I love, love, love Indian food. I could eat it everyday. And if not Indian, then Mexican. Mexican food is pretty awesome too. But back to Indian. I’ve been making my way through way too many dal recipes in an attempt to replicate the one at my favorite little takeout spot. I have not been successful on that front, but in the process have stumbled upon some amazing and wonderfully simplistic recipes. Roasted Masala Cauliflower is divine and doesn’t require more than 10 minutes to put together. So once I nail down my dal recipe, I’ll post it. Until then I have an Indian feast that will have you stuffed to the gills: Vegetable Pakoras (courtesy of the Trader Joe’s frozen section and totally vegan), Coconut Lentils with Potatoes and Peas, and Roasted Masala Cauliflower. Should we get cooking?
This whole production will come together in no time, but you will need to do a little multi-tasking. If you prefer rice with lentils and such, get that started straight away. Even if it’s done early and just sitting it will be fine. If you’re good with letting the cauliflower rest for a few while the pakoras bake, you can totally make this next part happen in a toaster oven. I’m a big fan of the toaster oven, unless it’s cold outside. If the temperature falls below 60 degrees, I like having the oven on to make the kitchen all toasty warm. Today it’s 75 degrees here, so toaster oven it is. Wow, I am rambling and we have food to cook! So preheat your oven (or toaster oven). Rinse you lentils and get them going. Once they’re cooking, switch back to cauliflower — clean, chop, toss and into the oven it goes. Are you dizzy yet? Well good, we’re almost done and I think you can take it from here. It’s always an effort making multiple dishes that all need to be ready at roughly the same time. You don’t have to turn it into Thanksgiving though. Multi-task, but take your time. Enjoy making. Enjoy eating.
And thanks to my assistant for dressing for the occasion. I can always rely on her to add a little flare to my projects. My husband asked her after all this, ‘“Is it weird your mom takes pictures of everything we eat??” No response, quiet contemplation. She knows no different. Remember a world when food photography was left to the likes of Martha Stewart??? Seems like a long time ago, like before the internet. Wait, what? Yeah okay. Here are the recipes.
Coconut Curry Lentils and Potatoes
40 minutes to prepare
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
- 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp. curry powder
- 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp. peanut oil
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
- Combine the lentils, coconut milk, vegetable broth and curry powder in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered. Stir occasionally and let cook for about 15 minutes.
- Add potatoes to the pan and cover completely. After about 10 minutes, stir in peanut oil and add more liquid if it’s getting dry.
- Add peas, cover and keep cooking until lentils and potatoes are very tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. If it gets too dry, add more liquid. It should be moist, but not soupy. Finish with lots of black pepper and cilantro.
Roasted Masala Cauliflower
45 minutes to prepare
If you’re looking for Masala spice blend, the Gingham Project has a variety you can order online and all the proceeds go to helping impoverished kiddos in India.
- 1 head cauliflower, cut in to 1 1/2 inch florets
- 1–2 tbsp. garam masala, depending on your taste
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together masala and olive oil. Toss with cauliflower in a large bowl to coat evenly. Turn onto baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Bake about 30 minutes or until tender and golden brown.