Sunday, November 04, 2007

VeganMoFo 4: Indian cooking

I seem to be off of Katie's list, having a lot of ideas for things to write about already!

So let's start at the beginning, with a few firsts:

- I made mint tea using fresh leaves that are growing in the backyard. I don't have a steamer so I just poured boiling water over the leaves and let it steep. It's spearmint, and the leaves are a bit tough so they can't be eaten, but the tea smells very minty.

- I have some progress on the fruit leather. It's sitting outside in the sun now, after sitting in a warm oven overnight without any apparent drying (well, maybe just the top a little). I've covered it with a thin cloth, but let's see if it dries before the insects get to it.

- I had a great oatmeal variation today. I wanted to use another apple (yes, we have more), and I had a craving for peanut butter. So I googled up this recipe and made vegan peanut-butter apple oatmeal. I used soymilk and sweetened with a few drops of amaretto agave. If you haven't tried this (and you like amaretto), Madhava's agave syrup, though not organic, is fantastic also in hot chocolate. It also comes in other flavors like creme de menthe, which I intend to try one day soon.

- I made a meal today after a long time. (Sorry for the blurry photos) It included cumin-pepper rasam,

vegetable sambar,

and snake gourd koottu (a lentil-and-vegetable dish). I love making koottu. It's a simple, fresh dish without too many spices so it really brings out the taste of any squash or vegetable.

The rough recipe is as follows (I didn't measure amounts very exactly, so proceed with caution!)

Vegetable Koottu

Pressure cook or boil about 2 cups chopped vegetables and 3/4 cup moong dal (it's the small oval-shaped yellow lentil), preferably together, until soft. Drain/boil off excess water (you may want to save this water for later or for use as a stock). Add salt to taste and mix.

Toast together 1 tsp cumin and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Grind together to a medium-fine powder and set aside. I often make a small bottle of this in advance.

Heat a little oil and add a tbsp of vegan butter to it. When it's hot, add 1 tsp black mustard seeds, let pop, add 1 tsp split udad dal, a few curry leaves, and the cumin-pepper powder.

Add to the vegetables and serve!

Variations: leave out the cumin-pepper and use chopped green chilies for spice instead. It tastes entirely different. A tsp of coconut add richness sometimes. A lot of different vegetables can be used - zucchini and yellow (or any) squash, chayote, pumpkin, even spinach. I like to make it with spinach and grind up the spinach a little for a smooth, creamy taste.


Jill said...

This looks great! I'm going to try it next week!

rani said...

cool, keep me updated!