Cook's Hideout: October 2008

October 31, 2008

Alta La Vista

Asta La Vista Vegan Mofo. Will miss you. End of October means end of Vegan Mofo. I never thought I would be able to post everyday, but I did.. well almost, including this post I had 28 posts in October. That’s the highest ever in the 2 ½ years history of Cook’s Hideout. It proves “where there is a will, there is a way”.

I’m off to India next week for a very short trip. Will be back end of this month. Should be fun. To end my month long Vegan mofoing I’m leaving you with my Vegan Chocolate cake. Enjoy.. Have a Wonderful weekend. Do something fun.

October 30, 2008

Mexican Millet with Spicy Pinto beans

Mexican millet is a dish that’s been our staple for sometime now. Recipe is from Veganomicon. I made it in the pressure cooker this time and it was much quicker and easier.

Millet – 1 ½ cups
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Jalapeno – 1 medium, chopped fine
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Tomato paste – 2 tbsp
Tomato – 1 medium, chopped
Salt, Pepper, Lemon juice – to taste
* Pressure cook millet with 1 ¾ cups water for 2 whistles. Keep aside.
* Add 2 tsp oil and minced garlic to a large pan, heat on medium low until the garlic starts to sizzle.
* Add the chopped onion, jalapeno and sauté till the edges start to brown.
* Mix in tomato paste and chopped tomato and sauté until the tomatoes are cooked, but not mushy.
* Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked millet, mix well and cook for another 3-5minutes for the flavors to mingle. Check seasoning and serve along side any Latin flavored dish. I served it with spicy pinto beans, store bought salsa and guacamole.

October 29, 2008

Vegan Mofo Day 29: Vegetable Bhath

My mom usually made this rice dish when we went to a First Show movie (that’s the movie showing @ 6:00PM) , not sure if they still use the same terminology in India. It was fun watching those looooong movies (do you remember Hum Aapke Hain Kaun-4 long hours with a 15 minute intermission.. wow) passing popcorn. My parents were not too big on eating outside food, so we would always take something from home, but they didn’t say no to popcorn. Well anyway since it used to get late by the time we came home (for the record, I watched more movies with my mom and sister than with my friends) and we used to gobble up late into the night talking (arguing with each other) about the movie, costumes, songs, fights…
The masala used is the same as the one used for bisibeli bath or vangi bath.

Rice – 3 cups, cooked
Mixed vegetables – 2 cups (Potato, carrots, green beans, peas are normally used, but any other veggie can also be added. I used a 16 oz. bag of frozen mixed vegetables along with 3 potatoes and 2 carrots)
Green chili – 2, sliced
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Ground Masala powder – 3 tbsp
Peanuts – 3 tbsp
Cashews – 2 tbsp
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Lemon juice – as per taste
Salt – as per taste

  • Cook rice; grains should be separate, not mushy. Add 1 tsp oil and 1/8 tsp turmeric to the rice; mix well and set aside to cool.
  • Take all the chopped veggies in a microwave safe bowl and cook them for 4-5 minutes until they are fork tender. This can also be done in the pressure cooker, cook for 2 whistles with little or no water.
  • In a large pan, heat 2tbsp oil; add mustard seeds and after they start spluttering, add the veggies and sauté until the edges start to crisp/brown about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add turmeric, masala powder, salt; mix well and remove from heat.
  • Mix the veggies along with lemon juice into the rice; mix with a light hand making sure that the rice does not get mushy.
  • Taste and season accordingly. Garnish with fried peanuts and cashews. Serve with onion raita (or not if you are a vegan) or papad. Tastes great the next day for lunch.

October 28, 2008

Badam Burfi

Wish you all a very Happy Deepavali

I miss home very much around festival times (I know all of you do too.. but I just want to let it out) especially for Diwali. No fireworks, no elaborately decorated diyas around the house means no fun. Its been (oh.. wow.. let me think) 8 long years that I celebrated actual diwali.
Some of my colleagues were asking me why I was working on a festival and not take a day off. But what am I to do at home, I don’t have to dry fire crackers in the sun or cook for guests. We used to sundry all the back home to make them dry and light better.. but it almost always used to be either cloudy or raining on diwali day.. its still fun with crackers that go tsssss… than have nothing.

To chase away all these negative thoughts during the festival season I’m trying to compensate the lack of fun with lots of food. I made Janthikalu (Chakli), Badam burfi (Almond bars) & gulab jamuns.
Gulab jamuns are from store bought mix, I love MTR brand and they come out perfect everytime for me.
Badam burfi recipe is adapted from Saffron Hut’s Badam halwa recipe, I cooked about 20 minutes more than the time needed for badam halwa.

Slivered Badam (Almonds) – 1 ½ cups
Sugar – 2 2/3 cups (or as per taste)
Cardamom powder (Elaichi) – ½ tsp
Milk – 3 tbsp (approximately)
Ghee – ¼ cup (or as needed)

  • Soak the almonds in hot water for 1 hour. Drain and grind into a smooth paste adding milk as needed.
  • Combine sugar and 1 cup of water in a heavy bottomed pot, bring to a rolling boil; lower the heat and slowly mix in the badam paste. Whisk thoroughly and make sure there are no lumps.
  • On low heat keep stirring the mixture occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  • Add 2 tsp ghee and stir about every 5 minutes. The mixture slowly starts getting thick from being watery to heavy creamy/ idly batter to very thick and slides away from the sides of the pot, about 40-50 minutes.
  • Remove it onto a greased plate, pat it smooth with the back of a smooth and score into bars; allow to cool completely before trying to break.
Will keep fresh in a tight lid container for about 2 weeks (if they are not eaten before that). Enjoy..

This is my entry to JFI: Festival treats being hosted by Srivalli @ Cooking 4 all Seasons. JFI is the brainchild of Indira @ Mahanandi.

October 27, 2008

Vegan Indian food

As I was thinking of menus to blog for Vegan mofo, I realized couple of things: there are a large number of Indian dishes that are vegan & it is extremely easy to veganize a non-vegan Indian dish.
Most of the curries, dals and rice dishes are vegan if the liberal dose of ghee or cream is either omitted or substituted with vegan counterparts. There are not too many dishes that I know of that call for mock-meat. Vegetarians in India are happy eating chicken tikka masala gravy with just potato or cauliflower; no need for fancy seitan. But seitan tikka masala does sound exotic and I’m sure is going to taste awesome.
The most I’m impressed with vegan cooking is baking, never in my life have I thought that a cake can be baked without eggs and butter. It is so much easier, quicker and “healthier” to make vegan baked goods. No eggs and butter to bring to room temperature, no beating butter and sugar till light and fluffy, no need to add eggs one at a time. Just mix all the ingredients and you are good to go (well!! I know it’s not simple, but you get the point).
There’s still 4 days of vegan mofoing, but I’m going to have a non-vegan post tomorrow for Diwali. For all the early risers… Wish you all a very Happy Diwali.

October 26, 2008

Kakarakaya Kura

Today's dinner is Kakarakaya kura (Karela Curry) and Masoor dal with coconut milk with steamed white rice.
I used frozen karela (round cut) and I simmered them in onion-tomato-tamarind sauce.

And for the dal I pressured cooked dal with chopped onion and tomato. Then put tadka and added 1/2cup of coconut milk.
5 more days of Vegan mofoing.. Have a great week ahead everyone.

October 25, 2008

Soup Overdose

It is raining cats and dogs today ruining a much awaited weekend. It has also got very cold not very typical for this time of the year. So that gave me plenty of reason to make not one but two soups even though DH was sulking that he wasn't getting real food, ONLY SOUP.. NO FOOD!!! But the tune changed when he tasted the roasted butternut squash soup, "Wow.. mmmm.. this is good".
The first soup I made is with Roasted Butternut Squash from Bad Girl's Kitchen: Recipes from Shell. I have been paired with Shell for this month's Taste and Create (Created by Nicole @ Forfood and hosted by Min @ Bad Girl Kitchen) and this soup recipe sounded awesome and it tasted awesome too. The only additions I made are, I added curry powder, maple syrup and some lemon juice and of course to make it vegan I used olive oil and did not add any milk. It was still creamy and delicious.

Second soup was my leftover veggie soup with carrots, red and green bell peppers, onions and some ditalini pasta simmered in veggie broth. I totally forgot to add tomatoes, it was on the bland side but still served the purpose of warming us from inside.

Have a great Rest of the Weekend Everyone.

October 24, 2008

Orange Pudding Cupcakes

I'm celebrating my 200 posts and my son's monthly birthday with vegan orange pudding cupcakes with chocolate ganache from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World (VCTOW). As I already mentioned before I make a cake/ cupcake for my son’s monthly birthdays. I guess it’s just a reason for us adults to indulge a little bit.
I borrowed VCTOW book (it’s a small book, fits perfectly in my purse) from the library and I look at the pictures and read the recipes like a little girl. I'm now thinking of buying the book so I can have it all to myself.
I made carrot cupcakes from the book twice already, my son loves these. It’s so cute to watch him sit and lick little crumbs & icing from his dad’s fingers. This is why I wanted to make something fruity, so my little one could enjoy.
Orange pudding cupcakes sounded just perfect and I took up the challenge of making them on a weeknight. I baked the cakes and made pudding during my afternoon break and assembled everything in the evening.

Recipe from VCTOW.
For the Pudding:
Freshly squeezed orange juice – ½ cup
Soy milk – ¾ cup
Sugar – ¼ cup + 2tbsp
Arrow root starch or cornstarch or tapioca starch – 3 tbsp
Turmeric – 1/8 tsp for color (optional)
Vanilla extract– 1 tsp
Orange zest – 1 tsp

For the cupcakes:
All purpose flour – 1 1/3 cups
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Salt – ¼ tsp
Canola Oil – 1/3 cup
Soy milk – ¾ cup
Freshly squeezed orange juice – ½ cup
Sugar – ¾ cup
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp

For the topping:
Orange Marmalade – ¼ cup
Rich Chocolate Ganache*
  • To make the pudding: Whisk orange juice, soy milk, sugar, arrow root starch, vanilla, turmeric in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. On medium heat, cook for 2 minutes whisking continuously until heated through and steamy. Reduce the flame to low and cook for 5 more minutes stirring continuously. You may have to use a fork after a while as the mixture thickens considerably. When the mixture is thick and pudding like, take off the heat and remove it into a bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The mixture will thicken further as it cools.
  • For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the cupcake pan with paper liners.
  • Whisk orange juice, soy milk, sugar, vanilla and 1 tbsp of flour in a medium bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 installments, making sure that everything is well incorporated after every addition. Fold in the orange zest and mix to incorporate.
  • Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 to ¾ of the way full.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched and the cake tested inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the cake pan and cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
  • To assemble: Snip a corner off a Ziploc bag and insert the widest tip possible. My tip squeezed out into the second cupcake I was filling, so I went ahead without a tip and it worked just fine.
  • Using a finger, poke a hole in the center of each cupcake and by sticking the tip into the cake squeeze as much of the pudding as it can take. Cupcakes will swell a little like a small balloon, don’t overdo or the balloon might burst. :0)
  • Wipe the top clean with the back of a spoon or just use your finger. Then spread ¼ tsp orange marmalade on each cupcake.
  • The next step is to add about 1 tbsp of chocolate ganache on each cupcake. Refrigerate the cupcakes till everything sets, about an hour. I filled and topped the cupcakes on the wire rack and I put the whole rack in the fridge for convenience.
The cupcakes were a big hit with my family and I can see my son licking on the pudding already.

* For the Rich Chocolate Ganache:
Soy milk – ¼ cup
Bittersweet chocolate – 4 oz. chopped
Maple syrup – 2 tbsp

Method: Bring the soy milk to a slow boil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Remove from heat and immediately stir in chopped chocolate and maple syrup. Stir till smooth and keep aside until ready to use.

October 23, 2008

Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu is a spicy Sichuan dish with a very long history. It is traditionally made with tofu along with ground beef or pork simmered in a spicy black bean chili sauce with Sichuan peppercorn. I found a vegetarian version of it in Vegetarian Times and it was spicy and delicious. It has double dose of protein with soy crumbles and tofu. The spice level of the recipe was a little muted, so I added some chili paste to bump it up a little bit. It is a quick and easy to prepare for a week night dinner.

Recipe adapted from here.
Extra Firm Tofu – 1 12oz. container, drained and cut into ½” pieces
Soy crumbles – 12 oz. pkg (I used Light life original)
Green Onions – 1 bunch, green and white parts chopped fine separately
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Ginger – 1” piece, minced
Sherry – 1 tbsp
Fermented Black bean sauce – 2 tbsp
Chili paste – 1½ tsp (I used Sambal Oleak)
Corn Flour – 2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp

  • Add soy crumbles, sherry, sugar, black bean sauce, chili sauce & ½ cup water; bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Stir in tofu, simmer for 3 minutes or until heated through.
  • Whisk cornstarch with 2 tbsp water in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to the wok.
  • Cook 1 minute more or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and serve over brown rice.

October 22, 2008

Okra Curry

Last night we had okra curry and dal for dinner. Recipe is quite simple, sauté coarsely chopped onions till browned around the edges and toss in chopped okra (I used frozen.. very convenient), cover and cook till okra changes from bright green to somewhat brownish green, about 15 minutes. Remove the lid, season with salt and chili powder, cook for 3-5 minutes more. Serve with rice or roti.

My sister loved okra and roti combo and used to pester my mom to pack it for lunch (this was way back when she was in elementary school), cos her friend used to get it and now she wants it in her lunch box too.. kids. Talking of kids, I didn’t get a chance to take pictures cos I got too busy with my son that I totally forgot about them. I realized little too late when all the dishes were already in the sink.

See you tomorrow with a some vegan goodies..

October 21, 2008

Lunch Box

This is my lunch box(es) with Aloo kura (Potato curry) and Pesarapappu Charu from last night. I usually cook for 2 meals at night, so we can pack them up for lunch the next day. I make a big pot of sambhar, pappu (dal) or rasam and lasts for atleast 3-4 meals for the 2 of us. Also I try to make curries with a little gravy, so it doesn’t get too dry for lunch the next day. If not we take a small container of dal or rasam on the side.

I tend to make white rice 2-3 times a week, pasta, brown rice and other grains make up for the rest of the days. I want to make rotis more often, but I’m not too good at making them and don’t have the time with a 13 month old pulling on my leg all the time.

I need some tips on making rotis quickly on weeknights, let me know how you guys usually manage. Any and all the tips are welcome. Also do you make sandwiches for lunch the day before or pack everything up and assemble at work? I’d love to take sandwich to work but I’m not sure if it’s going to end up being a soggy mess.

October 20, 2008

Lazy Weekend

Had a nice little get together with couple of our friends on Saturday with some Mexican food. Menu: spinach quesadillas, three-bean chili, chocolate cake, guacamole & salsa. Our friend was kind enough to bring some home made rotis and black-eyed peas subzi. No pictures of the food, sorry, we were too busy chowing down that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of all the food.

We had a good time eating, gossiping and watching “A Wednesday” movie. It has been a long time that we watched any Indian movie. It was refreshing to watch a movie that was very well made with no songs, fights, but will keep you thinking while watching and even after. Here’s a picture of leftover chili the next day.

Sunday was spent entirely on leftovers; I didn’t turn on the stove for the whole day. No.. actually I’m lying, I had to turn on the stove to make dosas with leftover idli batter. But you get the point, I practically didn’t cook anything this weekend, not even for my poor son.

Well things have changed and the fridge is empty with nothing to offer, so I have to start cooking today. OK then.. 10 more days of vegan mofoing and I’m off to India for a really short vacation, have started counting down the days already. Have a great week guys..

By the way, I didn't notice but I just crossed my 200 posts milestone. Will celebrate it this week with something special.

October 17, 2008

Nothing's Cooking

Today’s my DH birthday and I’m not cooking anything tonight. We are planning to go out to eat and I’m not sure if it’s going to be all vegan, but will try.
We are having some friends over tomorrow for a small party. I’m planning a Mexican meal with quesadillas; chili and a dessert (I still haven't decided on dessert yet, may be somemore vegan cupcakes or cookies??).
Happy Birthday Mr. Libra..

October 16, 2008

Spicy Cabbage & Fried Tofu

Today's dinner is Chinese style spicy cabbage with battered fried tofu. I bought Nasoya Chinese spice firm tofu and wasn't sure if I wanted to make a soup or something else. I didn't feel going the healthy route with this one and I decided to shallow fry the tofu.
I mixed some all purpose flour, chili powder and salt in a ziploc bag; added the drained & cubed tofu; swished the pieces around in the flour; pan fried in 1tbsp oil until gloden brown all over. Remove and keep aside.

These tofu nuggets were yummy as is, but I made some gravy with the left over flour mixture. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil, whisk in the flour mixture and fry it loses the raw smell about 2-3 minutes stirring often. Add 2-3tbsp crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup veggie broth, salt and pepper (remember there's chili powder in the flour) and simmer for 5-6 minutes until thickened. Serve over fried tofu pieces.

I also made Bryanna Clark Grogan's spicy cabbage with chinese black bean sauce. I added red & green peppers. For some reason my sauce was extremely black, but it tasted just awesome.
I made some quinoa to go with my tofu and cabbage. It was a filling meal.. yumm....

October 14, 2008

Tomato Pappu and Gongura pachadi

Today’s lunch is simple Andhra food, nothing fancy but full of homemade goodness.

Toor dal (Kandi pappu) – 1 cup
Tomatoes – 3 ripe, chopped
Green chilies – 3, chopped
Curry leaves – 6
Red chili powder – ½ tsp
Kitchen King masala – 1 tsp (optional)
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Dry Red chilies – 2
Asafoetiba – pinch
Salt – to taste

  • Pressure cook dal until soft and mushy.
  • Heat 2tsp oil in a saucepan; add the mustard and cumin seeds; after they splutter add red chilies and hing, sauté for few seconds.
  • Then add chopped tomatoes, green chilies; cover and cook until tomatoes are cooked and turn mushy.
  • Add cooked dal, red chili powder, masala powder and salt; simmer for 10 minutes on medium flame.
Serve with rice or roti.I had my pappannam with gongura pachadi.

October 13, 2008

Seitan & Veggie Stir fry

This is a adaptation of Beef & Broccoli stir fry from my cookshelf Chinese cookbook.

Seitan – 8 oz. drained and thinly sliced
Scallions – 1 bunch, thinly chopped
Mixed Vegetables – 2 cups (I used frozen broccoli stir fry vegetables; good options would be broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, water chestnuts, baby corn, snow peas etc)
Dark soy sauce – 2 tbsp
Ginger – ½“ piece, grated
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced fine
Chinese five spice powder – ½ tsp
Light soy sauce – 2 tsp
Vegetable broth – 2/3 cup
Corn starch – 2 tsp
Cold Water – 4 tsp
Salt and Pepper – to taste

  • Whisk dark soy sauce, ginger & garlic, Chinese spice powder in a small bowl. Add it to the seitan and toss till all the pieces are coated evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or large sauté pan, add the marinated seitan and sauté until browned all over. Remove and keep aside.
  • Heat 2 tsp oil, add the veggies and sauté 8-10 minutes on medium-high flame, stirring occasionally, until the veggie are tender. Return seitan to the pan.
  • Stir in broth and light soy sauce. Whisk corn starch and water in a small bowl, stir this into the veggies. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice or noodles.

October 12, 2008

Split Pea Soup

I made Split Pea soup with Sweet Potato and Kale from talented Susan's blog Fat free Vegan. I visit her blog just to see what's cooking in her kitchen. Her pictures are treat to eyes and the recipes are healthy and easy to follow. I made this soup in the pressure cooker and followed the recipe to the T except I used MTR Madras Curry powder instead of Maharajah curry powder. Soup is very flavorful and healthy. My son loved it too.

October 11, 2008

Indira’s Dum Aloo

I don’t know what restaurant makes this good Dum Aloo, but this recipe is just out of this world.. Spicy, creamy, tangy gravy with the yummy baby potatoes goes perfectly well with rice or roti. I did not make any changes to the recipe except I cut down a little bit on the red chilies and peppercorn. Recipe needs a little prepping ahead, but Indira points that out in her recipe, so I was prepared for it. I’m going to make it again when I see those tiny potato beauties. Thanks Indira.

PS: Will upload the picture soon.

October 10, 2008

Bento Bowl

We had spicy tofu bento bowl for dinner tonight. Recipe is adapted from Vegetarian times magazine.

(Serves 2 people)
For Spicy Tofu
Tofu – 12 oz. pkg, drained and cut into 1" pieces
Soy sauce – ¼ cup
Chili sauce – 3tbsp
Sesame oil – 2 tsp

For the Salad:
Brown Rice – 1 cup, cooked
Mixed Salad greens – 1 cup
Avocado – 1, sliced thinly
Soy sauce – ¼ cup
Ginger – 1” piece, grated
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

  • Whisk soy sauce, chili sauce and sesame oil in a bowl.
  • Heat 2tsp oil in a large sauté pan. Dip tofu in the chili mixture and fry in the hot pan for 8-10 minutes, tossing to make sure that all sides are browned evenly. Remove and keep aside.
  • To assemble the salad: Whisk soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice in a small bowl. Mound half the rice in a serving bowl, top with the mixed greens, avocado and tofu. Serve with the sauce.

October 08, 2008

Pasta with fresh vegetables

This recipe was on the box of Barilla whole grain rotini. It looked and sounded easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner and so here it is.

Pasta – 8 oz. (any short pasta should be fine, I used whole grain rotini)
Broccoli – 1 bunch, chopped into florets
Carrot – 1 medium, sliced
Onion – 1 medium, thinly sliced
Peas – 1 cup (thawed if using frozen)
Cherry tomatoes – 2 cups, halved
Garlic – 2 cloves
Red chili flakes – ½ tsp
Dried Oregano – ½ tsp
Basil – 5 leaves (I used dried)
Parsley – 1 tsp, chopped (I used ½ tsp dried)
Salt & Pepper – to taste

  • Heat 2tbsp olive oil on medium flame, sauté garlic for few seconds.
  • Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add broccoli, carrots and peas; season with salt and pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Add 1 cup of pasta cooking water and simmer until the veggies are tender.
  • Add tomatoes, spices and cook for 2 more minutes. Add drained pasta, 1 tbsp olive oil; mix well and serve either warm or at room temperature.

October 07, 2008

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

My first attempt at making the carrot cupcakes from vegan cupcakes take over the world was a major disaster. I later found out from my colleague that there is a typo in the recipe and the amount of flour needs to be increased from 2/3 cups to 1 2/3 cups. So I tried again and they turned out pretty good. My husband and son are enjoying them everyday since.

Vegan baking seems to be much simpler than baking with butter and eggs. There is no need to cream the butter until light and airy, no need to add eggs one at a time or even worry about the shells getting into the batter.

All purpose flour – 1 2/3 cups
Grated Carrot – 1 cup (from 1 large carrot)
Sugar – 2/3 cup
Canola oil – 1/3 cup
Soy Yogurt (plain or vanilla) – 1/3 cup
Pure Vanilla – 1 tsp
Baking soda – ¾ tsp
Baking powder – ¼ tsp
Ground ginger – ¼ tsp
Ground Cinnamon – ¼ tsp
Salt – ¼ tsp
Chopped Walnuts – ¼ cup (I used cashews instead)
Raisins – ¼ cup

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix in sugar, oil, yogurt and vanilla.
  • Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda & powder, spices, salt) on the wet ingredients and using a wooden spoon mix until well combined.
  • Stir in grated carrots, walnuts and raisins.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the muffin tins. Bake for 26-28 minutes or until the cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove onto a wire rack; cool completely and frost them with vegan cream cheese frosting.

October 06, 2008

Beanball Sub

Today’s lunch is toasted sub with leftover bean balls and marinara sauce (from Day 2) on hoagie rolls. Again recipe is from Veganomicon.

I made a batch of Seitan last night so I don’t have to scramble to make dishes for Vegan mofo. I followed the recipe from Veganomicon to the letter; I have 2/3rds of it in the fridge to be used sometime this week and 1/3rd of it frozen for a later use. So in my blog’s horoscope this week I see a post with seitan in it :0)

October 05, 2008

Bell Pepper Rice

I made this bell pepper rice for today's lunch. It is a very easy one-pot dish, great for a weeknight dinner too. I bought a bag of gourmet bell peppers from BJs, I used half of them in this dish.

Basmati Rice - 2 cups, soaked for at least 30 mins
Bell Peppers - 4, chopped into 1" pieces (I used one each of red, yellow, orange & green peppers)
Red Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Tomato puree - 3 tbsp
Biryani Masala paste- 1 tbsp (I used Patak's brand) (optional)
Garam Masala powder - 1 tsp (I used MTR brand)
Red Chili powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

Shah Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon stick - 1' piece
Cloves - 3
Cardamom - 2
Bay leaves - 2
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker, add all the spices and saute for 30 seconds until they are fragrant. Add onions and fry until reddish brown.
  • Add peppers and increase the flame to medium high. Fry the peppers till they turn slightly brown around the edges, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree, biryani masala paste (if using), garam masala, red chili powder and salt; mix well and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add rice along with 2 1/2 cups of water (thats the measure I use for my basmati rice, it might change depending on the type of rice you are using). Cover and cook for 2 whistles on medium-high flame, should take about 8-10 minutes.

Serve hot with chips.

October 04, 2008

Ada (Mixed Lentil Pancake)

Today's Vegan dinner is Ada - Mixed Lentil Dosa (pancakes!!!) with peanut chutney. I used Chana, Toor, Moong, Urad & Masoor dals (1/3 cup each).

October 03, 2008

Orzo Pilaf

This dish came together as I tossed in everything that I thought would taste good in a pilaf (pulao). Quick and easy recipe.

Orzo Pasta – 1 cup
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Potato – 1 large, diced
Frozen corn – ½ cup
Frozed Edamame – ½ cup
French cut beans, frozen – ½ cup
Miso – 2 tsp Ground
Cumin – 1 tsp
Chili powder – ½ tsp
Salt and Pepper – to taste

  • Cook orzo according to package directions.
  • Cook potato in little water in microwave until fork tender.
  • Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a sauté pan, add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add all the frozen veggies along with the potatoes (drained) and cook on medium high until the edges start to brown.
  • Add cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and orzo. Mix well and let the flavors mingle for a couple of minutes.
  • Add miso paste mixed in 2tsp water to orzo and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve warm.

October 02, 2008

Pasta with Beanballs

This recipe from Veganomicon is very tasty and easy to put together. I had some cooked kidney beans that I froze sometime back and it took minutes to make these (Opening a can of beans would have taken the same time).

Cooked Red kidney beans – 3 cups
Vital wheat Gluten – ¼ cup
Plain Breadcrumbs – ½ cup
Soy Sauce – 2tbsp
Tomato Paste – 2 tbsp (I used 1 tbsp crushed tomato instead)
Olive Oil – 2 tbsp plus more for frying
Garlic – 1 tbsp, minced
Lemon jest – 1 tsp
Dried thyme – ¼ tsp
Dried Oregano – ¼ tsp
Marinara Sauce - 4 cups (either home made or store-bought)
Pasta - 8 oz.

  • Mash the beans until there are no whole beans anymore. The texture should not be too smooth.
  • Add all the other ingredients and mix with a fork to combine. Then using hands, knead the mixture for 1 minute until everything is completely mixed and firm. Roll into walnut size balls.
  • Preheat a large sauté pan on medium. Add ¼“of olive oil and slowly drop in the beanballs. Cook for about 15 minutes, tossing often, until browned on all sides. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
  • Remove all but 2 tbsp oil in the pan. Slide the beanballs back into the pan and slowly add 1/3 cup marinara sauce; toss to coat. Cook for about 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime cook pasta (I used small shell pasta) according to package directions. Drain and transfer back to the pot. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over pasta and mix.

To serve, place some pasta in a bowl, and top with 4-5 beanballs and their sauce. Slurp.. yummy..

October 01, 2008

Bottle Gourd Masala Curry

I signed up for Vegan Mofo – Vegan Month of Food event being hosted by Isa of The Post Punk Kitchen. The idea is to write about vegan food in the month of October, so I’m trying to do my best to post my vegan creations everyday (or at least 20 times) this month.
I’m going to kick start the month with my Aunt’s Bottle gourd Curry (Sorakaya Kura) and Mango Dal (Mamidi kaya pappu).

Sorakaya (Bottle gourd) – 4 cups, chopped into 1” pieces (medium sized gourd)
Onion – 2 medium, (1 chopped fine, 1 coarsely chopped)
Green Chilies – 4
Tamarind pulp – 1tbsp
Ground Coriander – 1tsp
Ground fenugreek (Menthi podi) – ½ tsp
Ground Pepper – ½ tsp
Ground Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
  • Add salt to the chopped bottle gourd pieces, cover and keep aside for 15 minutes.
  • In the mean time, heat 1 tsp oil and sauté coarsely chopped onion and green chilies until translucent. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, grind into a smooth paste.
  • After 15 minutes, rinse the pieces with water, squeeze out the excess water and keep aside.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large sauté pan; add the finely chopped onions and sauté till lightly browned around the edges.
  • Add the bottle gourd pieces; cover and cook on medium low flame until the pieces are ¾ cooked, about 10, 15 minutes.
  • At this point add all the other ingredients, tamarind and all the powders, salt; mix well; cover and cook until the bottlegourd is completely cooked, another 5-10 minutes. Add water if the gravy seems to be too thick.
Serve with steamed rice and dal.


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