is a fuckton so – unless you are feeding a lot of people or want to freeze some – consider reducing the recipe.

I used an Instant Pot to make mine but this can be done in a slow cooker or stove top.  I really recommend Instant Pots, though, because they steam, pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, cook cakes, saute, cook eggs & clean windows.  I got my huge one HERE for just over $100 & I am VERY happy with it.  I can now get rid of several other appliances.

***NOTE – I soaked my beans on the counter overnight & in the fridge a second night but this is not necessary.  If you want to move more quickly – boil some water, add your beans & let them soak for an hour.

Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew

Caters a party so be ready for a lot

INGREDIENTS

3 cups mung beans (I used half whole green & half split green – as seen above) – soaked (see ***NOTE above)

1-2 TBS coconut oil or olive oil

1 onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS (or more – to taste) salt (I used pink Himalayan)

1 TBS ground mustard

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS ground pepper

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 (15 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

6 TBS minced ginger

1 cup cilantro

Vegetables are optional.  Use any you prefer but I added:

5 small turnips – diced

5 small golden beets – diced

1 large sweet potato – diced

5 oz baby kale

1 tomato – diced

6 cups water

2 cups basmati (or other long grain white rice)

(If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add a tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.)

GARNISH – coconut butter, cilantro, crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS

Quick soak your beans (see note above) if you did not soak them overnight or for 2 days, as I did.)

Traditionally, the rice is cooked in the same pot with everything else.  My Instant Pot was not large enough so I cooked it separately.  This is your call – or maybe your pot size will determine your choice but it does not matter much either way.

Rinse the rice.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large pot (or your Instant Pot – my pot is 8 Quarts) and soften.  Add the garlic & spices & stir to combine.

If you are using a slow cooker, transfer the onions & spices to it.  Everything else is the same no matter whether you are slow cooking, Instant Pot cooking or going stove top.  Only the cooking time will vary.

Now, add everything else to the pot.  If your pot is easily deep enough to hold the rice, too, add that.  If you are cooking the rice in the same pot – add 4 additional cups of water to the 6 cups used if you are cooking the rice separately (assuming your rice directions ask for 2 cups water per 1 cup rice.  Adjust accordingly if your rice has different directions).  Or – just cook the rice separately as the package directs.  If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add 1 tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.

Slow cooker – cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Stove top – bring to a boil uncovered for 5 minutes.  Reduced heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or more or until everything is tender.

Instant Pot – seal & cook manually for 10 minutes.

If it is to thick, thin it with extra water.  If it is too thin, let is simmer, uncovered, for a while longer.

Serve with rice (if you cooked it separately) and garnish with coconut butter (burns fat & lowers cholesterol) and lots of cilantro & maybe some crushed red pepper.

Here are some articles for more info on kitchari & using it to detox:

What is kitchari? – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/blog-the-banyan-insight/details/what-is-kitchari-why-we-eat-it-for-cleansing

3-Day Cleanse – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/cleansing/a-very-simple-three-day-cleanse/

How to do a kitchari cleanse – http://www.krissyruddy.com/how-to-do-a-kitchari-cleanse/

DDD #70 – Vegan Gobi Musallam or Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Curry Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

This dish makes an incredible centerpiece for your vegan holiday table but is good as a side, too.  I ate the entire thing alone in two days.  So yummy!  I overcooked my cauliflower in the boiling water just a bit so it did not hold its shape perfectly.  So – be sure to only cook your cauliflower the 8 minutes & then drain it under cold running water.

Even if this guy falls apart when you cut into it, the flavor is not impacted.  It is really delicious.

Gobi Musallam or Whole Roasted Cauliflower in Curry Sauce

INGREDIENTS
1 Head cauliflower (leaves and tough stem removed)
Water to blanch
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder optional
curry sauce
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 medium red onion – chopped
1 TBS minced ginger
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS crushed red pepper chili flakes (or to taste)
3 medium tomatoes – quartered
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch dried Fenugreek powder (or 1 TBS kasuri methi) – optional
1 15 oz can coconut milk
1/4 cup vegan yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup (or 1/4 teaspoon sugar)
Garnish – cilantro, pomegranate seeds, cooked rice or naan
INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Use enough water so all of the cauliflower can be immersed in it.  Add salt, turmeric and chili and cook the whole cauliflower by immersing it in the water – bottom side down.  Cover and cook for 8 minutes.  Drain & rinse under cold running water to stop its cooking.
In a pan, add oil and heat over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute until golden, 6-7 minutes.  Add ginger, garlic chili and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add the spices and mix.  Add tomatoes, salt, sugar, fenugreek (if using), mix and cook covered until tender.   Add coconut milk.  Heat a bit.  Puree in a blender.  Taste and adjust salt, spice.
Oil a baking dish  – either a cast iron pan or casserole dish that can accommodate the head of cauliflower.  Place the blanched cauliflower in a baking dish.  Reserve about 1/3 of the sauce & set it aside.  Slowly pour the remaining sauce the puree on top to cover the entire head of the cauliflower. Some sauce will fall pool around the bottom of the cauliflower.
Bake for 40-45 minutes till the cauliflower is dry to touch and sauce thickens a bit. Turn the dish around after 30 minutes.
Heat the remaining sauce to just about a boil so it thickens and serve on the side.
Garnish with warmed reserved sauce & fresh cilantro and maybe even some pomegranate seeds – if you are feeling festive.   Serve as a side or with rice or naan.

DDD #56 – 5-Minute Vegan Sticky & Spicy Indian Masala Chicken Fingers

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Click the image above to watch the video.

Today is Official Chucky the Killer Doll Day!  So – be sure to watch the UNRATED dvd version for a post credits surprise!

1989 – above.  2017 – below.

Kyle fan art by @LuxBlackArts

Isn’t that cool?  Anyway –

These take 5 minutes & are completely irresistible!  I ate the entire 9 oz of chicken in one sitting.  I recommend using Beyond Meat chicken because it really is the best on the market.  Click the link to  use their store locator.  In the pictures – I cooked these in a regular non-stick pan but I did, ultimately, transfer them to a grill pan – just for the aesthetic of the grill marks.  If you have a grill pan – use it – otherwise any pan will do.

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5-Minute Vegan Sticky & Spicy Indian Masala Chicken Fingers

Serves 1-2 as an appetizer (though this would go great with rice, too)

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan chicken

2 TBS garam masala

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup chili sauce (the sweet Thai kind)

2 tsp soy sauce

2 TBS sriracha

1 TBS ketchup

juice of 1/2 lime

Agave nectar

Olive oil or cooking spray

GARNISH – sliced scallions, sesame seeds

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk all the ingredients except the chicken, agave & garnish.  Set the sauce aside.

If you have a grill pan (or other pan) – treat it with cooking spray or olive oil.  Put the chicken in the pan on high heat.  Add the sauce & cook, turning the strips frequently, until the sauce thickens & begins to blacken in spots – likely only a few minutes.  Just before they are done – drizzle with a little agave nectar for moisture.

Serve with choice of garnish.

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DDD #47 – Vegan Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Click the image below to watch a video for this recipe.


OK – this dish is really easy to make & wildly delicious!  And – you get to smoke it yourself in just five minutes!  This is a really cool new trick I learned & I cannot wait to find new ways to use it.

All you need is a piece of natural charcoal (without lighter fluid or chemicals) – like this:

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You heat it up on the stove – like this:

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There is one more step but I will get back to that later.  There are a few steps involved in the overall recipe but all are very easy!  And the only “exotic” ingredient is the garam masala.  If you cannot find it or don’t feel like looking for it – you can make it from stuff you likely already have.  Look for recipes HERE.

This recipe really makes quite a lot of this stuff – enough for four – more if you serve it with rice or naan or roti.   If you don’t have lots of folks to feed & don’t want yummy leftovers – cut the recipe in half – at least.  I like my Indian food very flavorful & I tend to double or triple the amount of spices that traditional recipes typically suggest.  I will post this recipe with a suggested amount of each thing & then tell you what I used.  This dish is spicy but not crazy spicy – but I do like heat.  If you have a more tender palate – be conservative.

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Oh – and check out this tip on how to cut an onion without crying!

Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry

Feeds 4 generously – served with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 small onions – diced

1 red bell pepper – seeded & diced

6 medium tomatoes

30 raw almonds (or raw cashews)

3+ TBS vegan butter

2 lb eggplant (any variety) – cubed

1-2 TBS ginger – minced (I used 2 but mine was jarred.  Maybe go lighter if you are using freshly grated ginger)

4-10 garlic cloves – minced (I used 10)

1-2 TBS garam masala (I used 1)

1-3 tsp chili powder (I used 1)

Cilantro – as garnish

(serve with steamed rice or naan or roti or tortillas)

for smoking the eggplant curry

1 lump of coal about the size of a lemon or larger

2 TBS olive or vegetable oil

1 small METAL bowl to safely hold the hot charcoal

You also need a large saute pan & some sort of cover.  I used my wok cover.

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the nuts in some water for 5 minutes.  I used this metal dog food dish & used it again later in the smoking process.

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(In the video version – I did not peel the tomatoes so feel free to skip this step.)  Meanwhile – poke some holes in your tomatoes with the tip of a knife & drop them into boiling water.  After a few minutes – you will see the skins curling off.  Drain & run under cool water until you can handle them without burning yourself.  Then core them.

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Drain the nuts & then puree them in a blender with the tomatoes.  Set aside.

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Heat 3 TBS of vegan butter or olive oil in a large saute pan – large enough to hold ALL the ingredients.   Over high heat – saute the onions & red bell pepper & eggplant.  Saute until the eggplant begins to brown.  Add more vegan butter or olive oil if needed.  This should take about 10 minutes.

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Add the garam masala & chili powder & the ginger – stir to incorporate.  Add the garlic & stir for one minute – then add the tomato puree.  Boil this for about 5-7 minutes until it thickens.  If it gets too thick – add a bit of water.

When it looks about like this:

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TURN OFF THE HEAT & put your metal bowl in the center of the pan.

Now – heat up the charcoal – like this:

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When it is red hot or graying on the outside – USE METAL TONGS & put it in the bowl in the center of your curry.  Then pour some olive or vegetable oil on it  It will immediately begin smoking so – if you have a hood with vents – turn them on.   Quickly – cover it up with a pot cover of some sort.  I used my old & very beaten up wok cover.

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Let this sit for 5-10 minutes & let the smoke work its magic.  I went 6 minutes because I was afraid it would be too smoky.  It wasn’t.  In the future – I will go for ten minutes.  CAREFULLY remove the metal bowl – with two pairs of tongs.  DO NOT BURN YOURSELF!

DEFINITELY season this with salt.  Do not be shy – but add it in increments.  Salt is under-rated as a spice.

Then – just serve this over some rice or with naan or a tortilla or roti – garnished with some cilantro.

Awesome?  Right?

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DDD #35 – Vegan Butter Chicken & Chickpeas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This blog is 5 years old today!   And my Youtube channel just hit 1000 subscribers!  I am very happy about both milestones.

I have a video on my Youtube channelwww.VideoVegan.com for this.  Click the photo below to watch & please subscribe!

I have really become obsessed with my slow cooker.  Slow cookers – as I have many.  The one that I can set to cook for 5 hours & then just keep the food warm is the best because I can set it & go to work & come back 10 hours later to a house that smells delicious & a warm meal waiting for me.  If you don’t have a low cooker – I really encourage you to get one.  Easy doesn’t get easier than a recipe like this one.  Just throw everything in & set the timer for 5 hours & that is it.

I used Beyond Meat vegan chicken because it is, hands down, the best fake chicken on the market.  But you could use real chicken or just use chickpeas.  Your call.

I used two kinds of saffron:

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That Golchin liquid stuff is affordable (under $10) and is GENIUS.  If your store doesn’t carry it – buy it on Amazon or something.

The saffron threads are delicate & lovely but very costly.  They were part of a gourmet gift box I was given for my birthday – and not usually on my shopping list.  Either or both of these work – but I suggest trying to use one – because saffron is such a specific & lovely flavor & adds gorgeous color – but it isn’t really critical for this dish to be a success.  So – if you don’t have it, don’t like it, can’t find it – blow it off.

I used dry chickpeas because I am delighted by how cheap they are & I like that they have been processed less & have no added sodium.  But – if you want to use canned ones – go ahead!  This could be made stove-top easily with canned beans – just don’t add the 4 cups of water.

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Vegan Butter Chicken and Chickpeas for the Slow Cooker

Feeds a LOTTA folks – maybe 8-10 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry chickpeas (or 4 cans – but if you use canned chickpeas – eliminate the water here)

3 cups water (4 cups if you are gonna leave it for 10 hours – like I did)

9 ox vegan chicken

2 jalapenos (red or green) – seeded & diced

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 TBS ginger – minced

8 oz tomato sauce (I used a homemade arrabbiata)

6 oz tomato paste

14 oz can lite coconut milk

1/2 tsp crushed saffron threads (optional)

3 TBS saffron liquid (optional)

1 TBS garam masala

1 TBS curry powder

1 tsp chili powder

1 TBS turmeric

2 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

garnish – cilantro, scallions, yogurt (vegan or otherwise), cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into a slow cooker & set on high for 5 hours.

If you are using canned chickpeas – do not add water.  As you see above – this recipe has lots of gravy (the upper picture is before it cooked & the other is how it looked 10 hours later).  If you want  it thicker – whisk some cornstarch (2-3 TBS) into a little water & stir it in.  It should thicken up.  If it is too thick – add water.

Serve over rice & garnish at will.

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DDD #34 – Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

The video for this recipe is up on the Youtube channel.  Click the image below to watch & please subscribe!

So – flipping around the internet, I came across a recipe from a blog I love.  The blog is Pinch of Yum.  I love the blog because the photographs are mercilessly lush & gorgeous.  About a year ago, she posted her “life-changing 30 minute masala sauceand the photos are so great – I just could not get the recipe out of my mind – so – I made it!  She offers the recipe for a masala paste & then how to make a sauce from the paste.  She served the sauce over her “30-minute vegetarian meatballs.”  I did not have the ingredients for the meatballs so I decided to serve my sauce over Gardein beefless tips & chickpeas.

The paste is SUPER easy.  You just whip it up in a food processor.  The sauce is super easy, too, and she is right!  It is delicious!  You could serve the sauce over any meat or meatless meat or veggie or even rice or pasta you desire.  The paste makes a lot so maybe freeze some.

I did not have onions so I used shallots & scallions.  I used two tomatoes & some tomato paste in place of her suggested 1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth – just because that was all I had.  Worked out great!  I recommend you make this sauce & follow her blog.  It is really wonderful!

Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan beef (or other vegan meat)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas – drained
for the masala paste
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, crushed
3 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
a small pile of of cilantro stems
a fistful of almonds
juice of one lemon
for the masala sauce
1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt (taste and adjust)
GARNISH – cooked rice & cilantro
DIRECTIONS
Pulse all the ingredients for the Masala Paste in a food processor until smooth.  Put it into a container for storage in the fridge or freezer – reserving only 1/4 cup of the paste for this recipe.  The rest is extra!
Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet. Add 1/4 cup masala paste to the skillet and with a little bit of oil and stir around in the pan until fragrant (3-5 minutes).  Add the tomato puree and water and simmer until t’s a rusty-deep-red color – about 5-10 minutes.  Add the beef & chickpeas.  Add the coconut milk; simmer for 10 minutes or so until thick and creamy.  Longer simmer = thicker and better flavor.
Serve over warm rice & garnish with chopped cilantro.

DDD Ep. #24 – Vegan Saag with Tofu Paneer

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board –HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is a really easy dish but this recipe makes a boatload so you might want to consider cutting it in half – or doublinf the tofu paneer recipe because that shit is yummy!

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Vegan Saag with Tofu Paneer

INGREDIENTS

for the tofu paneer

1 block extra firm tofu

4 TBS nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan

3 TBS olive oil

2 tsp salt

for the saag

2 lbs fresh spinach

3 TBS olive oil

2 TBS cumin seeds

1 small onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS ginger

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1-2 TBS turmeric (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1-2 TBS garam masala (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1-2 TBS ground coriander (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

5 tomatoes – diced

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

1 cup of either vegan heavy cream or sour cream or cream cheese or a combination

DIRECTIONS

Whisk the nutritional yeast, oil & salt in a bowl.

Slice the tofu in half & place between paper towels.  Rest something heavy on it to press out some moisture.

Cube the tofu & toss it in the mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Puree 1 lb of spinach with some water in a blender or food processor.  Just use enough water to facilitate the pureeing.  This is optional.  You could opt to just chop half the spinach – or all of it.

Heat 3 TBS olive oil in as pan & add 1-2 TBS cumin seeds (use less for a less heavily spiced dish).   When they start popping & get fragrant, add the onion & saute until soft.

Add the garlic & ginger & jalapenos.  Saute a few minutes & then add the spices.  Add some water to create a thin paste.  Heat through & add the tomatoes.  Add the sugar & salt & combine.  Once the tomatoes are warmed & soft – start adding the fresh spinach until it all cooks down.  Ad the pureed or chopped spinach & stir to combine.  Stir in the vegan dairy you chose to use.  Heat through.  Taste & adjust seasonings.

Serve with the baked tofu paneer on top and some rice or naan.

Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

So – flipping around the internet, I came across a recipe from a blog I love.  The blog is Pinch of Yum.  I love the blog because the photographs are mercilessly lush & gorgeous.  About a year ago, she posted her “life-changing 30 minute masala sauceand the photos are so great – I just could not get the recipe out of my mind – so – I made it!  She offers the recipe for a masala paste & then how to make a sauce from the paste.  She served the sauce over her “30-minute vegetarian meatballs.”  I did not have the ingredients for the meatballs so I decided to serve my sauce over Gardein beefless tips & chickpeas.

The paste is SUPER easy.  You just whip it up in a food processor.  The sauce is super easy, too, and she is right!  It is delicious!  You could serve the sauce over any meat or meatless meat or veggie or even rice or pasta you desire.  The paste makes a lot so maybe freeze some.

I did not have onions so I used shallots & scallions.  I used two tomatoes & some tomato paste in place of her suggested 1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth – just because that was all I had.  Worked out great!  I recommend you make this sauce & follow her blog.  It is really wonderful!

Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan beef (or other vegan meat)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas – drained
for the masala paste
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, crushed
3 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
a small pile of of cilantro stems
a fistful of almonds
juice of one lemon
for the masala sauce
1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt (taste and adjust)
GARNISH – cooked rice & cilantro
DIRECTIONS
Pulse all the ingredients for the Masala Paste in a food processor until smooth.  Put it into a container for storage in the fridge or freezer – reserving only 1/4 cup of the paste for this recipe.  The rest is extra!
Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet. Add 1/4 cup masala paste to the skillet and with a little bit of oil and stir around in the pan until fragrant (3-5 minutes).  Add the tomato puree and water and simmer until t’s a rusty-deep-red color – about 5-10 minutes.  Add the beef & chickpeas.  Add the coconut milk; simmer for 10 minutes or so until thick and creamy.  Longer simmer = thicker and better flavor.
Serve over warm rice & garnish with chopped cilantro.

Leftover Lentils Red Coconut Curry Beef and Bean Meatloaf (Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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The other day, I made a boatload of Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils – seen just above.  By boatload – I mean I started with 5 cups of dry lentils.  That makes nearly twice as much of the finished product – so – I decided to try to reinvent them.    I used two cups of them in this recipe and I still have a ton left.  You can either make this lentil recipe (cut in half) or your own favorite lentil recipe.  I recommend these because the flavor profiles match but I am pretty sure most lentil recipes will do.

I baked mine for an hour but this loaf was only about an inch deep.  I recommend going shallow rather than deep because the deeper the loaf is – the trickier it will be to get it cooked through without drying it out.

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I also used this crazy glaze I spotted at Ralph’s.  If you cannot find this – either let the loaf be naked or mix up a glaze of your choice – or just top it with your favorite BBQ sauce.  Glazes are nice because they add moisture & another flavor component.    Here is a CURRY KETCHUP recipe (use agave rather than honey – if you are vegan) and here is a SRIRACHA KETCHUP recipe (again – use agave rather than honey – if you are vegan).    I posted Korean & traditional BBQ sauce recipes HERE.

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Leftover Lentils Red Coconut Curry & Beef and Bean Meatloaf (Vegan)

Makes one meatloaf

INGREDIENTS

2 cups prepared lentils (your favorite recipe or less than half of this recipe Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils)

11 oz vegan beef crumbles (I always use Beyond Meat)

2 TBS red curry paste (or more – to taste)

5.6 oz coconut milk

1/4 cup oats (more if your mixture seems too wet – less if it seems too dry) – breadcrumbs work, too

1/4 cup flax meal (more if your mixture seems too wet – less if it seems too dry)

GARNISH – your favorite meatloaf glaze or BBQ sauce & cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all your ingredients together.  Get it to about the consistency of a wet burger.

I lined my pan with foil but parchment paper is better.  I sprayed it with cooking spray & poured the lentil mixture in & pressed it flat.

Top with the glaze of your choice.

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until it is cooked through.  A testing stick should come out clean.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before transferring or cutting into it.

Top with more glaze, if you desire, & serve with fresh cilantro.

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Vegan Spicy Green Coconut Curry with Vegetables & Split Lentils for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Slow cooker recipes.  Is anything better than just dumping a bunch of ingredients into a slow cooker, going away for hours and then coming home to dinner – warm & waiting?  I think not!

I used yellow split lentils or urad dal – but any variety of lentils will work just fine.  I added a ton of random vegetables – because I had them.  You can add or omit any veggies you like.

I had a big bag of English peas & some fresh spinach that were going to spoil before I could cook them – so – I froze them.

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It was about 2 cups of peas & make 4 cups of spinach but the spinach wilted in the freezer – down to about 4 cups.  If you use frozen veggies in yours – add them at the very end or they will just disintegrate.

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Vegan Spicy Green Coconut Curry with Vegetables & Split Lentils for the Slow Cooker

Makes a lot – likely enough to feed 6 well if served with rice

INGREDIENTS (very flexible)

2 cups lentils

2 potatoes – cubed

1 small onion – diced

1-4 cloves garlic – minced

1 small head cauliflower – cut into small florets

1-5 jalapenos – seeded & diced (use less or omit – if you do not like heat)

3-5 carrots – sliced

3 TBS ginger – minced

1 (5.5 oz) can coconut milk (use more for a richer curry)

3 TBS green curry paste

1 TBS garam masala

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp turmeric

6 cups vegetable stock

4 cups fresh spinach or 2 cups frozen

2 cups peas

S&P

GARNISH – hot sauce (like sriracha), cilantro & cooked rice (I used basmati)

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 DIRECTIONS

Put everything except peas, spinach & any frozen vegetables you might be using into the slow cooker.  If using anything frozen – all them to thaw.  Ignore my photos showing the spinach & peas being added with the other ingredients at the start.  They disintegrated & I had to add more of each at the end.  I also added the cauliflower after the curry had been cooking for hours – hence the different-looking imagery below.

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Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.  If it is too thick, add stock or water.  If it is too thin – cook a bit longer with the lid off – or mash some of the curry with a masher or immersion blender to create a thicker gravy.

15 minutes before serving – add peas, spinach & any frozen vegetables you selected.  Season with S&P.

Serve with rice & garnish with cilantro & hot sauce.

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Beyond Meat Vegetarian Indian Curry with Beyond Chicken – Frozen Dinner – Part 4

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Ever have a bad day?  Cat peed on your favorite shoes?  Splashed at the street corner by a passing car driving through a puddle?  Dropped your phone in the toilet?  Smiled your toothiest & flirtiest smile at that cute guy at Starbucks only to later discover you have poppy seeds between several teeth? Someone cut you off in the parking lot & then gave YOU the finger?  Just found out your new boss is 25 years younger than you?  Asked for a cute bob but walked out looking more like Tom Petty than Taylor Swift?   Get spaghetti sauce on that white blouse you just splurged on?  Bought a 12x magnifying mirror – looked in it – and you are now convinced you can never leave the house again?  Trapped behind zombie walkers at Costco?  Sharted?  It happens.

Need a little comfort food to go with your box of wine but you can’t really cook or you are too exhausted, anyway?  Well…

Beyond Meat to the rescue!

Beyond Meat has done it again!  Very soon, 4 different, single-serving frozen meals will become available.  They might already be available at Whole Foods in the frozen meal aisle.  I was lucky enough to find one of each kind and I will talk about the Vegetarian Indian Curry here today.  The Korean BBQ & Vietnamese Lemongrass & Vegetarian Roasted Sweet Potato Chili were reviewed separately.

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Zaps in the microwave in between 3-6 minutes…and a low calorie count with only 300 calories!!!    I like my food spicy so I added a TBS or so of spicy chutney to this & it was delightful!  And for those concerned about protein intake – this has 21 grams!  This dish was filling for 300 calories & I bet meat eaters would never guess it is vegan.  I prefer my Indian food with more gravy – the wetter dishes – but despite the lack of a heavy sauce – this really was delicious.

Non-GMO & 100% vegan – this is a welcome new dish in the convenience food market.  I highly recommend it!  Vegan, non-GMO & right in the ballpark with Lean Cuisines (et al) with a very low calorie count but with the added benefit of exotic flavors and – I feel – a denser & more filling product.  Win-win-win-win-win!

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Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Pictured above with Creamy Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry & Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”

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This one has quite a few ingredients only two of which might be hard to find – the fenugreek seeds & the curry leaves.  Honestly – I think there is so much flavor in this dish that you can omit those if you cannot find them.   This dish used unsweetened grated coconut blended with cashews & I did not blend my coconut fine enough & it added a bit of texture to the dish that was not unpleasant – but I will definitely pulse it more finely next time.

Indian foods are often served with one of my favorite condiments in the world – Spicy Cilantro and Mint Chutney (seen below) and I recommend making some because it really adds something special – though it is definitely not necessary.

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Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb mixed mushrooms – sliced

2 cups peas

2 tomatoes – diced

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

4 TBS fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 cup unsweetened grated coconut

20 cashews

15 curry leaves (optional)

2 tsp black mustard seeds (mustard powder – if you do not have seeds)

1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 TBS coconut or olive oil

5 cups vegetable stock

Garnish – cilantro

Cooked rice

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 DIRECTIONS

Pulse the cashews & coconut in a food processor or spice mill until the coconut is very fine – more fine than in my photo below.  Set aside

Heat 2 TBS oil & saute the mushrooms over high heat until they are soft & beginning to brown.  Put in a bowl & set aside.

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In the same pan  – add another TBS oil & add the mustard seeds heat until they begin to pop then add the fennel seeds & fenugreek seeds.

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Stir & add the onion & tomato & saute until the onions are soft.  Add the garlic & the ginger & the chili powder, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cumin & stir to incorporate.

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Add the coconut/cashew blend & the curry leaves.  Blend & then add the stock & bring to a boil.

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Boil it down until it thickens a bit & then add the mushrooms & peas.  You might want to reserve a few mushroom slices & peas to garnish the servings but this is not necessary.

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If the texture is to your liking – serve it on top of rice.  I chose to puree about half of it with an immersion blender.  You can do this – or use a regular blender to puree some of it – or not.  Your call.

Serve over rice & garnish with reserved veggies or cilantro.

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Creamy, Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Pictured with Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”

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The photo of the greens above (which I stole from the internet) is of fresh fenugreek leaves (or methi).  I bought some at my local Indian market (India Sweets & Spices).  From the internet:

Fenugreek is an annual herb with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor often described as a cross between celery and maple. The seeds can be used whole or ground and are commonly found in curry powder.

I had them, so I used them.  If you cannot find them, use spinach or chard or even kale – it doesn’t much matter.

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This is an easy but very creamy dish so it would go over a cauliflower “rice” nicely – and you avoid doubling up on heavy starches.  The flavors here are subtle & mild – a rare dish I added little spice to.   If you cannot find fenugreek SEEDS (any Indian market will have them & they won’t be expensive) – they can be purchased online – Amazon, for example.

I used a random mix of potatoes – and any potatoes would do – even sweet potatoes.

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Creamy, Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry

Easily feeds 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of methi (fenugreek) leaves or other greens (like spinach or chard or kale)

4 cups of cubed potatoes

1-2 TBS olive oil or coconut oil

1 onion – diced

1-3 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced (go less or omit – if you hate heat)

1 tsp black mustard seeds (I was out so I used mustard powder)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)

1/4 cup vegan sour cream

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1/2 – 1 cup unsweetened almond (or other vegan) milk

S&P

Cooked rice or cauliflower rice

OPTIONAL – garnish with Spicy Cilantro and Mint Chutney – seen just below.

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DIRECTIONS

Boil the potatoes until they are just done.  Drain & set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan & add the mustard (seeds or powder), fennel seeds & fenugreek seeds.  Once the seeds start popping – add the onion & chilies.  Cook until the onion begins to brown  bit.   Add the potatoes, fenugreek leaves (or other chopped greens), turmeric, chili powder & cumin & stir to combine.  Cook until your greens wilt.

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Add the sour cream, cream cheese and milk (add milk in increments until you get the consistency you like) & stir to incorporate them.

Season to taste with S&P.

Serve over rice.

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Vegan Creamy Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I love Indian food.  I always have.  I also love cooking with dry beans & lentils because they are so inexpensive & yield many servings for pennies per serving.  The only issue with Indian recipes is acquiring the exotic spices – which can be expensive if you do not buy them from an Indian market.  Ethnic markets are always the best place to buy spices because each will typically carry all you need for recipes from that area of the world and at greatly reduced prices.  If you do not live in an area with much diversity – Amazon is wonderful.  You can typically omit a few spices from most recipes with little loss of flavor but it is really satisfying to be as authentically true to a regional recipe as possible.   With Thai food, for example, getting fresh kaffir lime leaves & Thai basil makes an enormous difference.  You just open the packages of these things and are transported to your favorite Thai restaurant.  Indian food has a few staples that are hrd to get around – garam masala, for example.  But it is stuff like cardamom & fenugreek (methi) that add authenticity.  Fenugreek is an herb – pictured below – both fresh & dried.  It also comes in seed form & as a powder and it is ubiquitous in Indian recipes in one form or another.  It might be a good idea to research a few Indian recipes & stock up on the critical spices sif you want to experiment with this wonderful cuisine.  HERE is a list of the most used spices – garam masala being the most commonly used and that list omitted the kasoori (or kasuri) methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and I would add that to your list as well as amchoor (mango powder).

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I made a version of mahkani in July – seen above – my Spicy Vegan Dal Makhani (Beluga or Black Lentils) for the Slow Cooker.   That dish used beluga lentils & is not as authentic as today’s recipe. In today’s recipe I used whole black lentils (also called urad dal or black gram) and red kidney beans (rajma).    I not only soaked these beans overnight but I also cooked them in my slow cooker for 5 hours on high AND left them overnight to let the flavors meld.  I recommend this (though it is not necessary) to let the beans really soften & the flavors blend – so – if you are making this dish it takes two days before you are eating it.  Again, you definitely could eat it after the 5 hours but like many stew-type dishes – it gets better over time.  The good news is – there is no prep cooking for this dish so, except for cutting up an onion & 2 peppers – the slow cooker does all the work (except the smoking process – explained below).  The lentils & beans I used are below – dry – and as they looked after soaking them – separately – overnight.  As you can see – they changed color considerably.   This dish is traditionally very rich using varied amounts of butter & heavy cream.  I used only 2 TBS of vegan butter & 1/2 cup vegan sour cream – so this dish is not quite so heavy.

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As to smoking your dal makhani – it is VERY easy & I recommend it very highly.  It just requires a chunk of a natural charcoal & a small metal bowl.  You simply heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!  (The photo of the smoking charcoal is from my Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry (Vegan – Vegetarian) – seen below.)

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Vegan Creamy Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – for the Slow Cooker

Serves 6+ with rice

INGREDIENTS

 1 cup dry black urad dal – soaked overnight

1/2 cup dry red kidney beans – soaked overnight

1 onion – diced

2 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced

2 TBS vegan butter

4 cups water (or vegetable stock)

1 cup tomato puree

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 tsp amchoor

2 TBS dry methi leaves

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp chili powder

2 green cardamom pods

1 TBS fresh or jarred ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/2 cup vegan sour cream

Steamed rice

GARNISH – more sour cream, cilantro or fresh fenugreek leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the beans overnight.

Put everything except the sour cream into a slow cooker & cook on high for at least 5 hours – maybe more.  If you are going for the overnight uber-cooking (as I did) – leave it covered overnight.  I left my cooker off as there was nothing in there that would spoil but – if you are not comfortable with that – add some water & leave it on warm overnight.

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Either way – the next step is the smoking (which you can skip but I recommend trying it because it is amazing.  Heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!

Now – stir in the sour cream.   If it is too thin – add water or vegan milk to thin it.  If it is too thin – cook it on high with the lid off until it thickens.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream & serve with rice.

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Vegan Carrot Kootu (Thick Coconut Curry with Lentils)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Here is the Wikipedia definition of “kootu:”

Kootu is a Tamil word means ‘add’ i.e.vegetable added with lentils which form the dish, made of vegetable and lentils and are semi-solid in consistency, i.e., less aqueous than sambhar, but more so than dry curries. Virundhu Sappadu (Typical Tamil feast) comes with the combo of boiled rice (‘Choru’ in Tamil), sambar, rasam, curd, poriyal, kootu, appalam, pickle and banana. All kootus by default have some vegetables and lentils, but many variations of kootu exist.

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I am a big fan of vegan curries – especially those with lots of “sauce” and even more so if they are made in a slow cooker.  This recipe is simple with no exotic ingredients & feeds a LOT of people.   I made this in a 7-quart Crock Pot & nearly filled the thing.  It makes enough to feed a dozen people if served with rice.  I ate it for lunch every day & froze a bunch.  You can do this or cut the recipe down.  I just developed an urgent passion to use ALL the produce I had in my house this week & I had 4 pounds of carrots – so this kootu.

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Vegan Carrot Kootu (Thick Coconut Curry with Lentils)

Serves 10-12 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 cups peeled split mung beans (yellow lentils)

4 pound carrots – sliced

1 onion – chopped

3 cans coconut milk

3 cups vegetable stock

1 or more (according to your taste for heat) jalapenos (or other peppers) – seeded & diced (I used several split Bird’s Eye chilies)

1 TBS fresh ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS tomato paste

2 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp chili powder

1 TBS ground cumin

1 cup fresh cilantro – chopped plus more for garnish

1/2 cup or more Thai or other basil – chopped

Lime wedges for garnish

S&P

Cooked rice (I used brown jasmine)

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into the slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or until the carrots are tender.  Season with S&P.

Serve withe rice & garnish with cilantro & lime wedges.

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