We've been so veggie this week, I can practically smell the patchouli oil coming out of our pores.
I'm seriously considering growing out my armpit and leg hair and have traded in my Fit flops for Birkenstocks.
Of course I kid. I no more think that all vegetarians are hairy legged hippies (not that there's anything wrong with that.) than do I think that all meat eaters are blood-thirsty heart attacks waiting to happen.
Tonight was another meatless night for us though, and as much as I do love my meat dishes, this week has been rather a fun (and gaseous!) adventure. As I have mentioned before, my guys are not particularly excited about the idea of meat-free food, but rather than always trying to trick them into thinking that there's meat in their supper, I usually just aim to fill their plates with lively flavour and a good variety of colours and textures.
Tonight's Indian dishes are a simple combination of some basic veggies cooked with a variety of spices that compliment them best. The result was well received by both Drew and Christian who admitted that they haven't missed meat at all this week. I'm not going to push my luck next week though, the meat is making its way back in.
By the way, I always make extra of the Bombay aloo (Potatoes) just as I do with dhal, as they're amazing with eggs for breakfast the next day.
Bombay Aloo, Gobi Masala and Kumbi Bhaji
Serves 4, takes 50 minutes
For the Bombay Aloo (potatoes):
750g floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or King Edward, peeled and cut into 4 cm (1 1/2") chunks
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cm piece ginger, grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
1/1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp fenugreek
2 tbsp ghee or veg oil
1 tsp salt
For the Kumbi Bhaji (mushrooms):
250g button mushroooms, halved or larger mushrooms cut into smaller chunks.
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled* and diced
1/2 onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cm ginger, grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp oil
For the Gobi Masala (cauliflower):
1 head, cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 onion, small diced
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ajwan seeds (optional, they can be hard to find), crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1 green chilli, de-seeded, sliced
1 tbsp oil
To serve: juice of 1 lemon, handful fresh coriander (cilantro)
Listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or Punjabi MC while cooking this lot.
Blanch the cauliflower in salted boiling water in a medium saucepan for three minutes, then drain and set aside.
In the same saucepan, heat the ghee or oil and tip in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Sizzle for about thirty seconds until they start to crackle. Add the ginger, garlic, onions, green pepper, salt and the rest of the spices and continue to fry for a few minutes until the onions are going golden and soft. Add the potatoes to the pan and stir well to coat completely in the masalas, then pour half a cup of water over, lower the heat to med-low, cover and leave to cook for 20 minutes while you get on with the rest of the meal.
In a small frying pan, heat one tbsp of oil and fry the onion, ginger and garlic for the mushrooms. When beginning to soften and colour, add the spices and stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes to the pan and continue to cook for a few minutes, until the smell of raw tomato has gone and the liquid is beginning to cook out. Stir the mushrooms into the mixture and sprinkle over the salt. Lower the heat and continue to cook for a ten or so minutes, when the mushrooms are well cooked and there is little moisture left in the pan.
For the Cauliflower: In a small frying pan, heat one tbsp of oil and fry the onion, ginger and garlic. When beginning to soften and colour, add the spices and stir-fry for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the chilli to the pan and stir fry for a couple of minutes to release some of the flavour. Stir the blanched cauli into the spiced oil and cook for a couple of minutes until warmed through and just cooked. you don't want to it to be too soft and mushy. Squeeze the lemon juice over after you turn the heat off.
Serve together on a big plate with chapatis or naan bread and pickles or chutneys.
Scatter with fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
Love the way your house smells
*Cook's Note: to peel the tomatoes, cut and X with a sharp knife just through the skin. Put in a small bowl and pour enough boiling water over them to cover. Leave for 15 seconds, the remove from the water and allow to cool for a minute before peeling.
Don't refrigerate your tomatoes if you can help it. The cold spoils the flavour and turns the texture mealy.
Don't wash mushrooms. Just wipe with a clean, damp kitchen towel or cloth.