Sunday, March 30, 2014

Amma's chana (or channa)

This is my (South Indian) mother-in-law's version of the famous North Indian garbanzo bean dish Chana Masala you see in Indian restaurants everywhere. In my opinion, it is the best. Can eat with rice but typically eaten with flat bread like chapatis or naan, can substitute whole wheat tortillas.


-- 1/2 kg (approx. 1 pound) dried garbanzo beans. 
-- 3 small potatoes, peeled (we used red potatoes)

-- 2 - 3 tablespoons butter
-- 1 tablespoon oil
-- 2 big tomatoes, "little sour is good," roughly chopped up
-- 2 small or 1 1/2 big onion, peeled and roughly chopped up
-- chili powder 1/4 tsp, or to taste
-- 1 tsp. tamarind paste (optional) to give more of a "good taste"
-- 1 tsp. chana masala
-- 1 tsp. garam masala
-- minced cilantro for garnishing
-- salt
-- can add lemon juice at end, optional (if it needs more sour and flavor)


1. soak garbanzo beans overnight, rinse and drain. Put in pressure cooker with potatoes and cover with water plus an inch, cook for four whistles (you may need to cook longer if your beans are old).

2. Put the tomato and onion into a blender and blend into a liquid.

3. Melt the butter and oil in a big pan, add the blended tomato and onion liquid. Add some salt (approx. 1/2 tsp.) and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until "oil comes out on top." It will get thicker as it cooks

4. Add in chili powder (just a small amount as most chana masalas and garam masalas have some chili powder in them also) tamarind paste (optional), chana masala and garam masala, and let boil a few minutes more, until done. I asked how I would know if it was done. Mahesh said he would make it for me and tell me when it was done.

5. Add in the cooked garbanzo beans and potatoes and about 1/2 tsp. more salt, mix together, taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lentil Dosa (Moong Dhall dosa or parapu dosa)

Amma made these dosas for dinner last night, she made some minus the red chili powder for Kiran and he loved them. I brought some into work today and they were much appreciated!! People asked for the recipe, I wanted it too so I asked Amma and here it is:



-- 1 cup split moong dhall (can substitue in whole moong dhal) (NOT MUNG BEANS) (you can find this in most Indian stores)
-- 1/4 cup parboiled rice (this is basically just the pre-cooked "instant" rice you see on store shelves such as Uncle Ben's) (you can substitute regular rice for this if you want)

-- 2 inch knob of ginger
-- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
-- 1/8 tsp. red chili powder
-- 1 carrot, shredded
-- 1/2 onion, minced
-- 1 handful spinach, minced

1. Put dhall and rice separately into bowls and cover with water. Soak for 30 minutes to an hour.

2. Before grinding, wash the lentils at least three times to get rid of the cloudy water.

3. First grind rice with water in powerful blender (or Indian mixee) until it is coarsely ground.

4. Add the moong dhall to the blender and grind until it is a batter. It is better if it is a little coarse. 

5. Peel the ginger and add that to the batter in the blender, blend until it is mixed in the batter.  Add water to make into a watery batter, same consistency you would want for crepes.

6. Take the batter out of the blender, mix in salt, red chili powder, carrot, onion, and spinach. (can use other vegetables if you want here, or no vegetables)

7. You fry dosas sort of like crepes, pour approx. 1/3 cup out onto a heated frying pan or griddle, then spread it out in a circular fashion. This one will be a little chunky due to the vegetable chunks in the batter. That is okay.

8. Drip a little oil on the outside edges of the dosa as it cooks to make the edges crispy. Flip the dosa when one side is finished, cook the other side until done.

9. Eat with gunpowder, sambar, chutney, whatever you want. Or just plain.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ethiopian Collard Greens or Ye'abesha Gomen

So I had a craving for Ethiopian food today. I had tried to make misir wot before, and today I wanted to try that again and round out the meal with Ethiopian collard greens, a staple on any vegetarian plate (at the restaurant anyway). I tried this recipe and it turned out quite well!



-- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
-- ⅛ tsp. black cardamom seeds (I just used green cardamom seeds because that's all I had, will try to find black cardamom for next time)
-- ⅛ tsp. ground fenugreek (called methi in Indian cooking)
-- ⅛ tsp. nigella seeds (this is also called Kalonji seeds in Indian cooking and the ones I bought were marked as such)
-- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
-- 1 large yellow onion, minced (I used the food processor for this it turned out more like a paste and next time I will try chopping finely by hand)
-- 3 cloves garlic, minced
-- 2 Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced (I left this out hoping Kiran will eat it)
-- 1 1" piece ginger, peeled and minced
-- 1½ lbs. collard greens, stemmed and cut crosswise into ¼"-wide strips (I used 2 bunches of organic collards)
-- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-- White wine vinegar, to taste (I misread this and added in regular vinegar, maybe 1 Tablespoon or so? Next time will try using white wine vinegar)


1. Heat butter in a 6-qt. pot over medium heat. Add cardamom, fenugreek, and nigella and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 1–2 minutes.

2. Increase heat to medium-high and add oil; add onions and cook, stirring often, until browned, 10 minutes.  (I think the onions should be cooked until sweet, not browned too much)

3. Add garlic, chiles, and ginger and cook, stirring often, until soft and fragrant, 3 minutes.

4. Add collards, 1⅓ cups water, and salt and pepper; cover and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until collards are tender, 50–55 minutes.

6. Stir in vinegar and serve collards hot.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Baja Avocado Tacos

In Los Angeles I used to eat Baja fish tacos all the time. Even though I'm not the craziest about fish, I loved these crunchy creamy delights. Since moving to Vancouver, Mexican food, especially anything specific I am craving any given day, seems to be in very short supply, so I have had to make do.  That why when I saw this vegetarian version of Baja fish tacos my eyes perked up. They are quite good. We normally don't deep fry things in this house, but to satisfy a craving this recipe is worth it.

Baja Avocado Tacos
adapted from Your Vegan Mom

serves 2.5


-- 2 ripe avocados
-- oil for frying

beer batter:
-- 3/4 cup flour
-- 1/2 teaspoon salt
-- pepper
 -- 3/4 cup mexican lager (or any lager, or any beer, or soda water if that's how you roll)
-- could try adding some powdered seaweed to give a bit of that "fishy" flavor?

-- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
-- 1 tablespoon milk
-- 1 tablespoon yogurt
-- 1 small clove garlic, crushed or minced very finely
-- salt and pepper to taste

to serve:
-- 2 cups shredded cabbage
-- 10 or 12 corn tortillas
-- hot sauce
-- lime wedges
-- 1 medium tomato, cubed
-- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (optional)


1. Make the sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients and setting aside

NOTE: if this is your first time deep frying, please research it so you do it safely! It can be very dangerous. If not, read on:

2. In a 2 inch deep frying pan or other pot, pour 1 inch of oil. Heat on medium-high until it is good and hot.

3. While the oil is heating, whisk together your batter ingredients. It should be the consistency of pancake batter.

4. Cut the avocado into slices (I did 8 slices per avocado), dip in the batter, and ease into the batter, being sure not to crowd the pan. I cooked these in 2 batches. When the avocadoes are golden brown all over (you may need to turn them if they're not completely submerged in oil) remove to a cooling rack or paper towel covered plate. Cover with another paper towel until ready to eat.

5. Just before serving, heat tortillas on a griddle or dry frying pan, or wrap in a damp towel and microwave for about a minute until steamy.

6. To assemble taco: place 1 1/2 slices fried tortilla on a hot tortilla. Top with cabbage, a little tomato, cilantro, lime juice, mayo sauce, and hot sauce to taste. Enjoy!!

For Kiran's taco, since he has a hard time with raw cabbage, I just microwaved his cabbage until it was soft and left the hot sauce out. 
Baja Avocado TacosBefore you run away in horror, keep in mind that you're not frying the tortilla, so I like to think that the fat content sort of evens out.  Am I rationalizing?  Mmm, fried avocado.  
Beer-battered avocado:
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • mild oil for frying 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup Mexican lager (that's a half a beer)
- See more at:
Baja Avocado TacosBefore you run away in horror, keep in mind that you're not frying the tortilla, so I like to think that the fat content sort of evens out.  Am I rationalizing?  Mmm, fried avocado.  
Beer-battered avocado:
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • mild oil for frying 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup Mexican lager (that's a half a beer)
The sauce:
  • 1/2 cup vegenaise 
  • 2 tablespoons nondairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups shredded cabbage12 taco size fresh corn tortillas
hot sauce and lime wedges

- See more at:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Polenta rounds with mushroom gravy

This is something I sort of made up based on a few different recipes I have been fiddling with and has become a weeknight staple in our home. 

Amounts are approximate, I have never measured most of these things, but I will make the recipe from this next time and adjust accordingly.

 Vegetarian polenta cakes with mushroom gravy

serves 4 (or 2.5 in our house)

-- 2 tubes pre-cooked polenta (can get in trader joe's and some italian/greek stores)
-- olive oil

-- 3/4 lb sliced mushrooms (crimini is our favorite, white would work also) -- I use 1/2 a costco container.
-- butter
-- 1 shallot, minced
-- 1/4 cup marsala wine
-- 2 cups water
-- two teaspoons better than bullion veggie stock mix
-- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
-- 1/2 cup milk
-- 2 Tablespoons flour


1. In a big fry pan, get some oil heating up. Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch rounds and fry each side on medium heat until brown. This will take longer than you think, approx. 8 minutes a side or so. For Kiran, we fry a few rounds a little less because he has no back teeth to chew.

2. While that is going, heat up some butter in another big fry pan or sauce pan. Put the mushrooms in the pan and fry and stir until they are brown on both sides. This takes a while, maybe 15 minutes?

3. When the mushrooms are almost done, add in the shallots and let those cook. Maybe another 5 minutes.

4. When the shallots are cooked, add in the marsala and let it cook down to remove alcohol, 3 minutes.

5. Add in the water, stock, thyme and bring to a boil. Taste the water for seasonings, if it needs more salt or anything add it here. If this water does not taste good, your gravy will not taste good!

6. In a separate bowl, mix the milk and flour together. While the mushroom and stock mixture is boiling, whisk it rapidly, and pour the milk and flour mixture in a stream into the gravy. Keep whisking and boil the gravy until it thickens.

7. Finally, taste again for seasonings and you are done!

8. Serve the mushroom sauce over the polenta rounds, you may need to chop the mushrooms up more for a toddler who has no back teeth. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Vegetarian Pad Thai

I am a pad thai lover, but most vegetarian versions are pretty gross (I have tried quite a few!) and I have been scouring the blogs for something I will want to make more than once. Well, the other day I ran across this recipe, promising a yummy veg pad thai that took only 30 minutes to prepare.

"No way," I thought.

I decided to take on the challenge and timed myself preparing it. From start to finish, it took me about 45 minutes including all the chopping, which is not bad for my first time making it. I think I can get it down to 30 minutes with practice. Plus, some pretty darn good pad thai. So this dish is a surprising winner in more ways than one.

Vegetarian Pad Thai

modified from Post Punk Kitchen

Serves 4 (or 2.5 in our house)

8 oz pad thai rice noodles (sometimes called rice stick noodles) , cooked according to package directions (or directions below)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
14 oz (one package) tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
4 cups brocolli florettes and thinly sliced stems
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups scallion, chopped into 1 inch pieces (I used one bunch of green onions for this)
1 cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped
4 oz mung bean sprouts

For the sauce:
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce (use gluten-free tamari to make this gluten-free)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon Sriracha
1 heaping tablespoon mellow white miso
1/4 cup water

To serve:
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Extra lime wedges

1. Put a pot of water on to boil. When the water boils, boil broccoli florets for 5 minutes, or until sort of soft. Turn off the heat and scoop the broccoli out with a slotted spoon and put on a plate. Add the pad thai noodles to the hot water. After 8 minutes, drain noodles and rinse in cool water to stop cooking. 

2. While the water is boiling, make the tofu. You’ll need a large cast iron pan, or something non-stick that can take very high heat. Preheat pan over high heat. Once pan is good and hot, drizzle in 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the cubed tofu and sprinkle with about 1/4 teaspoon salt. The tofu should immediately sizzle when it hits the hot the pan, otherwise, turn the heat up. Cook for about 7 minutes, tossing often, until it’s nicely browned.

3. In the meantime, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. The miso may not completely dissolve, but that’s okay, just get it as smooth as possible.

4. When tofu is browned, transfer it to a plate and cover gently with tin foil to keep warm.

5. Now we’ll cook the sauce. Lower heat to medium. Cook the garlic in the remaining oil very briefly, about 15 seconds. Add the scallion and cilantro and toss just to get it wilted. Add in brocolli and cook for 4 minutes or until cooked through. Now pour in about half the sauce and get it heated through.

6. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Then add back the tofu and broccoli, the mung beans and the remaining sauce, and toss to coat.

7. Serve immediately, topped with peanuts and lime wedges, plus extra cilantro if desired.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thai red curry with butternut squash

We all just had the best lunch ever. Made with Sai's vegetarian red curry paste.

From epicurious


  • 1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds) -- I used acorn
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 Tablespoons thai red curry paste
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • Kosher salt
  • One 13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish


1. Peel the squash, cut it lengthwise in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut off the top where it meets the bulbous bottom. Cut the bulb end into 3/4- inch-wide wedges. Cut the neck end into 1/2- inch-thick half-moons. (This seems to indicate that you are supposed to keep the peel on? I did not do that, and instead peeled the squash and cut into 3/4 inch chunks)
2. Heat a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil, then add the curry paste and stir for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the squash and stir to coat with the curry paste. Stir in the chickpeas and season with salt. Add the coconut milk and 3/4 cup water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, or until the squash just begins to soften.
3. Stir in the cilantro and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender but not falling apart and the sauce has reduced slightly. Season to taste with salt.
4. Divide the curry among four soup bowls, top with cilantro, and serve.