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Friday Feast: Rajmah Gobi Curry

This is a dish I made a few weeks ago with whatever I happened to have in the house. Clearly, I had a lot of cauliflower (gobi). It tastes good with basmati rice, but I also enjoyed this curry as a filling in a wrap.

When I made it, I let it simmer on the stove for about an hour while I was cooking something different for Mr Teeny-bop’s dinner and baking dessert. The long simmering time really made a difference – the curry would have been quite watery otherwise. If you want to make this with less cooking time, I’d reduce the coconut milk and chopped tomatoes – possibly using as little as half as much.

Chickpeas would also go well in this – in fact, that’s what I was originally going to use, but we didn’t have any! Kidney beans (rajmah) tasted great instead.

Rajmah Gobi Curry

rajmah gobi curry

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cauliflower
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • 1/2 green capsicum
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400mL can coconut milk
  • 400g can kidney beans
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tab lemon juice
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tab vegan margarine
  • 2 tab curry powder
  • oil

Method:

  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat and fry onions until slightly brown.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, curry powder and tomatoes. Combine and simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Add cauliflower, beans, lemon juice, salt, pepper and half of the coconut milk. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add capsicum, margarine and the other half of the coconut milk. Simmer for as long as you want – up to an hour – until the curry reaches a consistency you like. The chickpeas should be soft and the cauliflower tender.
  5. At the end, add the peas for just long enough to cook through. (If you leave them in there too long, they’ll get mushy and gross.)
  6. Serve with rice or flat bread. Yum!

rajmah gobi curry

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Vegan Fast Food

Vegans and fast food don’t often go together. There are exceptions, like Lord of the Fries in Melbourne, but those kinds of places are far and few between. Takeaway food from regular restaurants is a bit expensive to eat very often.

So usually I make my own fast food.

This is what I had for lunch the other day:

refried beans, pinto beans, rice, sweet potato, salsa

  • Roasted sweet potato (I had two in the basket in the pantry starting to get a bit old, so I roasted them up to eat as I pleased)
  • Refried beans with jalapenos (thanks Old El Paso!)
  • Mexi-beans (thanks again Old El Paso!)
  • Mexican style express rice (this time, Uncle Ben’s was my friend)
  • Roasted capsicum salsa (I’m taking out shares in Old El Paso).

So these aren’t the most eco-friendly items I’ve ever eaten… two things from cans, one in a plastic packet and one from a jar… but aside from the rice packet, it’s all recyclable and/or reusable, which is more than you can say for the paper/cardboard/plastic/styrofoam packaging you get from places like Macca’s.

It’s also loads healthier.

And it was fast! It took me less than 5 mins to make. Sometimes that’s what you want. Plus, there’s leftovers!!

refried beans, pinto beans, rice, sweet potato, salsa

But best of all, it was tasty. Nommmmm….

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Friday Feast: Olive and Butter Bean Spread

The basis for this recipe comes from a  cookbook my ex-colleagues got me when I left my previous job. You know you’re leaving friends when they give you a book called Vegan Italiano as a goodbye present. What champs. 🙂

We initially made this hoping it would be an acceptable substitute for Yankee Elv’s old favourite, cream cheese and green olive sandwich. It’s not the same (you can’t really mimic cream cheese with beans), but I like it better. The cream cheese used to be quite heavy, whereas this is light and perfect for warm days, especially straight out of the fridge. I’ve kept this in the fridge for a week without it going bad. It might keep longer than that, but I’m not sure as it’s never lasted that long!

This recipe is nearly the same as what’s in the book, but we increased the lemon juice, onion and olives. I’m not a lemon-y kind of person, but the addition of a little extra lemon gives this spread a really fresh flavour. We also usually use kalamata olives (the original recipe calls for green or black olives), but I think we tried green ones once and they were nice too. Plus we mix the onions and olives in – the recipe says they should be used as a garnish. Weird.

I especially like it spread on sourdough or grainy quinoa and flaxseed toast. Yum!

Olive and Butter Bean Spread

Two pieces of toast, cut in half diagonally, spread with olive and butter bean spread.

Ingredients

  • 425g (16oz) can butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tab extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tab lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 tabs diced red onion
  • 2 to 3 tabs chopped kalamata olives
  • toast, whatever kind you like

Method

  1. Place the beans, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor and whiz until smooth.
  2. Mix in the onion and olives. (You can process them if you want, but personally I think the flavour gets a bit lost without the little pieces.)
  3. Spread on toast and eat it all up!
Cutaway shot of toast with olive and butter bean spread.

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Friday Feast: Carrot, Pineapple and Soybean Stir-fry

Ok, I know this combination of ingredients sounds weird, but it’s good, trust me. This is one of Yankee Elv’s recipes, and she first made it while she was in the USA. I think it’s some kind of weird US North Pacific Rim fusion sort of meal. Anyway, it’s really easy and tastes great, so give it a go!

Carrot, Soybean, and Pineapple Stirfry

carrot, pineapple, soybean stir-fry

Carrot, Pineapple and Soybean Stir-fry, with rice.

Ingredients:
• 2 tablespoon oil
• 3 cloves garlic, minced (or as much as you want)
• 2 medium carrots, sliced
• 1 240g (8oz) can pineapple chunks WITH juice – don’t drain
• 1 – 1 1/2 cups frozen green soybeans (edamame)
• 2 tablespoon soy sauce
• 2 teaspoon sesame oil
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (less or more to adjust spiciness)
• 2 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
• cooked rice (preferably cooked at least a day before, so it is less sticky)

Method:
1.
Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add garlic and carrots and stir-fry for  about 4 to 5 minutes
3. Add the pineapple with the juice. Saute on medium-high until juice is almost gone; about 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, defrost the frozen soybeans so they are no longer frozen (but they can still be cold) by heating them in the microwave, in water to cover, for 1 minute (if you don’t have a microwave, you can do it on the stove).
5. When the pineapple juice is almost gone, add the soybeans, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and red pepper. Heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until the spices are mixed and the beans are warmed through.
6. You can either mix in the rice and cook it some more with the stirfry (gives the rice some extra flavor), or just ladle the stir-fry over the rice.

Optional: sprinkle sesame seeds over the meal for a bit of a crunch.

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Friday Feast: Vegan Quiche

I was reading my local Vegsoc forum and came across a thread about vegan chickpea omlettes. The thread included a recipe for a batter based on chickpea flour (rather than eggs), plus a tonne of rave reviews. Apparently, this batter can be used to make lots of things: omlettes, fritters, faux scrambled eggs, pizza bases, frittatas and quiches. Considering I hadn’t had any of this eggy stuff for at least 6 years, I thought I might give it a go. I made a quiche, and it was pretty good! I thought it tasted quite quiche-like. Yankee Elv, who still eats eggs, didn’t think it tasted exactly like quiche, but she liked it a lot anyway.

I made mine in a pie dish, so it was quite shallow. If you wanted a thicker quiche, you could put it in a smaller dish or double the mixture. You might have to increase the cooking time too. I didn’t make mine with pastry, but other people have made it with vegan puff pastry and it worked well. I might try that next time.

Vegan Quiche

vegan quiche

My very first vegan quiche (no longer an oxymoron) - made primarily with chickpea flour and topped with pine nuts.

Ingredients

**batter**

  • 1 cup besan (chickpea) flour
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tabs olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste (be generous)
  • vegan margarine (to grease the dish)

**my filling** (this is all optional, change as you like – you want to add flavourful stuff though or it will be bland)

  • sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
  • roasted capsicum, finely diced
  • black olives, finely diced (consider the strong flavour of these when deciding how many to add)
  • shallots (green onions), finely diced
  • nutritional yeast (I used about 1/8 cup)
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Italian herbs
  • pine nuts (to sprinkle on top)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F).
  2. Sift besan flour into a bowl. Add other batter ingredients (aside from vegan margarine) and combine very well.
  3. Add filling ingredients (except pine nuts) and combine.
  4. Pour mixture into a greased dish. (Use vegan margarine to grease.)
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 mins, then sprinkle pine nuts on top and return to the oven.
  6. Continue to bake for about another 10-15 mins, or until set and golden brown around the edges (and on top, if you want).

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Friday Feast: Bean Tortilla Stack

Bean Tortilla Stack is the first food my mother made me after I became vegetarian, about six years ago. It was originally a beef meal, but there were instructions in her recipe book on how to alter it for vegetarians, so she did and it was fantastic! I got the recipe and have made it myself a number of times over the years.It’s kind of like a Mexican lasagne, with tortillas instead of pasta sheets.

Recently, I decided to try veganising this dish using Bryanna Clark Grogan‘s Melty Pizza Cheese recipe (which I found on pakupaku) to replace the cheese component of the original dish. It doesn’t have the same taste or texture, so don’t expect that or you will be disappointed, but it looks good and it does add a little something-something in my opinion. I’ve only included the link here, since this is a direct copy of someone else’s recipe and I haven’t modified it in any way to make it ‘my own’.

The original recipe calls for a packet of taco seasoning. I don’t find this spicy enough, so I add paprika, chili powder and cumin to taste. In contrast, Mum will make it with only half a packet of taco seasoning if she is cooking for my sister – she’s a spice wimp. It’s really up to you.

The best kind of dish to use for this is a pyrex or ceramic type of dish, the kind that comes with a lid (although you don’t need the lid unless you want to use it when you store leftovers in the fridge). The dish should be round, to fit the tortillas, and high to help the stack keep it’s shape. Pie dishes are too short. The dish I use is a little small; I have to trim the edges of my tortillas. Mum’s is the best. It’s about 25cm in diameter (just under 10 inches), as opposed to mine, which is about 20cm in diameter (just under 8 inches). Still, both worked, so just get as close as you can.

Points to remember:

  1. The tortillas soak up some of the sauce, so if you have to trim them to fit in your dish, you might want to reduce the amount of sauce you put in, or it will be runnier than it’s supposed to be. Use your judgement! If it’s a bit goopy, don’t worry – it will still taste good.
  2. The smaller in diameter your stack is, the higher it will be as the sauce layers will spread out less and therefore be thicker.

Now read on, then cook!

Bean Tortilla Stack

Bean Tortilla Stack in dish

Bean Tortilla Stack after a night in the fridge. The layers hold up best after refrigeration.

Ingredients:
**general**

  • 450g (16 oz) can refried beans
  • 425g (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tortillas (I use wholewheat, but it doesn’t matter what kind you use)
  • Melty Pizza Cheese
  • oil (cooking spray, margarine, olive oil…)

**for the sauce**

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup capsicum, diced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup vegetables/mushrooms (like grated carrot, diced zucchini or chopped mushrooms) (optional)
  • 425g (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3-4 tabs tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (Vegeta!)
  • 35g (1.25 oz) packet taco seasoning
  • paprika, chili powder and cumin, to taste (optional)
Bean Tortilla Stack with guacamole.

Bean Tortilla Stack with smooth guacamole. This slice is fresh from the oven - you can see that it doesn't retain it's shape straight out of the oven.

Method:
1.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
2. Add some oil to the bottom of a large pot or frying pan and combine sauce ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes.
3. Take one cup of sauce out and leave to the side.
4. Add beans (both kidney and refried) and bring to the boil again.
5. Grease a round, tall, oven-proof dish (I use cooking spray oil cos I’m using up my current can). Place one tortilla on the bottom and spread 1 1/2 cups of the mixture over it.
6. Repeat tortilla/sauce step three times.
7. Top with the last tortilla. Pour the extra cup of sauce (sans beans, that you had set aside earlier) over the top and spread evenly.
8. Gently spread faux cheese on top.
9. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until faux cheese has a skin. You can put it under the grill (broiler) if you want to get it a bit brown.
10. Leave for five to ten minutes before serving. (It will be goopy if it’s fresh out of the oven; it holds its shape better after refrigeration.)

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Friday Feast: Spicy Bean Chili Stew

I found the original recipe online at epicurious here. It’s a tasty, if somewhat runny, chili with beans, spinach and butternut pumpkin (squash, for Americans). Yankee Elv tweaked it and made it for me.

Now, the original recipe calls for 2 tabs chili powder. I didn’t trust this, because the recipe was on an American site, and chile powder in the USA is way different to chili powder here. Chili powder in Australia is ground chili peppers. Chile powder in the USA is usually Texan or Mexican chile powder, and it’s a combination of ground chili peppers, ground cumin, majoram, mexican oregano, cayenne pepper sometimes… all kinds of things. My point is, it’s nowhere near as spicy. So I told Yankee Elv I thought it would be best to reduce the amount of chili powder. She did so – by half, the first time she made this dish.

That stuff still burned me to death. I was literally crying, I had to eat with a box of tissues beside me, blowing my nose every other bite. Now, I’m wimpy with spiciness, but not THAT wimpy. This was hardcore. Even Yankee Elv (who I think has a mouth made of teflon or something) thought it was spicy, although she was less affected than me. It was also more liquidy than a chili normally is, so every breath I took, a little of the liquid went to the back of my throat and threatened to go up my nose… so even that part of me was burning.

We drained it and tried it as a pasta sauce. I stirred sour cream into it (I was still eating that back then, but I’m not now). I ate it with cornbread. These things helped, and they tasted good too. My mouth, however, still felt like it was on fire.

But oh, if you could get past the burn, it tasted SO GOOD!

So next time, Yankee Elv reduced the amount of chili powder to about 1 tsp. That was still pretty spicy for me – but yummy spicy, instead of crying spicy.

Try it if you dare!

Spicy Bean Chili Stew

Spicy Bean Chili Stew with Cornbread

Spicy Bean Chili Stew with Cornbread

 

Ingredients

  • 2 tab olive oil
  • 2.5 cups onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2.5 cups butternut pumpkin (butternut squash if you’re American), peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 x 400g cans beans, drained (black beans if you can get them, but we used kidney beans, butter beans or cannellini beans and mixed beans)
  • 2.5 cups liquid vegetable broth (don’t make this up using dry stock and water because it turns out too salty)
  • 400g can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Saute onions and garlic until tender and golden (about 10 mins).
  3. Stir in pumpkin pieces and cook for about 2 mins.
  4. Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook for about 1 min.
  5. Stir in the beans, vegetable broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 mins, until the pumpkin is tender.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Add spinach and combine. Cook for another 5 mins. (Don’t allow the spinach to get too wilted).
  9. Serve with rice, pasta, toast, cornbread , tortillas, corn chips, guacamole or whatever else takes your fancy.

Note: This dish freezes well, although the pumpkin gets a bit mushy.

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