Category Archives: Lunch

Station Wale Aloo – Simple Potato curry

What is that title you may say 🙂

Let me explain by a trip down memory lane…Throughout childhood,  my family embarked on the winter trip from the icy cold winter in Srinagar, Kashmir to the weirdly uncomfortable winter in Lucknow, UP to bask in the sunshine of my grandparents.

Once winter descended in Kashmir and school wrapped up for winter vacation, it became bitterly cold, electricity was a novelty for the most part and activity was limited to playing in the snow or running around the house making up games. We would then prepare to make the trek to spend the winter with our grandparents and extended family in Lucknow.

Lucknow houses were big and open which reluctantly welcomed a moderate winter but full of warmth and laughter from the cousins, uncles and aunts that waited anxiously for our arrival each year.

My siblings and I absolutely loved the adventurous trip… so I am getting to my story that ties to the recipe….The yearly adventure first involved getting to the city of Jammu from Srinagar which could be a long bus or car ride ( airplane in later years). Then the famous “express” train which would take 2 days from Jammu to Lucknow. A day in life in trains in India  was sweet, surreal, seductive, scary, inspiring, dismal, reflective and never ending all at the same time.  To this date if I close my eyes, I can feel the wind (and the dust) through the grilled train windows.

The train ceremoniously stopped at numerous railway stations during this journey at strange hours of the night and day and I would eagerly await the one that called out the potato curry and puris (fried bread).

That gets me to the point of Station Wale Aloo. The simple potato curry being served for a couple of pennies through the grilled train windows at indistinct stations is a memory that is deep rooted.

Food memories reside deep within your soul and can be recreated through flashbacks and visuals and the sense of smell and taste through time and experiences. I have not been on a train in India for about 25 years  but this is my version in my American kitchen weaved together from magical childhood memories

It is essentially potatoes in curry with no onions or garlic. You can omit the oil as well if you like.

A simple vegan dish that will nourish your soul.

Station Wale Aloo

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

 

  • 4 -5 Boiled potatoes
  • 2 tomatoes – pureed or 1/2 canned tomato pureed
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 tsp methi ( Fenugreek) seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp fennel
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 inch grated ginger
  • 5-10 curry leaves ( optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Hing ( Asafetida)
  • Oil if using ( 1 tbsp)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


Directions

 

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender. You can remove the skin if thick or leave it on depending on the potato. . I use my hands to break the potatoes into chunks ( 1 inch or so) and set aside. You can chop if you like.
  2. Soak the methi ( Fenugreek) seeds in warm water for about 20 mins and grind.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. If not using oil you can add the spices directly to the pan and monitor that they do not burn.
  4. Add cumin, Hing, curry leaves and green chilies and sauté for a minute
  5. Add the ground methi seeds and fry for a few second and then the pureed tomatoes and ginger.
  6. Cook everything for 5 minutes and add the rest of the spices.
  7. Add vegetable broth and then the potatoes.
  8. Cook everything until it gets to a thick gravy consistency
  9. Garnish with lemon juice and cilantro.
  10. I have served with this with sprouted wheat and lentil roti…but the choice of puris(fried bread) or rice would be great too.

Dal chilla – savory lentil crepes

Its hot and humid but soaking in the warmth while browsing cookbooks is how I tend to enjoy my weekend afternoon. I was looking a vegan lunch idea and stumbled upon so many wonderful “Chilla” recipes, These crepes called “Chilla” or “Cheela” are so simple, wholesome and savory that I couldn’t wait to experiment with a version of my own.

I have used 3 types of lentils here…Urad, Masoor and Chana and some rice flour. You could use soaked rice as well but I had the rice flour in my pantry so went with it.

The lentils have been washed and soaked for a few hours. They were then ground into a paste along with the rice flour and then I let the batter ferment overnight. I just put it in my cool  oven.  It was so cool to see it bubble and rising by the morning.

Once the batter is fermented, add the herbs and spices and use water to bring out the consistency of pancake batter.

Cooked on both sides to a warm golden brown and served simply with coconut yoghurt raita and pickles was just perfect.

The recipe measurements below are just setting some guardrails but  this is not an exact science. Feel free to experiment and taste along the way!

Chilla - Lentil Crepes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Wholesome Savory Treat

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Urad Dal/Lentil
  • 1/2 cup Masoor Dal/Lentil
  • 1/2 cup Chana Dal/Lentil
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • Chopped cilantro
  • 1 inch Finely chopped ginger
  • 3 -4 Finely chopped red or green onions
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil

Directions

 

  • Wash the lentils thoroughly and soak for 4 hours

 

  • Grind the lentils in a food processor, add the rice flour and blend until a batter like consistency
  • Let ferment in a cool oven overnight
  • The batter will rise a little which will tell you that it has some fermentation. Add the herbs, veggies and spices and use some water to bring it to a pancake consistency
  • Heat the griddle or cast iron pan until quite hot. Keep the heat to medium and pour in the batter. Use a teaspoon to oil the edges and the middle. Once bubbles start to form and the edges are brown, flip the pancake/crepe and cook the other side for a couple of minutes.
  • The crepes should be soft and warm brown.
  • Serve hot and deliciously!

Sharing at at Angie’s Fiesta Friday # 283. Thanks to the co-hosts  Antonia @ Zoale and  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

Farro, Chickpeas and veggie bowl

Beautiful and vibrant spring is here and its time to embrace all the positive energy it brings with it.  Spring is the time for rejuvenating your mind, body and soul. Morning walks under blossoms and lush green trees, farmers markets, planting flowers and seeds, and of course cooking nourishing balanced food. The Yin and the Yang work together to balance your spirit.

This is a macrobiotic vegan bowl that will leave you full and happy. If you prep everything it will supply lunches for the week.

So what does it have?

  • Farro
  • Chickpeas cooked in spices
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Edamame
  • Fermented Carrots and Cabbage
  • Cilantro and green onions

Farro

Farro is a beautiful ancient grain full of protein, fiber and iron. Buy organic and cook per instructions. I soak it for an hour and cook it in the rice cooker at brown rice setting

Chickpeas

Soak 2 cups chickpeas overnight and then cook in the pressure cooker until just soft.

Add coconut oil in  a pan. Add 1/2 tsp cumin and mustard seed and with whole red chilies. Add curry leaves if you have them and let them splutter. Add 1/2 tsp cayenne and 1/2 tsp turmeric and saute. Add the chickpeas and let them cook until the liquid is gone adding salt to taste. Add 1/2 garam masala and lemon juice to finish.

Roasted veggies

I used eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes and onions smothered with salt, pepper and avocado oil. Roast at 375 degree oven for 30 mins.

Edamame

Cook shelled edamame per instruction

I had fermented cabbage and carrot but you can use store bought fermented veggies.

Chop cilantro and green onion and use lemon juice to top the bowl off.

Assemble as it pleases you and enjoy this gorgeous bowl!

Sharing at Angies Fiesta Friday where Antonia @ Zoale.com is the cohost

Harissa crusted Cauliflower salad

It’s a vegetable overload weekend in our household. We had pea protein packed smoothie this morning and then ran a 5k in freezing temperatures. But the sun was out which gave energy to the mind and body. Riding the veggie theme for lunch I wanted to make something that continues to feed the body with energy.

So what I have here is a simple harissa roasted and charred cauliflower that is a sensory gift to the taste buds. The fact that it is plant based and has plenty of protein is something wonderful. The cauliflower is crusted with a mix of harissa paste, Labneh and Tahini dressing that amplifies the taste. The Avocados add the much needed fat and the citrus from the grapefruit balances it all.

Harissa roasted cauliflower

Cauliflower

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into thick steaks.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1 tablespoon labneh ( or greek yoghurt)
  • 1 tsp of the tahini dressing

Tahini Dressing

  • 2 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoon pomegranate vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • Pink or Sea Salt – to taste

Salad greens and Topping

  • Arugula and Baby spinach
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Grapefruit slices
  • Sliced Avocados

Putting it together:

  • Blend all the ingredients for the tahini dressing adjust for consistency and salt.
  • Mix the harissa with labneh and a teaspoon of the tahini dressing.
  • Smother the cauliflower steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  • Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 20 mins until slightly charred.
  • Dress the flowerets with the harissa dressing and put back in the oven for 5 mins. Remove and cool
  • Remove the grapefruit meat in slices being careful to remove the skin.
  • Slice the avocados
  • In a large bowl add the arugula and spinach and dress lightly with the tahini dressing
  • Plate the green, adding the grapefruit, avocado. Top with cauliflower and walnuts.
  • Drizzle some more dressing
    • Enjoy!

Sharing on Fiesta Friday where the cohost this week is Julianna @ Foodie on Board 

Cauliflower and Summer Pumpkin Curry

A fragrant summer curry with garden vegetables and coconut milk is perfect for this long weekend. Harvesting my tomatoes, peppers and these pretty heirloom summer pumpkins have helped me rejuvenate after long days of work.

IMG_1009The recipe for this glorious curry is fairly simple, just use fresh organic ingredients and they will transform the taste.

IMG_1006A little tip for the pumpkins: Use a fork to poke holes all around and put in the microwave for 3 minutes. Use a towel to hold and slice off the peels. Cut in half and scoop the seeds out. If your pumpkins have a soft cover then just peel them without the use of a microwave.

 

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Cauliflower and summer pumpkin curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a savory tomato coconut curry with cauliflower and pumpkin

Ingredients

  • 1 head of Cauliflower – cut in florets
  • 2 small pumpkins
  • 3 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 inch fresh ginger – grated
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-3 green chilies – chopped
  • A handful of curry leaves
  • 1 cup of organic coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp Asafetida or hing(optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Mustard oil ( or oil of your choice)

Directions

  1. Puree the tomatoes in a blender
  2. You can cut the cauliflower in florets
  3. Use a fork to poke holes all around and put in the microwave for 3 minutes. Use a towel to hold and slice off the peels. Cut in half and scoop the seeds out. Slice the pumpkin halves. If your pumpkins have a soft cover then just peel them without the use of a microwave.
  4. In a pan warm up another 3 tbsp of oil, add cumin, mustard and let then pop for a few seconds, add green chilies, curry leaves cloves, grated ginger, and asafetida, and
  5. Add pureed tomatoes and let the mixture cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add  turmeric, chilies powder  and let the mixture cook until the oil starts to separate from the tomatoes
  7. Add the coconut milk and mix well
  8. Add the vegetables and let them cook until the desired softness
  9. Top with lemon juice and fresh cilantro.

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Sharing at Fiesta Friday where co-hosts this week areAntonia @ Zoale.com and Lathi @ From Lathi’s Kitchen

 

Monji Haakh – Kohlrabi

Immersed in summer mountain vegetables is happiness. Kashmir is a place that gives me that.IMG_0064

Traveling through this tormented paradise brings out some bittersweet emotions. The consistent source of joy besides the rocking landscape is the produce that feeds the souls. The streets are of full of apples, peaches, and pears freshly picked from the nearby trees and accompanied by so many vegetables that you cannot stop filling up your bags to take home.

Kohlrabi is an important part of the Kashmiri diet and prepared with its leaves and served with a light gravy and eaten with rice. Monji Haakh is a simple dish and packs flavor and nutrition. .The key difference in taste I find comes from the use of Mustard oil. You can always substitute with regular vegetable oil. I used a pressure cooking but you don’t have to, it cooks just fine in a regular pot.

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Monji Haakh @foodforthesoul

 

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Monji Haakh @foodforthesoul

Monji Haakh: Kohlrabi made Kashmiri Style

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Kashmiri vegetarian delight

Credit: foodforthesoul00.com

Ingredients

  • Kohlrabi ( 4 large)
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 green chilies
  • Garlic cloves – 5
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 pinch asafetida
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  • Wash and peel the Kohlrabi and cut into slices. Remove the stems from the greens.
  • Chop 4-5 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, and  1 round plump tomato.
  • In a pan use a tablespoon of mustard oil and heat until sizzling.
  • Add garlic, 2 green chilies,  onion and 1 tsp of cumin seeds.
  • Fry for about 30 secs and add a pinch of hing ( asafetida)
  • Add the Kohlrabi pieces and fry for about 3 mins or so, add tomatoes,  cayenne, turmeric,  ground coriander,  ground ginger, and salt to taste.
  • Fry the spices for a couple of mins and then add the greens. Add baking soda and a cup of water. I use a pressure cooker to cook everything at this point for about 4-5 whistles. If using a regular pot, let it cook on medium heat until the vegetable is tender
  • Note: If using a pressure cooker, open the lid of the cooker immediately to retain green color of the greens.
  • Serve hot with rice and enjoy.

Sharing at Fiesta Friday where co-hosts this week areJhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens

 

Cauliflower Pizza with Asparagus, Kale and Mushrooms

Ok…. so this is not much of a recipe but more of the art of putting it all together…but I just had to post. Such an amazing crunch and taste that it leaves you craving for more. And it is healthy, nutritious and scrumptious. If Gluten bothers you, this is GF.

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My cauliflower pizza base is Cauliflower and Corn flour from Trader Joes or Moms Organic market. On my trip to MOMs, I brought back beautiful garlic, asparagus, fresh Kale, Jalapeño, and mushrooms.  I had some Parmesan and Halloumi in the fridge so putting this together was a breeze.

Note this is not a typical pizza smothering in tomato sauce and cheese. This one showcases the beautiful vegetables so adjust if you need more of the cheeses or add some tomato sauce.

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The Kale and chopped mushrooms need to be sautéed in chopped garlic with a pinch of salt and set aside.

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Slice or chop some Asparagus, Jalapeño, Roma tomato and set aside

Slice the cheeses.

Cook the crust according to instruction until it is firm and slightly crisp. The TJ version had me cook at 450 degrees and flip the crust to cook 12 mins on each side. That was perfect

Top the crust with veggies and cheese and put under a broiler for 3-4 mins.

Douse with some good avocado or olive oil and red chili flakes.

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Enjoy

Sharing at Fiesta Friday featuring Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Alex @ Turks Who Eat as co-hosts this week.