Mushroom Tikka Masala

 
Mushroom Tikka Masala

Guest post by Colleen Mahal from A Curry of a Life


This recipe is an adaptation from one of my favorite Indian food blogs called Veggie Belly.  Veggie Belly is one of the blog I frequent a few times a week.   Reading her stories, seeing her recipe ideas and learning from her stunning photography (one of the best features of her website) makes me even more excited to try something new or jump into the kitchen. Sala, the talented author, creates amazing vegetarian and vegan recipes ranging from Indian food to Thai, Mexican and anything in between.  I usually can’t wait to try out her recipes. One evening Hubby and I were brainstorming our grocery list for the week and trying to come up with ideas for new foods to experiment with.


“Let’s have mushrooms” Hubby said.

“No way” I immediately responded, “I’ve never liked mushrooms.”
I never have enjoyed their taste. The fact that they are in the fungus family doesn't help either.
The next morning I logged on to Veggie Belly and saw a new post for a creamy and rich dish made for mushrooms.   The mouth-watering photos of a dish with spicy red sauce that look irresistible.  I had a hard time believing it was for Mushroom Tikka Masala. There was just no way mushrooms could look so appetizing.  This opened my mind to trying out her recipe.  I figured I might as well try it and if I didn’t like it Hubby could enjoy it all to himself.
At least I would learn how to make a good tikka masala sauce. So I added mushrooms to my grocery list.
 
 
Later on that afternoon, I was watching one of my favorite cooking shows Good Eats and the episode was all about mushrooms! It even included how to sauté them using Ghee (clarified butter which is widely used in India).  I thought to myself, “I’m starting to get the message that I should try this dish."
 
Then one night, Hubby showed up with these in his hands.
It wasn’t a holiday; it wasn’t my birthday or an anniversary.  It was just a Tuesday. As you can imagine I was completely caught off guard and that made it all the more special.  Hubby told me he ran into a few of our female neighbors on the way home.  One neighbor said “oh, those are beautiful, she'll love them!” while another asked “are you in the dog house?”
No he was not in the dog house and yes, I certainly did enjoy them. I also thought a random act of kindness like that deserved fulfilling Hubby’s request for mushrooms.
 
After a trip to our local Indian grocery store, I got home and began chopping mushrooms and bell peppers while listening to a Harry Potter audio book in the background.  I’m a bit slow when trying out a new recipe, constantly looking back at the instructions, so it took me about two hours to make it the first time.  The results made the time feel well worth it.  It ended up being one of the best dishes I have ever made.  Rich and creamy and bursting with flavor.  I couldn’t believe mushrooms could taste so good!
 
I’ve made this dish a few times now and have it down to about an hour and half, a considerable time commitment.   Due to the amount of time this dish takes I decided to make it an “advanced” dish, although there is nothing actually difficult about it.  But it does take a good amount of chopping, stirring and flipping,  efforts which I feel are well worth it.  I’m actually learning to really enjoy the simple acts of chopping an onion or bell pepper, stirring a yogurt sauce or keeping a close eye to make sure my mushrooms are perfectly browned before flipping them. I’m learning to take my time, even hours, knowing I am creating a delicious dish.   I know for most people, this may be a dish to try on the weekend when you have more time.  But do try it, it’s irresistible.
 
 

Mushroom Tikka Masala Recipe 

from Veggie Belly

 
 
Sala from Veggie Belly wrote the original recipe for a guest post on Rasa Malaysia.  I have added three adaptations of my own.  One from the Good Eats episode “The Fungal Gourmet” where I separately sautéed the mushrooms in ghee and added them to the sauce. I also separately sautéed the bell peppers in olive oil because Hubby prefers fried bell peppers as they don’t get slimy. The last change I made was using my favorite yogurt based sauce technique from my chole recipe.
 
 
Serves 4
Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
 
Equipment
3 sauté pans (any cooking pans will do, but sauté pans are the most efficient)
 
Indian-specific Ingredients
Kasoori Methi - Dried fenugreek leaves which have a characteristically bitter taste and pungent smell. Kasoori methi is widely used in India and is usually sprinkled over meats and vegetable sauces to round out the spices. It is reported to be a healing aid for Arthritis pain.  It has a similar taste to celery and fennel but with a stronger flavor.
  • A possible substitute if you do not have access to kasoori methi is to use dried celery leaves with a pinch of ground fennel.   You can leave this ingredient out of the dish if you don't have access to it or to a good substitute, however it adds a great depth of flavor and I highly recommend you get a box if it's within your reach.
 
 
For the sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 large onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
6 medium sized ripe tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup - 1 cup  whole Greek yogurt or strained yogurt (amount based on personal preference) * I prefer Mountain High Whole Plain Yogurt for its thickness
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or according to taste
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder (found at Indian grocery stores.  I've also seen it at Whole Foods)
4 tablespoons dry kasoori methi (found at Indian Stores)
4 tablespoons heavy cream, optional
 
For the vegetables
16 oz fresh white button mushrooms (about 25 mushrooms, or two packages)
Ghee (clarified butter) for sautéing (though clarified butter gives the best flavor, you can substitute it with any cooking oil that can take high heat; coconut oil or vegetable oil are good substitutes)
2 tablespoons oil (for frying bell peppers)
1 large green bell pepper, cubed
1 large red bell pepper, cubed
Chopped cilantro, to taste
 
 

Method

tip: to cut down the cooking time, work on prepping and cooking the vegetables while waiting for each stage of the sauce to finish.
 
For the sauce:
Heat oil in a large saute pan. When the oil ripples on the surface add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to sizzle add the onions and the salt. Cook on medium heat till onions turn brown. Then add the garlic and ginger paste and stir for about a minute or two until the smell of the raw paste disappears. Pour in the tomato puree and let it cook till the oil separates from the tomato sauce and the tomato sauce thickens a bit, about 5-8 minutes.
 
Meanwhile mix the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili powders into the yogurt. Add the yogurt to the saucepan once the tomatoes are done and stir consistently for 3 minutes.

TIP: Add the yogurt to the pan in small quantities, a few spoonfuls at a time.  Fully incorporate each added batch of yogurt before adding the next batch.  If you add all the yogurt at once, it tends to curddle.   Working in small batches helps prevent the yogurt from curdling.

 
For the vegetables:
While the sauce is cooking, work on the mushrooms. Some button mushrooms come in pre-washed packages but you can wipe the mushrooms clean with a paper towel or brush them off if you wish. You can also rinse them in a colander or submerged in water in the sink if you can plug your drain. Slice the mushrooms into quarters or thirds.  Thinner sliced mushrooms will make for a successful sauté.
 
 
Put another sauté pan on medium high heat and ladle on a tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) or your preferred oil.  Keep the oil pretty hot but not to the smoking point. Drop in a handful of mushrooms. Make sure all the mushrooms are touching the hot pan so be careful not to overcrowd the pan.  The mushrooms will sizzle and brown on one side, this will take 2-3 minutes.  Once they are golden brown and have a bit of a crust on them from the sauté, flip each and every mushroom piece over and sauté the other side.  Once that handful of mushrooms are beautifully golden and crusty, move them out to the sides of the pan where the heat is less and add another handful. You can also just spoon out the finished mushrooms and drop them into the sauce but only if your sauce is finished. Continue until all the mushrooms are cooked.

Mushroom cooking tips

courtesy of Good Eats "The Fungal Gourmet"

1. Cut the mushrooms so they are all the same size.  I think it is easier to saute when mushrooms are cut thin and uniformly.

2. Use a heavy pan. A heavy pan heats evenly and stays hot.  A sauté pan will provide the widest cooking surface since it is wide and has straight sides.

3. Use high heat.

4. Choose the right fat, one that can take heat and adds great flavor.  You want a high "smoke point", which means the fat can get pretty hot before starting to smoke (once it reaches the smoking point, it goes rancid quickly and is no longer ideal for cooking).  If you can get a fat that can maintain high heat you can get a better browning in your saute.   You also want a fat which adds great flavor because mushrooms act like sponges.   You could use olive oil; coconut oil has a higher smoke point but the best is clarified butter  (ghee).  Butter adds rich flavor and because it's clarified it has a higher smoke point.

Successful sauteing means not over crowding the pan. Every mushroom needs to have full contact with the pan.  The high heat will cause water that seeps out of the mushrooms to evaporate immediately (causing the sizzling sound of the saute).  With the moisture disappearing immediately, they food will quickly brown and build a crust which seals in flavor.   Keep it hot and let there be plenty of room.
 
 
 

While your mushrooms are sautéing, start preparing the bell peppers.  Heat another sauté pan on medium-high heat. Once it is hot (but not smoking), add the olive oil (you can substitute it with another high-heat cooking oil if you wish). Dice the bell peppers into bite-sized cubes and add them to the oil.  Stir the bell peppers occasionally until they fry evenly (about 8-10 minutes).

 
 

The Finishing Touches:
Once all your mushrooms and bell peppers are finished, add them to your sauce.  Crumble and crinkle the kasoori methi over the sauce by placing it in the palm of your hand and then rolling and crushing the leaves between your palms, letting the powdered leaves fall into the sauce. Cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle on the garam masala and mix well, let it cook for a minute.  Be sure to taste test and adjust the spices if necessary. Turn off heat and stir in heavy cream if you choose to use it. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

 
 

Serving Suggestions
:


Serve with a side of chapatis, naan or rice. Accompany with cuts of cucumber slices drizzled with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt for a cooling effect that cleans the palate.

 
 

If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes.  Write me a comment or send me an email here.


A Curry of a Life has been featured on BlogHer and Foodista, and is regularly featured in the Santa Cruz Media Lab and Santa Cruz Sentinel. Check out ACL’s Facebook page, or send comments and questions to acurryofalife@gmail.com.

Mushroom Tikka Masala Recipe from Veggie Belly

Serves 4
Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Sala from Veggie Belly wrote the original recipe for a guest post on Rasa Malaysia.  I have added three adaptations of my own.  One from the Good Eats episode “The Fungal Gourmet” where I separately sautéed the mushrooms in gee and added them to the sauce. I also separately sautéed the bell peppers in olive oil because Hubby prefers fried bell peppers as they don’t get slimy. And the last change I made was using my favorite yogurt based sauce technique from my chole recipe.
 
 
Equipment
3 sauté pans (any cooking pans will do, but sauté pans are the most efficient)

For the sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 large onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
6 medium sized ripe tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup - 1 cup  whole Greek yogurt or strained yogurt (amount based on personal preference)
* I prefer Mountain High Whole Plain Yogurt for its thickness
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or according to taste
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder (found at Indian grocery stores.  I've also seen it at Whole Foods)
4 tablespoons dry kasoori methi (found at Indian Store)
4 tablespoons heavy cream, optional
For the vegetables
16 oz fresh white button mushrooms (about 25 mushrooms, or two packages)
Ghee (clarified butter) for sautéing (although clarified butter gives the best flavor, you can substitute it with any cooking oil that can take high heat; coconut oil or vegetable oil are good substitutes)
1 large green bell pepper, cubed
1 large red bell pepper, cubed
2 tablespoon oil
Chopped cilantro, to taste

Method

For the sauce:
Heat oil in a large saute pan. When the oil ripples on the surface add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to sizzle add the onions and the salt. Cook on medium heat till onions turn brown. Then add the garlic and ginger paste and stir for about a minute or two until the smell of the raw paste disappears. Pour in the tomato puree and let it cook till the oil separates from the tomato sauce and the tomato sauce thickens a bit, about 5-8 minutes.  Meanwhile mix the coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili powders into the yogurt. Add the yogurt to the saucepan once the tomatoes are done and stir consistently for 3 minutes.

For the vegetables:
While the sauce is cooking, work on the mushrooms. Some button mushrooms come in pre-washed packages but you can wipe the mushrooms clean with a paper towel or brush them off if you wish. You can also rinse them in a colander or submerged in water in the sink if you can plug your drain. Slice the mushrooms into thirds or in half, depending on your preference.
Put another sauté pan on medium high heat and ladle on a tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) or your preferred sautéing oil.  Keep the oil pretty hot but not to the smoking point. Drop in a handful of mushrooms. Make sure all the mushrooms are touching the hot pan so be careful not to overcrowd the pan.  The mushrooms will sizzle and brown on one side, this will take 2-3 minutes.  Once they are golden brown and have a bit of a crust on them from the sauté, flip each and every mushroom piece over and sauté the other side.  Once that handful of mushrooms are beautifully golden and crusty, move them out to the sides of the pan where the heat is less and add another handful. You can also just spoon out the finished mushrooms and drop them into the sauce but only if your sauce is finished. Continue until all the mushrooms are cooked.
While your mushrooms are sautéing, start preparing the bell peppers.  Heat another sauté pan on medium-high heat. Once it is hot (but not smoking), add the olive oil (you can substitute it with another high-heat cooking oil if you wish). Dice the bell peppers into bite-sized cubes and add them to the oil.  Stir the bell peppers occasionally until they fry evenly (about 8-10 minutes).

The Finishing Touches:
Once all your mushrooms and bell peppers are finished, add them to your sauce.  Crumble and crinkle the kasoori methi over the sauce by placing it in the palm of your hand and then rolling and crushing the leaves between your palms, letting the powdered leaves fall into the sauce. Cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle on the garam masala and mix well, let it cook for a minute.  Be sure to taste test and adjust the spices if necessary. Turn off heat and stir in heavy cream if you choose to use it. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with a side of chapatis, naan or rice. Accompany with cuts of cucumber slices drizzled with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt for cooling effect that cleans the palate.
If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes.  Write me a comment or send me an email here.

Easy Paneer Tikka Masala (Dry / Gravy)

By Meghana Komarla

Paneer marinated in a variety of spices.

Usually tikka's are done in Tandoori however my version is done on stove top. I promise you guys, this recipe makes you feel so proud and happy. This is so healthy your gonna enjoy every bite of it ;)
Here this recipe has two versions, one you can serve it as an appetizer and second gravy. So you can decide how you want it.

Serves 4
Category - Lunch / Dinner

Paneer - 400g (1/2 inch thick cubes)
Oil - 1tsp + 5tsp
Butter – 5tbsp
Onion - 1 (Finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 (Finely chopped)
Green Pepper / Capsicum - 25g (Finely chopped) Totally optional
Coriander / Cilantro - 2tsp (Finely chopped)

Ground the following to paste -
Plain Yogurt - 4tbsp
Lime juice / Amchoor(Dry mango powder) - 1/2 to 3/4tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/4tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Garam Masala Powder - 1tsp
Tandoori Powder - 4tsp (Available in Indian Stores)
Garlic - 6 pods
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Pepper Corn - 1
Green chilli - 1
Salt to taste

For this recipe you will also need Skewers. Make sure these skewers are comfortable to work on stove top.

Keep aside about 2tbsp of the paste separately, we will use this for the gravy.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the Paneer pieces along with the ground paste. Keep the covered bowl in the refrigerator for 20 to 30mins.

Drizzle 1tsp oil over the Paneer mixture just before you cook. Put the Paneer onto the skewer and cook on the stove top, cook all the sides evenly. Let the flame be on high.

You can stop at this point and can serve as an appetizer.  Serve with Tikka Chutney.
For the gravy -
In a wok heat the oil and butter, add the onions, saute till transparent. Then add the green peppers saute for 2 mins next add the tomatoes and saute for 5mins. Next add the ground paste which was set aside earlier and saute till the mixture leaves oil.

Now add water as per your required consistency, bring to boil and add the Tikkas. Lastly garnish with cilantro and add lime juice if necessary.

Enjoy with fresh Bread of your choice.

Visit my Blog for more easy recipes - Meghus Taste Buds
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Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/easy-paneer-tikka-masala-dry-gravy

Chilli Chunky Manchurian (Vegan)

By : Meghana Komarla

Ingredients:

  • Soy Chunks - 150g (Here I have used mini soy chunks)
  • Onions - 1 Medium (thinly sliced)
  • Capsicum / Green pepper - 1 Medium (thinly sliced)
  • Green Chillies - 10Nos. (Slit into half, lengthwise) Adjust according to your preference
  • Salt to taste
  • Soy sauce – 2tsp
  • Garlic - 6pods (Finely chopped)
  • Ginger - 1/2 Inch (Juliens)
  • Vinegar - 1 1/2 to 2tsp
  • Tomato Ketchup - 1tsp (Add more if kids are eating)
  • coriander / cilantro - 3tbsp (finely chopped)

Directions:

In a microwave proof cup add the chunks, 2 pinches of salt and water (enough to cover the chunks). Cook for 4 to 5 mins or till the chunks are tender. Remove once they are done and run the chunks under cold water for 2 mins. Next squeeze the water from the chunks and keep aside.

Now time to start the tempering. Heat oil in a wok, add the garlic & saute for 1 min. Add the onions, green chillies and ginger & saute for 3 to 4 mins. Then add the peppers saute further for 2 mins. Next add the soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar and the soy chunks. Saute for 3 to 4 mins. Lastly add the salt and cilantro.

Note : If you like super spicy then add green chilli sauce.
You could add spring onions too.

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Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/chilli-chunky-manchurian-vegan

Instant Indian Salad

By : Vru

Serving: 2-3 persons
Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes - 2 nos. finely chopped
  • Onion - 1 big, finely chopped
  • Cucumber – 1Medium size grated
  • Carrot- ½ Well grated (Optional)
  • Beetroot – ½ grated (optional)
  • Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp. finely chopped
  • Green chillies - 2 nos. - lengthwise split into halves
  • Peanut Powder - 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – ½  tsp (optional)
  • Salt- To taste
  • Curd – 3-4 Tbsp.

*To make peanut powder:

Take one bowl of peanuts and roast them on a pan for around 10 minutes. Keep on stirring.Let it cool down  and then blend it into blender for 3-5 seconds. We don’t want smooth texture of powder.

*Method:

In a bowl, mix tomatoes, onions, grated cucumber, chillies and curd. Add sugar and peanut powder. Mix it well. On the last moment before serving add salt to taste. Garnish with coriander.

Cucumber releases water after adding salt hence, salt to add on last moment.

It goes well with Paratha, Rice, Rozeto, or just like that.

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/instant-indian-salad

Tomato Coconut Fried Rice

By : Meghana Komarla

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Tomato - 4 Medium (finely chopped)
Onion - 2 (thinly sliced or finely chopped)
Boiled Fresh / frozen geen peas - 3/4Cup
Boiled Beans - 50g (Cut to half inch lengthwise) Optional
Boiled Carrot - 1 (Diced)
Cloves – 8
Elachi / green cardamom – 3
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Oil - 8tsp(Adjust if using butter)
Basmati Rice - 3 Cups
Coconut Milk - 2 Cups
Water - 4 Cups
Salt to taste

Ground the following to a coarse paste -
Green chillies - 15 to 18
Red chillies - 15 (Remove the seeds, soak in hot water for 30mins)
Fresh Ginger & Garlic - 25g each

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Rinse the Rice several times in cold water, later soak the rice in water for one hour.

In a large pot, add the soaked drained rice, coconut milk, water, 1tsp oil and salt to taste. Cover the pot and let the flame be on high for 5mins. Next simmer the flame, and let it cook for 10mins. After 10mins, open the lid and check if the grains are cooked, if uncooked continue cooking till done. Cover the pot and keep aside till the tempering is ready.

In a big wok start the tempering, heat the oil add Cloves, Elachi & Cinnamon saute for a min. Next add the onions saute till light golden brown. Now add the ground paste saute till raw smell leaves. Next add the tomatoes and saute till soft. Later add the beans, carrot, green peas, saute for 2mins. Next add the cooked rice slowly and combine. Mix throughly and the Tomato Coconut Fried rice is ready.

This rice is served with a gravy, Its the base of green peas masala. Please follow the link below. You can prepare the original green peas recipe or prepare only the base or for the same recipe, add in your own combination of veggies.

Green Peas Masala -
http://meghustastebuds.blogspot.com/2011/01/green-peas.html

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/tomato-coconut-fried-rice

Falafel Balls

Falafel Balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • oil for frying (olive oil, canola or vegetable)

Preparation:

  • Combine chickpeas, garlic, onion, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper (to taste) in medium bowl. Add flour and combine well.
  • Mash chickpeas, making sure to mix ingredients together. You can also combine ingredients in a food processor. You want the result to be a thick paste.
  • Form the mixture into small balls, about the size of a ping pong ball. Slightly flatten.
  • Fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees until golden brown (2-5 minutes).

Source Here!

Tofu Quiche ~ Vegan and Gluten Free

TofuQuiche

By : Debkay25@msn.com

I made some awesome tofu quiché in muffin cups yesterday.  I created a variation of my friend Felicia's recipe.  She brought some to the last potluck and I always have some tofu and fresh veggies around. Thought I'd give it a try this weekend. This is an easy meal and can be made with just about any vegetables.  She did find out while creating her recipe that the vegetables that contain the most moisture, like zucchini, should be dried a little or sauteéd first. I sliced a yellow zucchini very thin and weighted the slices between paper towels for about 30 minutes.  I had some fresh asparagus spears and just chopped them in about 1/2 inch sections. I also chopped some green onions to add to the vegetable mixture.  I didn't use mushrooms this time, but that's OK, my honey doesn't care for them much.  I also didn't have soft tofu, but I did have some vegan cream cheese in the fridge, which is made with tofu.  It worked great.  The little quiches came out firm, but fluffy. For my gluten intolerant friends, it's not only vegan, it's also gluten free.

Tofu Quiché
by Felicia Divina

  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 c chopped vegetables, spinach works best for me but anything low moisture, if you use zucchini saute first to get moisture out or dry it with paper towels. (I used asparagus, green onions, & sliced yellow zucchini.)
  • 1 1/2 c chopped mushroom, sauteed (add the rosemary here if you are using dried)
  • tsp chives
  • tsp rosemary
  • 1 box firm tofu
  • 1/2 c plain tofu
  • 3 or 4 TB nutritional yeast
  • 2 TB cornstarch  (I omitted the cornstarch)
  • 2 tsp tahini (heaping, I love the stuff)
  • 1 tsp tamari (Tamari is my addition to her recipe)
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch turmeric (I used big pinch turmeric, about a teaspoon)

I also added a sprinkle of cayenne to the top of each and a little Daiya cheddar and mozzarella style vegan cheese.

  1. Spray muffin tin, spoon veggies into tins
  2. Blend everything but the veggies in food processor or blender until smooth.
  3. Pour over the veggies. Bake at 350º for about 25 to 30 minutes, they will be firm and golden brown.

TofuQuicheBefore

WholeQuiche

Source : http://www.vegfriend.com/profiles/blogs/tofu-quiche-vegan-and-gluten-free

Turkish Nut Pastries in Syrup (Baklava)

Turkish Nut Pastries in Syrup (Baklava)

Baklava is probably one of the best known of all Middle Eastern sweets. In this delightful version of Turkish origin, sheets of buttered wafer-thin filo pastry are layered with nuts and baked; then they're soaked in a lemon and orange-blossom flavoured sugar and honey syrup.

Preparation & cooking time: about 1 hour 5 minutes
Baklava soaking time: overnight, or at least 2 hours
Makes: about 18 large pieces pastries

Ingredients:

  • 450g (1 pound) filo pastry (about 30 sheets)
  • 250g (9 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 250g (9 ounces) finely chopped walnuts (or almonds, pistachios, or a combination)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ cup sugar syrup
    1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange-blossom water (available at Middle Eastern grocers)
  • Butter a 28cm x 18cm (11-inch x 7-inch) tin. If necessary, cut the pastry the size of the tin.

Direction:

  1. Place one sheet of pastry on the bottom of the tin and butter it with a pastry brush. Repeat for half the pastry (about 15 sheets).
  2. Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and sugar.
  3. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top layer of buttered filo pastry. Continue layering the remaining pastry on top of the nut mixture, again brushing each layer of pastry with melted butter. After the final layer of pastry is placed on top, brush it with butter.
  4. Carefully cut the tray of pastry into diagonal diamond shapes with a sharp knife, cutting directly to the base.
  5. Bake in a moderate oven 180°C/355°F for about 45 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden.
  6. Combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a pan, stir over low heat to dissolve the sugar, and then boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the honey, stir to dissolve, and add the orange-blossom water.
  7. Pour the hot syrup over the cooked baklava. Let set for at least 2 hours, or for best results leave overnight for the syrup to be fully absorbed.

Sweet and Sour Seitan

Vegetarian Recipes : Sweet and Sour Seitan

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 pound chicken style seitan
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks with juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken style seitan, and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir until tender, but still crisp.
  2. Stir in the pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir until thickened. Mix in the pineapple chunks just before serving.

Potato Salad with Dill & Mustard Dressing

Vegetarian Recipes : Potato Salad with Dill & Mustard Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1-2kg of red waxy potatoes, cut into bite size pieces

Dressing:

  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tblsp seeded mustard
  • 2 tblsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tblsp dill, chopped

Directions:

Place potatoes in a large saucepan with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for approx 20 mins or until tender. Drain.

Whisk together salad ingredients and pour over warm potatoes. Season with salt & pepper. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Vegan Stuffed Peppers

image

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbls. olive oil
  • 2 large bell peppers (I used one red, one green) \
  • ½ of a 1 lb. tube of organic polenta (about 1 ½ cups) – diced into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (I used white button)
  • 1 1/2 tbls. chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp. chili powder (more if you prefer as you taste)
  • 3 tbls tomato paste
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • I carton of veggie stock (you will use 2-3 cups – Kitchen Basics is my preferred brand)
  • 1/2 cup vegan cheese (I used a soy based variety)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Remove the top 1/2 inch of the peppers and clean, inside and out and set aside to dry. Cut the usable pepper away from the stems on the “tops” and dice.
  3. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium/high and add the onions. Cook for 5-6 mins or until softened.
  4. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for another 3-5 mins or until the mushrooms begin to reduce.
  5. Add the chopped peppers and cook for another 3-4 mins or until they are softened.
  6. Add the tomato paste, chili powder and about ½ a cup of veggie stock. Stir until well combined.
  7. Add the polenta and combine with the veggies. You may need to “mush” down the pieces as they cook to combine well to make the stuffing.
  8. Add broth as needed to keep the consistency similar to a wet paste - be careful not to burn.
  9. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  10. Divide the stuffing evenly between the two peppers – filling almost to the top. Finish filling by covering the stuffing with spoonfuls of the diced tomatoes.
  11. Add the remaining tomatoes to the bottom of the pan and add about 1 cup of veggie stock.
  12. Cook, covered, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (I used a small Le Creuset for this – but if you don’t have a pot with a lid that can go in the oven, cover well with foil). At 30 mins, check to be sure the peppers have cooked and remove from the oven. Be careful not to overcook them - they can turn to mush and then are hard to serve. Turn on the broiler.
  13. Top each pepper with ½ of the cheese and return to the oven and broil for 3-5 mins or until the cheese has melted.
  14. Serve warm with a fresh green salad.
  15. These peppers are very large servings. I can make 4 meals for one or 2 meals for 2 out of this recipe if served with a salad.

Sweet Potato Soup

Vegetarian Recipes: Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3+ Cups (575 g) Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk (not the low fat stuff!)
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Stock or Water
  • 1 Vegetable Bullion Cube
  • 1 tsp Celery Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom (optional)
  • 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil

Directions:

In a large heavy bottomed stock pot or cast-iron dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add sweet potatoes and caramelize the chunks on all sides over medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan with the vegetable stock or water, scraping the bits from the bottom, then add the coconut milk and bullion cube. Simmer covered until potatoes are soft and can be mushed with a spoon, about 20 minutes.

Transfer soup to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Please be careful during this step! If you’re not positive your machine can fit all the soup in one go, blend it in batches. No one wants boiling soup exploding all over them! Unfortunately I speak from experience here.

When the soup is blended, transfer back into your pot and add the spices, vinegar and syrup. Simmer for 5 minutes more and serve.

Garnish with maple syrup and fresh cracked pepper. It would also be great with a little cranberry sauce!

Source: http://veganyumyum.com/2006/12/stewart-my-sweet-potato-soup/

Veggie Root Stew

Vegetarian Recipes: Veggie Root Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbls. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 3 tbls. chopped garlic
  • 2 ½ tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 ½ cups diced, peeled sweet potato
  • 1 ½ cups diced, peeled white potato (I prefer Yukon gold)
  • 2 ½ cups diced rutabaga (peeled)
  • 2 cups diced white turnip (peeled) – about one medium turnip
  • 3/4 cup diced parsnips (peeled) – about one medium - large parsnip
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 4 -5 cups veggie stock
  • ¼ cup of ½ and ½ or whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste (White pepper is a good choice to mix with black if you have on hand)

To Make:

  • Prepare all the veggies in advance before beginning – peel, dice, measure, etc.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium/high and cook the onion 5 mins or until tender.
  • Add in the garlic and rosemary and stir, cooking for another minute.
  • Add the potato, rutabaga, turnip and parsnips.
  • Stir to combine with the onion, garlic and rosemary.
  • Add a large pinch of sugar (this helps the root veggies taste the best!).
  • Add the stock and bring to a boil (usually about 4 cups or a carton - be sure to just cover the veggies).
  • Simmer, covered (with lid to side a bit to allow steam out to prevent boiling over) for 45 mins to an hour or until veggies are tender (rutabaga always takes the longest, so be sure to check it).
  • Take 2-3 cups and place in a blender – removing center piece (to allow steam to escape) and cover with a clean towel. Blend and return to pan (alternatively, I used an immersion blender to do this). You may want to add more stock after doing this to adapt the consistency to your liking.
  • Add in ½ and ½ and warm through (I left this out when preparing this time – dairy is to be omitted during the veggie cleanse I am doing – it is MUCH better with the ½ and ½ - so add it or a vegan substitute for best results). It is still very tasty without it though!
  • Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a drizzle of good olive oil, fresh rosemary spring and toasted bread.

Adapted from a “Cooking Light” recipe.

Source: Vegetarian Recipe Swap Page