Tag Archives: garam masala

Daal Biryani

Bryani is a dish that’s a regional specialty in one of my co-workers’ home town, Hyderabad, India. She gave me her recipe which calls for lamb and asked me to know how the vegan version pans out. I told her I planned to use lentils and she corrected me, “daal” so that’s what I’m calling it. We used the following:

1 cup of lentils or black-eyed peas, soaked and drained
1 cup split lentils, washed and drained
2-3 chili peppers (we’re using 2 jalapeños)
1 big toe sized piece of ginger, sliced
1 thumb sized piece of turmeric, sliced

some curry leaves if you’ve got them
2-3 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 carton of silken tofu
juice from 1 lemon

2 medium onions, sliced into strips
4 smallish tomatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
4 medium white mushrooms, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 pinch of cumin seeds
3 bay leaves

corn oil

1 cup of basmati rice

Put a tablespoon or so of corn oil into a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Heat it until they start to sputter, then add the onion, peppers, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, tofu and lemon juice into a large pot, add a little corn oil and stir fry. Add about 1.5 liters of water and use a hand blender to mix everything into a smooth creamy broth.

Chop your veggies while that heats to a simmer.

Now mix in the veggies, legumes and rice.

We added eggplant in addition to mushrooms. They’ll float to the top, this isn’t a problem; it means you won’t need a lid.. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the rice and legumes are tender. This will take about 1 hour give or take 15 minutes on low heat. You can also bake it at 350F/180C in your favorite baking dish for about an hour.

This is a great meal for hungry people who like curry. I don’t know how it measures up to the carnist version, but we managed to eat all of it within 2 days and considering it was almost too big for the pot I was using, this is really saying something. Brent wanted to add some chopped green peppers to the mix immediately before serving next time for a sweet crisp crunch and I agree that would add something. If you try it, let me know. Enjoy!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Saag with Sweet Potato

Brent and I really love Indian food. We make several versions of Americanized favorites including saag. Typically saag is a spinach based sauce flavored with cilantro, chili and turmeric and usually includes chunks of potato, mushroom, and/or paneer. Paneer is a bland home-made cheese so we use tofu that we’ve marinated in lime juice instead. Today, however, we’re using cubes of sweet potato because we had a random sweet potato floating around the apartment (I just had a funny mental image). We put the following into the blender for a creamy base:

1 box of MoriNu soft silken tofu (If you’ve got a soy allergy, soak 1/2 cup of cashews overnight, drain them and add to your blender. This actually tastes marginally better but adds a lot of fat)

1 thumb sized piece of turmeric or 1 tsp powdered turmeric

5-7 cloves of garlic

a generous pinch of cinnamon

1 onion, diced

1 jalapeño pepper or generous spoon of chili paste

1 tablespoon of coconut sugar

This mixture was blended until creamy. Then I added the following greens in the following order, blending thoroughly between:

1 bunch cilantro (stems and leaves)

1 bunch of Swiss chard or mustard greens

1 bunch of spinach

The cilantro goes in first because the stems need to get cut finely. The stems have a lot of flavor. Swiss chard will make a milder saag, mustard greens will make it spicier. Spinach is just a wondrous vegetable. EAT IT!!! Frozen greens work fine for this recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I transferred the contents of the blender to my big pan and rinsed out the blender with almond milk (use soy if you’ve got a nut allergy) and put the milk into the pan. I started to heat it and added 1 sweet potato cut into bite sized pieces. A carton of water packed tofu or a few handfuls of mushrooms are great veggies to add to your saag.

Heat the saag through and stir frequently until the potato is cooked. It should be thick and make giant messy bubbles if unattended (hence the stirring).

This will take about half an hour. Add water, salt, spices, and pepper as needed. I also use a garam masala spice mix  that an Indian colleague brought me from his home Hyderabad instead of pepper. Cracked black pepper is better for most tastes. It looks like sewage but tastes like awesome!

We served this with quinoa that we prepared in the microwave with several green cardamom pods. I love saag and know it’s not for everyone. It’s very herbal and spicy and is too vegetal for some. That being said, We ate the whole pan and all the quinoa too… I’ve got a blood donation coming up and I need the iron and vitamin K!

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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