Cranberry-Cashew Biryani and 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma

Appetite for Reduction by Isa Moskowitz is my bible.  I refer to it several times a week; everything is just so easy, flavourful and full of nutrition.  This pair is no exception and is worth the price of the cookbook alone.  I swear I’m not paid for these endorsements, I just really love all the titles that Isa puts out.

The korma is full of zucchini, cauliflower, carrot, peas, cilantro, garlic and ginger smothered in rich-tasting, succulent, spiced coconut sauce.  And the biryani!  Little sweet cranberries, carrots (mine are heirloom yellow ones which look oddly like pineapple in this picture), lots of spices, and the nuttiness of brown basmati rice.

You can find the cranberry-cashew biryani recipe in the google books preview over here.

– Crystal

Pumpkin Curry and Lentil Dhal

I’m still fighting a head cold, so I got to thinking that a spicy, Indian dinner might be just what I needed to clear my sinuses.  I grabbed the lovely pie pumpkin I had sitting on my counter and got to work.  While I worked on whipping up a pumpkin curry, Trevor worked on our favourite lentil dhal recipe, and our rice cooker made our rice.

Both were lovely, and even better accompanied by the lime pickle we purchased at our favourite Indian market stall on the weekend.  Spicy, tangy!

The thing is, and I’m sure you know, Indian food photographs horribly.  Even worse is Indian food being photographed during the time of the year where natural light is sparse and our lighting inside is terrible.  So, no photos.  Or rather, the photos that were taken, you don’t want to see.

So, I made this gorgeous thing for you.  Can you tell I’m a graphic designer?

Pumpkin Curry

1 small-to-medium pie pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1″ chunks

2 tbsp peanut oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

1 tbsp ginger purée
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 small red chili
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
1/2 tbsp lime juice
salt to taste
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large sautée pan and add onion.  Once onion is sufficiently translucent, add your other aromatics; ginger and garlic.  Cook a minute longer.  Add your chili, salt and spices, stir to incorporate, and fry your spice mixture for another minute.  Add the pumpkin chunks and stir to cover in the spice mixture.  Slowly add the water.  Lower heat to low-medium and cover.  Cook, stirring periodically, for 25 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.  Once pumpkin is fully cooked, remove from heat and use a potato masher to to mash your pumpkin until it’s creamy.  Add the sweetener and lime juice.  Taste for salt and adjust as needed.

Lentil Dhal

3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds (or 1 tsp cumin powder)
1 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 large onion, diced
10 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp chile powder (reduce if you are using a very hot variety)
1 lb red lentils
4-6 cups vegetable stock
juice of 1-2 limes
Siracha hot sauce to taste
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat add the coconut oil, mustard seeds and spices. When the seeds pop add the ginger, onion, garlic and chilie along with a pinch of salt/pepper. Saute for several minutes or until the onions are transcluscent. Next, add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil for several minutes, turn heat down to med-low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Take off heat, stir in lime juice and sesame oil. Add some soy sauce, some salt and black pepper to taste. 

– Crystal

Creamy Spinach Lentil Curry

Weeeee!  MoFo is here!  MoFo is here!  What an exciting month for the vegan blogosphere.  There are over 700 blogs participating this year, so be prepared to be inspired and have your stomach grumble in delight.  There is a complete list of all blogs participating in MoFo here, which I suggest you check out so you don’t miss any of the action.  

Let’s start MoFo off on the right foot — Indian food.  I have my methods and I typically just go by taste and instinct and it always comes out great.  This time around, though, I wrote it down to share with you!

This is on par with the spinach curries you’d get at an Indian restaurant but not as greasy.  Creamy and wonderfully spiced, yum yum.

Creamy Spinach Lentil Curry

1 tbsp canola, olive or peanut oil
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red chili, deseeded and minced
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup red lentils
1 300g/10oz package frozen, chopped spinach, defrosted
1 – 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp coconut milk

In a large pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat.  Cook the onions until translucent, then add the garlic and chili and cook for a minute longer.  Add the spices, stirring everything up, and cooking for another minute, frying the spices.  Add the tomatoes, defrosted spinach and red lentils.  Pour in 1 cup of broth and add salt to taste.  Bring up to boiling, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft.  If needed, add more broth.  Stir to break down lentils and ensure they are adequately cooked.  Remove from heat, stir in coconut milk and taste for salt.  Serve over brown or white basmati rice.

– Crystal

Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry and Masala Baked Tofu

There are so many recipes to work through from Veganomicon, which I have had for a few years now, so I never got around to making this recipe.  Well, I’m going to be making this more often because it was delicious and easy!  We had this with the Masala Baked Tofu from Appetite for Reduction on top for some added yum.

– Crystal

Indian Feast

Lentil dahl with hot sauce, aloo matar

We tag-teamed dinner on Sunday night.  Trevor tackled the lentil dahl, and I worked on my bastardized version of aloo matar (Indian potatoes and peas).  I added cauliflower and made it kind of an aloo matar / aloo gobi hybrid.  Served with white basmati rice, this warmed our bellies – which we need because it’s still really freakin’ cold in Southwestern Ontario.

I really wish I could give you an idea of how I made the aloo matar, but it was really just a bunch of throwing stuff in the pot.  A good Indian curry (in my opinion) has lots of onion, fresh garlic and ginger, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and of course curry powder which contains all of the above spices and more.

Once you get your onions cooking in a bit of oil, throw in the garlic and ginger.  After that, get your spices in there and mixed up with your onion mixture – the essence of Indian cooking is all in this yummy pile of onions at the bottom of your pot!  Let your onions and spices cook for about a minute.  Get your tomatoes in there, and some water or broth, and your veggies.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until your vegetables are soft and the flavours have combined.  Maybe I’m not doing it right, but that’s how I do it and it’s always delicious.

Now the lentil dahl, we do have a proper recipe for that!  This is one of the most delicious dahls I’ve ever eaten.

Lentil Dahl

3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds (or powder)
1 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 large onion, diced
10 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp chile powder (reduce if you are using a very hot variety)
1 lb red lentils
4-6 cups vegetable stock
juice of 1-2 limes
Siracha hot sauce to taste
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste

In a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat add the coconut oil, mustard seeds and spices. When the seeds pop add the ginger, onion, garlic and chilie along with a pinch of salt/pepper. Saute for several minutes or until the onions are transcluscent. Next, add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil for several minutes, turn heat down to med-low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Take off heat, stir in lime juice and sesame oil. Add some soy sauce, some salt and black pepper to taste.  Serve with hot basmati rice, a vegetable curry and maybe some naan bread!

– Crystal