Vegetable Dopiaza

I used to love the dopiaza at my local curry house (before I went vegan and before it closed down) so I thought it was high time I made my own.

But, doing a little research online I found that ‘dopiaza’ doesn’t mean a certain type of flavour (ie: mix of spices) but rather ‘twice onions’, so was more a way of preparing the food as opposed to a list of ingredients. Well, that to me was license to do pretty much whatever I wanted; so away I went!

This is a surprisingly sweet yet mildly spicy recipe which I think you’ll enjoy. I’ve tried several spice mixes with different types of vegetable and I’ve found that the carrot and tomato with just a hint of after heat works best. See what you think.

vegetable dopiaza

(ingredients are listed in order of use, more or less)

1 onion, 1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed/chopped
1″ of fresh ginger, skin off, chopped fine
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
1/4 tsp dried chillies, chopped fine
1 heaped tsp of tomato puree
2 carrots, skin on, cut lengthways and chopped into 1/2 moons
100g button mushrooms, washed and cut in half
1/2 a bell pepper, sliced and chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sultanas
1/2 tsp salt
5-6 spring of fresh coriander, washed and chopped (no stalks)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 a cup of water
oil for frying

Prepare the vegetables before beginning, putting each in a bowl ready to use. It’ll save some faffing about later.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large, deep frying pan, over a medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes until the onions soften. Stir often to avoid burning the garlic and ginger.

While that’s cooking measure the ground cumin, coriander, fenugreek, chillies, and turmeric into a small bowl.

Once onions are cooked add the cherry tomatoes and fry for another minute or two until they too start to soften. You don’t have to cook them completely, just get them started.

Add the spice mix and tomato puree, and a splash of water (as required), and mix to make a paste. Add the carrots, turn the heat down a little to medium, and cover with a lid/plate to allow the carrots to cook – 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, bell pepper, and remaining water. Cover and cook on a simmer heat (medium low) for a further 10 minutes.

NB: You want enough water so that the veggies won’t burn, but not so much that they are drowning. Simmering them with a lid on will prevent most of the moisture escaping so take it easy with the water. You can always add more if need be. What’s left of the 1/2 a cup after you used some to make the paste should be about right. If you add too much just remove the lid and let it reduce a little.

Whilst that is cooking heat a little oil in a small pan on a high heat and fry off the sliced onions until they caramelise, turning a nice golden brown.

After the 10 minutes is up check to see how the veggies are doing. The carrots should be pretty much ready to eat. Add the garam masala, cinnamon, salt, sultanas, chopped coriander (you can get these ingredients ready in the same bowl you used for the spices if you want to save time) and lemon juice, and mix until well combined. Spread the caramelised onions out on top of the dopiaza, cover, and simmer one final time for a few minutes to let the flavours come together.

Serve hot with some rice or a vegan naan bread.

Eat and enjoy. 🙂

I’m quite proud of this recipe. I think it works really nicely. The surprise for me was the sweetness. I originally made it with swede as the root vegetable (as pictured above), but that took too long to cook properly. So I tried carrots, and I found that they, along with the bell pepper and sultanas, gave it an unexpected tangy sweetness that was very tasty indeed.

dopiaza, in the pan

But it’s the spiciness that really finishes it off nicely. I tried it both ways, with lots of chilli and pepper, with none, and I think a quarter teaspoon of dried chillies is just enough to give it a kick without being overwhelming. Of course each to their own, so if you find it too much just reduce it to a pinch. But try to keep some in there, it really does add to the experience.

Kidgeree

Remember back in the day when I used to post recipes on here? I know, right! I mean, seriously, what happened to that? I can’t remember the last time I stuck up something new to eat (I just checked, it was January 12th!). I’m telling you, for someone who wants to start a dedicated food blog it’s a pretty poor show and no mistake.

I mean it’s not like I haven’t been cooking, I’ve just been cooking the same ol’ same ol’ all the time, so I haven’t had anything new to share with everyone. But today when I went in the kitchen for something snacky the choice was simple; fruit, cornflakes, something involving bread, or else I had to get creative. And since fruit just wouldn’t do the trick, I had cornflakes for breakfast, and I’ve been eating far too much bread recently, I figured it was time to roll my sleeves up and try something new.

This dish is very popular among the yogis at the yoga centre (often eaten as breakfast in lieu of the ubiquitous porridge) as it’s a complete meal in and of itself. If you’re on a detox you can eat this quite happily for a few days and it should give you everything you need to survive. So I’ve been told anyway. It’s certainly full of good stuff that your body needs, and it’s pretty darn tasty to boot.

kidgeree

1 carrot, diced

1/3 cup rice, washed

1/3 cup yellow mung dahl, washed

1 & 1/3 cups water

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground coriander

a splash of oil

pinch of salt
 

Wash the rice and dahl together and put to one side.

Heat oil in a pan on medium/high heat until on the verge of smoking. You need it good and hot to fry the seeds. If it starts smoking just lift off the heat for a few seconds until it calms down again.

Fry the cumin and mustard seeds until the mustard seeds start to pop. Cover with the pan lid to stop bits flying everywhere.

Add the ground coriander and turmeric and stir together. Immediately toss in carrots, which should be diced very small so that they cook quickly. Stir until carrots are covered in spicy oil mix (just a few seconds).

Add the washed rice and dahl and stir until they too are well mixed with the spice and carrots. Add water.

Bring to boil and then simmer on a medium/low heat with lid on until all the water has been absorbed (basically cook as you would basmati rice). After an initial stir resist the temptation to stir again until the end. Too much agitation makes it go all mushy (see above, lol).

Once water has been absorbed add a generous pinch of salt, stir in/fluff up with a fork, then leave it to one side for a minute or so to let it all settle. This just allows the flavours to bed in and any remaining water to be absorbed.

And that’s it, you’re good to go!
 

This recipe makes enough for one person, or two if you have something else with it. You can also add more vegetables to it too along with the carrot. It works great with some finely diced courgette. I only had a carrot available so I just went with that. Also, a sprig on chopped fresh coriander doesn’t hurt either (in which case you’d cut down on the ground coriander).
 
🙂

Koyaanisqatsi/Powaqqatsi

Well known in certain circles, virtually unknown in others, Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi are two of the most moving and mersmerising films ever made.

Shot in 1982 and 1988 respectively Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out Of Balance, and Powaqqatsi: Life In Transformation, were ground breaking movies exploring the environment and man’s relationship to it. With a mixture of images from the natural world intercut with footage of man made environments, shot using a mixture of techniques, and accompanied by a beautifully haunting soundtrack by Philip Glass, both these movies weave a spell over you that it’s hard to ignore.

It’s hard to explain the draw of two films that have no plot to speak of, no definable structure, and are ultimately just a collection of sound an images, so I’m going to show you what it’s all about.

Believe me when I say these clips are just two small parts of an amazing collection of music and imagery, and you’ll benefit greatly from watching the whole thing in a non-compressed format. They’ll change the way you see the world, and our place in it, and ultimately you’ll come away with a greater appreciation of the beauty of life and how we should do everything we can to be in harmony with it.

For anyone wanting to know more there’s an Official Qatsi Website.

Peshwari Roti

Also known as a chapati, this indian unleavened bread is great with any curry, and so easy to make. I’ve based my recipe on a peshwari naan, which contains coconut and sultanas. Yummy!

peshwari roti, pieces

(I know it’s a rubbish pic. I’ll put a better one up soon.)

1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of warm water
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sultanas

Put the sultanas in the warm water to soak for a few minutes. This will help prevent them burning in the pan.

Put the flour, coconut and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add warm water from the cup with the sultanas in, one desert spoon at a time, as you mix the flour into a dough by hand. 2 or 3 desert spoonfuls should be enough, but just add as much as is required.

Add the olive oil and knead for 2-3 minutes. Drain the sultanas and add to dough. Knead for another 2 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes or so.

Heat a non-stick frying pan on a very hot heat. Divide the dough into 3-4 balls, pressing flat with your hands, and cook in hot pan without any oil or anything. Once it’s all brown and puffed up on one side flip over and do the other. Cook each roti the same way

Quarter each roti and serve warm.

Saag Aloo

A surprisingly quick and simple recipe that I think you’ll enjoy.

saag aloo - ingredients

4 potatoes, chopped
2-3 handfuls of spinach, washed
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated/chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chillies, chopped
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1/4 tsp salt
olive oil

saag aloo 1

Par-boil the potatoes in some salty water for 8-10 minutes or so. While you’re doing that fry the onions, garlic and ginger in a large saucepan on a medium heat until soft (approx 5 minutes).

saag aloo 2

Add all the remaining spices to the onion mixture and stir in. Drain the potatoes and add them too. Mix thoroughly, add a couple of tablespoons of water to prevent it from sticking, then cover and allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes (still stirring to keep it from burning to bottom of pan).

saag aloo 3

Once potatoes have gone edibly soft add the spinach and cook for another couple of minutes. Spinach will wilt and reduce in size a great deal.

saag aloo

Serve hot over a bed of rice.

A few notes on the recipe vs the pictures. I made mine with raw potatoes soaked in water rather than par-boiled ones, but this just meant I had to add more water to the pan and it took longer to cook, and I don’t think it added anything to the flavour, so I’d recommend doing it this way instead. Also, chop your spuds smaller than I did mine, again, to save time. As always I left the skin on, coz that’s where all the nutrients are, but cut the eyes out.

Also, I added more spinach than is pictured. After I threw in my 2 handfuls and it cooked down to size I saw the ratio was way off and more was needed. Really this is up to you. The recipe could probably handle more spinach even, if that’s what you’re into, I just didn’t have a whole lot more left so I stopped at 3 handfuls.

Potato and Tomato Dahl

Hi all. Here’s a little something I’ve come up with. But first, a small qualification:

Contrary to the recipe below I made the dahl pictured with a tin of chopped tomatoes and a teaspoon of ground coriander, coz I’ve got no money so had to make something up with what was in the cupboard, but I reckon it’ll be much nicer with the fresh ingredients listed.

Potato and Tomato Dahl
(makes enough for 4 people)

potato and tomato dahl

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
a splash of olive oil
2 medium potatoes, chopped (I used 5-6 small)
3-4 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of red lentils, rinsed
2 cups of boiling water
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp chopped coriander

In a large pan on a medium heat fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add cumin seeds and fry for a further minute or two until onions are soft.

Add potatoes, tomatoes, lentils, water, turmeric and salt, bring to boil, then simmer on a medium low heat for a minimum of 15-20 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. Add coriander and garam masala, and cook for 3-4 minutes more, then serve.

Like with a lot of recipes like this, this one tastes better the second time around, after it’s had a chances to rest and for all the flavours to mature. With this in mind you might want to leave it on a very low heat for a while before serving. This will improve the taste first time around, though it’s still quite nice as is. Oh, and if you use ground coriander instead of fresh you can add it when you add the turmeric, you don’t have to wait until the end.

Also, the water doesn’t have to be boiling when you add it, but it does speed the process up a little bit if it is. Maybe cut the potatoes a little smaller too, lol.

Enjoy! 🙂