A COOKBOOK AND TWO RECIPES
THE INDIAN VEGAN KITCHEN: MORE THAN 150 QUICK AND HEALTHY HOMESTYLE RECIPES; by Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D. (www. www.cuisineofindia.com); 230 pages; A Perigee Book-The Penguin Group; $18.95.
So you aren’t a vegan? Hey, that’s alright. Neither are we. But you can still read and prepare some of the 150 recipes in the book by Iowa resident Madhu Gadia. In a chapter “Vegan Diet for Optimal Health,” the registered dietitian focuses on nutrients needed for a vegan diet: protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. She lists the top 10 Indian vegan superfoods: almonds, canola oil, cauliflower, dal, ginger, mango, spinach, tea, turmeric and whole flour.
The recipes are separated in following chapters: Snacks, Chaat, and Beverages; Breakfast, Light Meals, and Soups; Vegetables; Beans, Legumes, and Pulses (Dal); Rice and Other Grains; Flatbreads; Soy Products; Salads and Chutneys; Desserts.
Here are two:
Bean Burgers (Dal-Vada Burger)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Makes: 4 Servings Serving Size: 1 Sandwich
Sandwiches are an easy way to enjoy a meal without a plate. Although not traditional Indian food, sandwiches are enjoyed by everyone today. If you like veggie burgers made with beans, you’ll love these. This is my version of a bean burger that is easy to make and fun to eat.
1 can (16-ounces) Chickpeas
1/4 cup scallions with greens, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons green chilies, finely chopped, to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
4 tomato slices, garnish
4 onion slices, garnish
Cilantro chutney (optional)
Tomato ketchup (optional)
1. Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas. In a food processor grind the beans until smooth.
2. In a medium mixing bowl add ground beans, scallions, carrots, ginger, salt, green chilies, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, cilantro, and bread crumbs. Mix well.
3. Oil your palms and make 4 patties. Set aside.
4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil on medium high heat in a large skillet. Add patties and grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side until golden brown. (If needed, add a little more oil to help brown the patties.)
5. In the meantime lightly oil the buns and grill in a fry pan or a griddle until light brown.
6. Place a patty on the bottom half of bun, top with tomatoes, onions, cilantro chutney, and tomato ketchup, as desired.
Note: You can make the patties up to one day ahead and grill them when ready to eat. For a grilling party, fully prepare the patties and reheat on grill on aluminum foil.
Nutrition Information per serving: Calories: 311; Total Fat: 11 g (Saturated Fat: 1 g); Carbohydrate: 45 g; Protein 11 g, Fiber: 10 g, Sodium: 679 g
GF (Gluten Free)
Spinach and Tofu (Palak-Tofu)
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Makes: 8 servings Serving Size: ½ cup
Whether you’re a spinach enthusiast or not, this variation on the standard Indian restaurant dish known as Saag-Paneer is a must-try. Traditionally, it is made with paneer (homemade cheese) and cream, making it high in fat and calories. Extra-firm tofu is an excellent substitute for the paneer, as you will soon discover. For convenience, I always use frozen spinach for this recipe.
1 pound frozen chopped spinach, or fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup water, divided
1 1/2 cups extra-firm tofu (about 10 ounces)
2 tablespoons besan or cornmeal
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4–6 dried red chiles
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1. In a heavy skillet, add spinach, turmeric, salt, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Open lid and cool slightly.
2. While spinach mixture cools, cut tofu into 1-inch squares and lay them on a towel to remove excess water.
3. In a blender jar, add the cooled spinach mixture and coarsely grind.
4. Return the coarsely ground spinach to the skillet. In a separate bowl, combine besan with remaining 1/2 cup water. Stir besan mixture into the spinach. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat until spinach is simmering. (Caution: Before stirring, remove the skillet from the heat and carefully remove the lid. The spinach tends to splatter and can burn.) Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. A longer cooking time adds flavor to the spinach.
5. While spinach mixture cooks, prepare seasoning: In a medium fry pan, heat oil on medium-high heat, add cumin seeds and dried red chiles and cook for a few seconds, until seeds and chiles turn brown. Add onion and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes until light brown. Add ginger and garlic and fry for another one minute. Remove from heat, add the cayenne pepper, and cook for few seconds.
6. Remove spinach from the heat, add tofu pieces and the seasoning, and stir gently to avoid breaking the tofu. Cover with a lid and return to the stove. Continue to simmer for another 5 minutes. Leave covered until ready to serve.
7. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot with flatbread or rice.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 109; Total Fat: 7 g (Saturated Fat: 0.5 g); Carbohydrate: 6 g; Protein: 8 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 299 mg