Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 25: Favorite cuisine — Indian

The world is full of pretty amazing food, and I’ve been incredibly fortunate to visit some of those places and eat some of that food. I’ve learned how to make curry from scratch in Thailand and gorged on falafel on Christmas in Paris. Even closer to home, I can explore one dinner at a time: Ethiopian, Korean, Persian, Mexican, Italian…hell, even American, which is pretty all-encompassing. It only makes me hungry for more.

One cuisine I seldom get bored of is Indian. You could eat something different every damn day and still not try everything, and that’s just the veg options. Vegetables can be prepared and combined in endless combination with all those spices. There’s rice, grains, lentils, and beans that become dosas, dhokla, chapati, stuffed parathas, dals, curries… And then there’s regional specialties, about which I am only marginally informed. (When I went to Bangalore for work, for example, I learned about Parsi cuisine, from Indians of Iranian/Persian descent, and got to eat it twice. It was the bessssst, even though I confused them by being *really* into the “plain” greens dish.)

Anyway. It’s pretty awesome. I don’t cook it at home enough, because even though I know it needn’t be terribly complex, it just fails to pop up when I’m doing my usual last-minute dinner planning. MoFo has been good for something, in that sense. So for this theme, I made a quick Indian dinner, using recipes and a menu from The Indian Vegan Kitchen. I have a few Indian cookbooks, but this is the one I tend to use.

Dinner consisted of quick channa masala (to which I added spinach)…

…peanut-cabbage “salad” (it is cooked; really more of a nice vegetable side than a salad)…

…and rice to serve. Yum.

Bonus: earlier this week I made a nice chaat-inspired sprout salad with sprouted lentils, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, pepper, onion, and fresh homemade cilantro chutney.

I wanted to make something with chapatis, because I love flatbread, but this really did work better over rice. Plus it’s less work after work. Next time.

Food Blog None Vegan MoFo

Vegan Chopped! Channa masala with plums, radish salad, and oolong basmati rice

I LOVE watching Chopped! even though it involves a lot of reverence for dead animal “proteins.” The creativity in throwing together random ingredients in a short period of time isn’t too far off from how I often cook dinner, albeit with less totally obscure ingredients (by vegan standards).

So when they announced the ingredients for the Vegan MoFo Chopped! basket, I knew I had to give it a shot. They are: radish, oolong tea, fresh prune plums, and jalapeno. It took me a little time to mull it over (look, I won’t do well on the real “Chopped”), but I decided to look to Indian cooking for inspiration and make channa masala with some plums in the spicy tomato sauce base, radish salad, and basmati rice cooked with oolong tea.

First I cooked the tea that I later added the rice to:

Then chopped the plums (I couldn’t find prune plums, but fresh purple ones from the market are close enough), jalapenos, and tomatoes for the masala sauce:

The sauce started with cumin seeds toasted in coconut oil, then a minced shallot, some ginger, ground coriander, and the jalapeno went in:

Followed by the plums and tomatoes:

Then cooked it down for quite some time, adding a splash of water when it looked to be drying out, before hitting it with a little immersion blender action to really get it saucy before adding the chickpeas to cook for a while:

Later I added a handful or two of fresh spinach to bump up the color and nutritional value, plus a sprinkle of garam masala and a squeeze of lime juice before serving.

The last thing is the salad. I shredded several french breakfast radishes with the julienne peeler:

And tossed with fresh ginger, a couple beautiful stripey tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice. It’s supposed to have more jalapeno, but I forgot–at least I have the peppers in the curry sauce already!

End result is rather pretty, and, I think, tasty.

What did YOU come up with?