As promised, there is no way I can do a post on an Indian dish- and not have my favourite vegetarian Indian dish up here as well! This is especially true because I don’t actually eat meat- so the Butter Chicken was more of a way of giving my meat-eating readers something yummy to make at home and make everyone happy! Generally, I only cook meat if I’m entertaining guests who I know really subsist off of meat, or they make a personal request!
It’s the start of a new week- and we’re already past the half-way mark of January! As per usual, time is flying- and life is carrying on! I’ve been eating a lot of raw food this month- which is quite strange to me (considering we’re in the bulk of winter right now), however it seems to be what my body is calling for. When I say I’m eating raw, this generally consists of vegetables and nuts. To some, raw means a lot of fruit- this is just not the case with me. Don’t get me wrong, I love fruit. How can you not, it’s nature’s dessert, “fruit of the gods”. I’ve just found that when I consume a lot of fruit in my diet, I feel a little slower and weighed down- and don’t feel as healthy, to be honest. I try to maintain a diet that is predominantly vegetables. Cooked, raw & fermented. and believe me- for all of you nay-sayers out there who are wondering, “how can you get all of your nutrition and protein from just vegetables?” It is NOT a problem! Vegetables are fulllll of so many nutrients and vitamins and protein! STACKED! and when you’re feeling like you need some good quality, concentrated fats and protein kicks- add some nuts and seeds to your meals. This is not to say you should sustain yourself on nuts and seeds- I tend to look at them as a way to dress up a dish that is missing some psazzz! For instance, I’ve been making Sherry Strong‘s “cool-slaw” a lot for breakfast, lunch or a mid-day snack- and a good way to dress it up and add some texture is to add chopped walnuts. It’s honestly delicious! I will have to post it here soon!
I think I’m all Indian’ed out for a while now, however- this vegetarian dish I am writing about today is a great way to add some fragrant, spiced delicious protein-packed Indian food into your life. The most important thing when it comes to cooking Indian food is the spices. I know it seems a bit daunting at first- the laundry list of Indian spice essentials that make up a dish. My recommendation is to just bite the bullet and get yourself the essentials (and try to buy them organic if you can). I know it seems expensive at first- but they will last you a while (depending on how much Indian food you can eat a week or month), and once you have them it’s really quite easy to make a delicious, authentic dish with minimal ingredients. Plus, you really will start to feel like a seasoned home-chef when you have a great, abundant spice vocabulary (including spices like cardamom, cumin, coriander & amchoor) & can whip something up with minimal effort and time! It’ll impress people (they will wonder if you just arrived home from a trip to India), fill their bellies and really make your house smell delicious!
I played around with the authentic dish a bit and added my own twist of cauliflower- it was in my kitchen and honestly- I felt like the flavour and texture of cauliflower blended well with the dish! That’s the great thing about cooking- despite the fact that I added something unconventional to a dish that is truly authentic to a culture- experimenting with flavours and ingredients is really what cooking is all about. Experimenting in baking can prove to be a big no no. I have always felt more comfortable and confident in cooking- than in baking. This is probably because there is less pressure to follow the rules. What about you? What’s your favourite! I encourage you to experiment, have some fun & play with the flavours of your kitchen on your countertop!
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
- 8-10 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 3 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (2 cans), soaked, rinsed
- 1 tsp raw honey or coconut sugar
- 1 cauliflower head, chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon garam masala blend
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Melt coconut oil in a large pot or pan (I prefer to use a large pan so that the tomatoes cook faster and more evenly)
- Add onions, garlic, ginger & jalapeno, and cook until onions are translucent (around 5 minutes)
- Meanwhile, make your spice blend (this is if you are using whole seeds, or want to mix your spice blend before adding it to the pan to have a more even distribution of flavour)
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, and add the spice blend
- Add the fresh cilantro, and allow it to wilt
- Cook the onions with the spice blend for about 2 minutes- allowing the spices to sweat and coat the onions
- Add the chopped tomatoes & mix well, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze
- Add the chickpeas and honey, cover the pan and bring up the heat a bit- allow it to cook for around 10 minutes (so that the tomatoes can break down and get juicy)
- Remove the lid off the pan, add the chopped cauliflower and allow to cook for about 20 minutes.
- Add the salt, pepper and lemon juice- cook for another 2-5 minutes and serve!
- Options: Serve with brown basmati or jasmine rice (gluten-free) OR naan bread OR salad