I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
Well, once again, that was FAST. I cannot believe it’s October already! The kids are back in school, it’s getting darker earlier and earlier every day. Oh, and it’s raining! Oh, how I do love the rain! These days I’m delighting in my cosy hoodies and looking forward now to one last special family trip to Hawaii after Christmas. We count ourselves extremely lucky to have friends to spend time with there, and as our kids get older, it becomes acutely real that each time we do this, it may be the last experience of its kind. It’s a really interesting time here in my family, as we transition from one phase to one that’s completely foreign – my eldest is teetering on the brink of adulthood. 18 years…I don’t know where the time went. At any rate, our trip is going to be amazing – and just a little ray of sunshine in our future to help us embrace the cold and damp weather that is now upon us. Life is good, really good – it is now just about doing the things that slow me down, and help me really stop and be able to smell the roses.
A few months back, Richa from Vegan Richa sent me a copy of her amazing cookbook – Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen – and ever since then, I’ve drooled non-stop over her amazing collection of original plant-based recipes. This summer was hot in Vancouver, too hot to cook, and so I said I’d wait to dig in until I could cook without completely over-heating the house. I’ve tried several of them now, and every time I’m delighted by spice concoctions that are delightfully new, as I (like the rest of my family) have never met a curry I didn’t like. And this is why this book is so special – full of traditional and non-traditional Indian dishes that are 100% plant-based. There is literally a little bit of everything here, and all of it is amazing!
Today I’m sharing two really straight-forward recipes that are both perfect for weeknight sustenance and will keep well in your fridge for great (even better!) leftovers. The lentils are quick and packed with yummy spices (and of course the usual fibre and protein!). And roasted radishes? A total win in my books. The spice mixture Richa uses is brilliant, and since making this I’ve dreamed up ways to use it on other veggies too – try it and I’m pretty sure you’ll be delighted too. I really admire Richa, who is one of my original blogging pals, and someone who has been a true pioneer in the vegan blogging world. Her story is beautiful, just like she is. To grab a copy of her innovative book – which happens to utilize many of my favourite grain and bean staples – buy it here on Amazon.
I particularly love this bit that I think nails how you will feel about this book and the delicious meals contained inside: There is a scientific reason that Indian food feels insanely delicious to many. The spices and flavours that don’t necessarily feel complementary are often used to give the final dish a complex flavour profile. It is radical and mesmerizing! Get your pantry ready, use the spices for everyday meals or host a dinner to remember.
Bon appetit friends! And congrats again Richa on your beautiful book and recipes! Thank you for sharing it with me 🙂 xo
3/4 cup brown lentils, washed and drained
2 cups water
2 to 3 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil 1/2 cup finely chopped red or white onion
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves or 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish 1 tablespoon vegan butter (optional)
Combine the lentils with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Partially cover and cook over medium heat until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, make the tempering. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
In a blender, combine the garlic, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek, paprika, nutmeg, black pepper, sriracha, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend to combine well. Add this paste to the onions in the skillet. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, and cook until the tomatoes are tender about 8 minutes. Mash the larger tomato pieces.
Add the tempering to the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Garnish with cilantro and vegan butter, if using, and serve hot.
Roasted Cauliflower and Radish with Mustard, Nigella, and Fennel Seeds:
4 cups cauliflower florets
15 to 18 small red radishes, sliced (2 to 3 cups) 1 tablespoon safflower or other neutral oil
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish
1 teaspoon lemon juice, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the cauliflower and sliced radish in a large bowl. Add the oil and rub lightly to coat. Pulse the fennel, mustard, nigella seeds, pepper flakes and salt to a coarse mixture in a spice grinder or blender. Add them to the vegetables and toss well. Spread the vegetables on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cauliflower is golden and tender to your preference. 4. Garnish liberally with cilantro and lemon juice before serving.