A Mini Indian Feast

I’ve mentioned before how easy it is to find vegan-friendly food at Thai restaurants. Indian restaurants are the same, especially when they focus on southern Indian cuisine which is all vegetarian; they do cook with paneer (cheese). As a result of where I live, and the fact that eating out can get expensive, I have begun experimenting with make-at-home versions of our restaurant favorites. Traditionally when we’ve made Indian feasts, we go all out – several entrees, naan bread, fried veggie pakora, etc – the kind of cooking that’s definitely suited for the weekend. These recipes, however, are perfect for a work night. No time for baking bread on weeknights (unless you’re some kind of miracle worker) – so if you want bread (I’ll post a naan recipe someday soon), you’ll have to make it ahead of time or pick up some flatbread of some sort at the grocery store. I made two entrees and a side of basmati rice. The first entrée is Aloo Gobi, found here. In Indian cooking, “aloo” means potato and “gobi” means cauliflower. I used a regular sized bag of frozen cauliflower florets for this recipe and it worked perfectly. I just set it out on the counter while I prepared the other veggies to let it defrost a little. I also used about 2 tsp. chili powder in place of the green chilies. Garam masala can be found at Indian and other ethnic groceries, but if you want to make your own, just use a mixture of cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, coriander, ginger, & turmeric. Or, if that’s too much work, just leave it out 🙂 The second recipe I made was Red Lentil and Spinach Dhal, which can be found here. As with garam masala, red lentils can be somewhat hard to find; I usually buy them in bulk when I make it to the health food store. I am certain brown lentils, the kind you can find at any grocery store, would work just fine in this recipe. You may have to adjust the cooking time a bit. You know lentils are ready when the water has mostly been absorbed and they are fairly soft. Another note on this recipe – it calls for “brown” onions, which I am not familiar with. Yellow cooking onions worked just fine!

Aloo Gobi

Red Lentil & Spinach Dhal

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