Vegan Mujadarra (Middle Eastern Rice with Brown Lentils)

I’ve been on a sweet/ dessert roll for the past few weeks and realised that I hadn’t posted any savoury recipes. This  Middle Eastern “Mujadarra/ Mujadara” is the perfect food for a quick Autumn week night. Fragrant brown Basmati rice enveloping spicy lentils flavoured with caramelised onions and cumin seeds are the perfect way to keep tummies filled! As we change seasons, my weekends are busy as, I to try to do a pantry + fridge + freezer stock take and use up whatever I find. This “Mujadarra” recipe, came by with my finding some cans of brown lentils and leftover cooked brown Basmati in the fridge. I had everything else in my pantry including the oil and spices, making this one of my quickest recipes, ready under 30 minutes. If using dried lentils, then they need to be cleaned, soaked, rinsed and cooked until al-dente before adding to this recipe. The rice also needs par-cooking before adding to the recipe, increasing the amount of water required along with the time.

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Vegan Mujadarra/ Mujadara

Gluten-free, Vegan and full of lentil goodness. A quick recipe ready under half an hour, when using cooked brown Basmati rice and canned lentils.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Brown Basmati Rice, cooked
  • 1 can Whole Brown Lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large Brown Onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Oil
  • 2 cups Warm Water
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds, roasted and powdered
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Greens, chopped (Optional for garnishing)
Instructions
  1. In a deep pot, add the oil and onions. Cook on slow heat until the onions start to caramelise.  Add a tablespoon of water if the onions start to stick to the bottom of the pan.

  2. Add the cumin seed powder and mix well.

  3. Mix in the lentils and add 1/2 a cup of water. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken.

  4. Toss in the cooked rice on top of the lentils and drizzle water down the side and cover. Cook until the water dries up.

  5. Serve hot garnished with chopped greens, if desired.

If you liked this recipe, please check out my Vegan Fatteh Hoummus recipe here.

Dry Sweet Potato Dum Aloo (Airfryer Recipe)

“Dum Aloo”, just the name evokes the tasty sensations of spicy deep fried baby potatoes floating about in a creamy tomato gravy, perfect to eat with rice or Roti. Now, coming back to reality, I wasn’t about to start deep frying anything, specially the baby potatoes I did not have! So, I took the gorgeous spice base and some air fried sweet potato chunks to make this delicious dry Dum Aloo dish. I used my favourite Garam Masala and mopped it up with simple flatbread.

Vegan Dum Aloo recipe
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Dry Sweet Potato Dum Aloo (Airfryer Recipe)

Airfried sweet potato chunks dunked in a delicious spicy gravy.

Vegan, Gluten-free, nut-free and Airfryer recipe.

Cuisine: Indian
Priya: Priya
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Sweet Potatoes, scrubbed & cubed
  • Non Stick Spray
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger - Garlic Paste
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Brown Onions, sliced thinly
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Coriander Leaves & Stalks, finely minced
Instructions
  1. Spray the sweet potato pieces and Airfry for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C.

  2. While the sweet potatoes cook, add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to a shallow pan and mix in the sliced onion.

  3. Cook on a low heat, until golden brown.

  4. In a deep pot, heat the remaining oil. Roast the garam masala until aromatic. Add the tomato paste and ginger - garlic paste and cook on a low heat until the raw smell goes off.

  5. Mix the water and Vinegar together and add to the pot. Cook on low heat until the gravy starts to bubble lightly.

  6. Toss in the Airfried sweet potatoes pieces and flavour with salt.

  7. Add in the onions and mix well.

  8. Take off the heat and garnish with chopped Coriander, if using.

Vegan Vegetable Frittata (Gluten, Oil & Soy Free)

Frittata is possibly the most popular breakfast menu item in most cafes. Summer holidays mean long road trips dotted by quaint cafes that have absolutely no vegan items (except deep-fried potato finger chips and/ or, a couple of lettuce leaves)! Most vegan frittatas tend to use tofu as a base, but my better half isn’t a massive tofu fan. The last time I tried making a vegetable frittata with a tofu base the cooking time was considerably longer and there was a distinct bean-y taste which the family thought was out-of-place. Using “Besan”, finely ground Gram flour as a base solves that concern! This is a quick recipe and is ready under an hour including 10 minutes of resting time before slicing. Oh, its also oil free because I completely forgot to add in any 😳

Vegan Vegetable Frittata

(Vegan, gluten free, oil free, nut free & soy free.)

INGREDIENTS –

  • Besan – 1 cup
  • Nutritional Yeast – 1/2 cup (packed)
  • Onion, diced – 1 medium
  • Garlic, minced – 2 tablespoons
  • Mixed Vegetables (finely diced) – 1 cup (I used sliced mushrooms, red bell pepper, broccoli and green peas).
  • Black Rock Salt – 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon
  • Red Chilli Flakes – 1/2 teaspoon, optional but recommended
  • Water – 1.5 cups
  • Non Stick Spray – a few spritzes
  • Tomato, sliced thinly – 1, for garnishing the top
  • Basil, Rosemary & Thyme, minced finely – 2 teaspoon for garnish

DIRECTIONS – 

  1. Spray a round 8″ springform cake pan with non stick spray and preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
  2. In a deep mixing bowl combine the besan, nutritional yeast, black salt, Chilli Flakes and water. Aim at a slightly thick batter.
  3. Fold in the diced onions, garlic and vegetables and mix well.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan.
  5. Set the tomato slices on top of the batter.
  6. Bake in a hot oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the sides look golden brown and have pulled away from the sides.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool for atleast 10 – 15 minutes before slicing into wedges to serve.

NOTES – 

The amount of water needed to make the batter varies depending on the Besan flour used.
Black salt is available commonly from Indian grocery stores and health food stores, and is actually pink in colour with black flecks!

 

 

 

Bombay Sweet Potatoes

My potato obsession carries over to sweet potatoes too! When I’m not eating them as finger chips or, roasted sweet potatoes (yummy!) this recipe makes an appearance. Bombay Potatoes are popular in most restaurants and also, easy to make as a quick weeknight meal. There are many, many variations of this evergreen dish using different spices and herbs. The gorgeous flavour of sweet potatoes really shines in this simple recipe. At different times I’ve left out the garlic or onion, because I didn’t have any to come up with a very tasty and fast meal 🥘! 

I’ve sprinkled a dash of my favorite Garam Masala on top. Sweet potatoes are said to be even healthier than the normal red potatoes I use! 

Tastes great in lunch boxes accompanied by a light salad and some rice or quinoa too!

Bombay Sweet Potatoes

INGREDIENTS – 

  • Sweet Potatoes, parboiled in their skins – 3 to 4 medium – Cubed (approximately 3 to 3.5 cups)
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Mustard Seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin Seeds – 2 teaspoons
  • Coriander Seeds, lightly crushed – 2 teaspoons
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Red Chili Powder – 1/2 teaspoon, adjust depending on level of desired heat
  • Onion, diced – 1 small
  • Garlic Cloves, minced – 2
  • Fresh Ginger Root, minced – 1 tablespoon
  • Tomato Paste – 2 tablespoons
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water – 1/3 cup
  • Fresh Coriander Leaves & Stalks, chopped finely – 1 tablespoon

DIRECTIONS – 

  1. Roughly peel and chop up the par-boiled sweet potatoes.
  2. Heat oil in a deep wok and swirl to coat the cooking surface.
  3. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop.
  4. Mix in the cumin seeds and roast on low heat until they sputter.
  5. Toss in the lightly crushed coriander seeds and turmeric. Mix well.
  6. Cook the garlic and ginger lightly until golden and aromatic.
  7. Mix the tomato paste and cook well until the raw smell goes off.
  8. Add the sweet potato pieces, salt and red chilli powder and mix everything.
  9. Mix in the water to make a smooth gravy and cook for 5 minutes on a slow to medium heat, until you see the mixture bubbling.
  10. Take off the heat and stir in the coriander.
    Serve warm.

NOTES – 

Vegan, gluten-free, nut free. Omit onions and garlic if need be.

Tastes great with flatbread or, plain Quinoa or, steamed rice.

Vegan Kashmiri Rogan Josh Curry & Paste (Gluten Free)

“Kashmiri Rogan Josh”, a name that brings to my memories pristine snow-covered mountains and valleys with breath-taking natural beauty as far as you can see. I haven’t been to Kashmir for several decades now and all my memories are limited to when I was a little girl visiting the absolutely gorgeous landscape. My mother however, did bring back this recipe and made it quite often on colder nights to warm us all up. Authentic Kashmiri Rogan Josh is made without onion or garlic and, more importantly with no tomatoes! The gorgeous red colour actually comes from a herb called Alkanet, widely grown across India and some parts of Europe. I couldn’t find any locally so have substituted with sweet red Paprika. In my recipe, the meat traditionally used has been replaced by cubed vegetables mainly, sweet potatoes and eggplant lightly cooked in the Airfryer.  With a gorgeous coconut yogurt and spices gravy, this mouth-watering dish is definitely a keeper! 

For the Curry Paste,
  • Green Cardamom Pods – 8
  • Black Cardamom Pods – 2
  • Cinnamon Bark – 2″ piece 
  • Cloves – 10
  • Indian Bay Leaves – 4
  • Fennel Seeds – 1 tablespoon
  • Dried Ginger Root – 1 tablespoon
  • Black Pepper Corn – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sweet Red Kashmiri Chillies, whole – 12 or, Sweet Paprika Flakes – 2 tablespoons
  • Garam Masala – 2 teaspoons. Click here for my recipe.
  • Lemon Juice – 2 to 3 tablespoons

Grind the dry spices to a fine powder and then mix in the lemon juice. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until ready to use.

 

Vegan Kashmiri Rogan Josh Curry

(Vegan, gluten free, onion and garlic free curry with sweet potatoes and eggplant.)

INGREDIENTS – 

Oil – 1 tablespoon
Rogan Josh Curry Paste – 2 tablespoons
Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed into 2″ pieces – 1 cup
Eggplant, cubed into 2″ pieces – 1 cup
Coconut Yogurt, whisked – 1.5 cup
Fresh Coriander Paste – 1 tablespoon

DIRECTIONS –

Cook all the vegetable chunks in the Airfryer until lightly golden for 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.
In the mean time, heat oil in a deep pan.
Add in the paste and cook well.
Stir in the air fried vegetable pieces and coat well in the spice paste – oil mix.
Add the whisked coconut yogurt and simmer until the spices infuse into the veggies.
Take off the heat and mix in Coriander paste.
Serve warm with steamed rice or, flatbread.

NOTES – 

Other chunky vegetables like mushrooms or zucchini or, even Seitan pieces would taste delicious.
Authentic Rogan Josh is made without onions, tomatoes or garlic.

Vegan Veggie Vindaloo Curry & Paste Recipe

Vindaloo” is a combination of two Portuguese words, “Vinho” meaning wine and “Alho” meaning garlic. Essentially a marinade combining the tartness of wine and heaps of garlic with meat from the colonial era in India, has now evolved into a mouth tingling, hot and spicy curry prominently featured on most Indian restaurant menus. There are at least a hundred versions of this gorgeous “Goan” curry and this is mine 😊. The sauce lasts in the fridge for a week and can be frozen into ice cubes for up to three months. I have used a mix of vegetables including potatoes, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, beans, mushrooms and peas with tofu. This sauce tastes awesome with diced tempeh or, shiitake mushrooms or, even Seitan pieces. Tastes best eaten warm with “Roti” or, Rice and, a fresh salad.

To make the Vindaloo Sauce,

Dry Spices:
  • Cumin Seeds – 2 teaspoons
  • Coriander Seeds – 2 teaspoons
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Fenugreek Seeds – 3/4 teaspoon
  • Green Cardamom Pods – 5
  • Black Cardamom Pod – 1, largish one
  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Hot Dried Red Chillies – 4 to 5 (reduce to desired hotness)
  • Salt, to taste 
Wet Ingredients:
  • Fresh or Dried Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
  • Brown Onion, peeled & roughly chopped – 3/4 cup
  • Garlic Cloves, peeled & roughly chopped – 2 tablespoons
  • Fresh Ginger Root, cleaned & roughly chopped – 1 tablespoon
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – 2 tablespoons
  • White Vinegar – 2 tablespoons
  • Water – 1 to 2 tablespoons, only if required.
  1. Grind the dry spices to a fine powder and set aside. 
  2. Blend the wet ingredients to a smooth paste and fold the dry spice mix into the paste. Mix well.

NOTES –

Vegan, gluten & nut free hot spice paste to make the famous Indian Vindaloo curry. Recipe for curry follows.

 

Vegan Vegetable Vindaloo

INGREDIENTS –

  1. Mixed Vegetables/ Diced Tempeh/ Cubed & Pressed Tofu – 3 cups
  2. Oil – 1 tablespoon
  3. Onion, sliced thinly into crescents – 1 large
  4. Tomato, deseeded & chopped roughly – 2/3 cup
  5. Water – 1 to 1.5 cup
  6. Salt, to taste
  7. Fresh Coriander Leaves & Stalks, minced finely – 2 tablespoons
  8. Fried Shallots – 2 tablespoons

DIRECTIONS –

  • Heat oil in a deep pan and cook the onion until golden.
  • Toss in the tomato pieces and cook until softened.
  • Add 3 – 4 tablespoons of the Vindaloo Masala paste. Cook until the raw smell goes off.
  • Mix in the veggies/ Tofu/ tempeh and coat well in the above mixture.
  • Add 1 cup of water and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer on medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes. Add more water if required.
  • Check if the veggies are cooked but still firm and take off the heat.
  • Garnish with coriander and fried shallots, of preferred.

 

Vegan Lemon Seitan Chik’n

In all my explorations of the local Asian vegan food scene, “Seitan” in different forms seems to come up a great deal. Sometimes, as nuggets or, strips or chunks. Fancy forms like fish and prawns tend to be made with a combination of soy or yam starch in case of the prawns. This Lemon Chicken tastes very much according to the real thing according to the omnivores who tasted the dish. I loved the sticky lemon sauce and the convenience of getting my food ready under half an hour with the Seitan strips. For anyone, following a gluten-free diet Seitan would be replaced by tofu or shiitake mushrooms for a similar mouthfeel. Tastes great with Fried Rice, Noodles or, plain Quinoa.

Vegan Lemon Seitan Chik’n

(A quick weeknight stir fry that goes well with rice or Quinoa.)

INGREDIENTS – 

Seitan Strips – 1 cup
Sesame Oil – 1 tablespoon
Ginger – Garlic Paste – 2 teaspoons, heaped
Red Capsicum, cut into long strips – 1/2 cup
Cornflour – 1 tablespoon
Soy Sauce – 1 tablespoon
Raw/ Coconut Sugar – 2 tablespoons
Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tablespoon
Lemon Juice – 1 tablespoon
Water – 5 to 6 tablespoons
Red Chili Flakes – 1 to 2 teaspoon
Fresh Bean Sprouts – optional for garnishing

DIRECTIONS – 

Heat a deep wok with the sesame oil covering the surface.
Layer the Seitan in a single layer and cook until crisp and brown on one side. Flip over and cook the other side. Drain the strips and set aside.
Add the ginger garlic paste into the remaining oil in the wok. Cook until the raw smell goes off.
Mix in the capsicum strips and cook until softened.
In a small jug dissolve the cornflour and sugar in water. Add in the soy sauce, vinegar and lemon Juice. Mix well.
Return the Seitan strips to the wok.
Tip the cornflour mixture on top of the strips and stir well.
Mix the chili flakes in, if using.
Stir the contents of the wok on medium heat until the sauce thickens.
Take off the heat and garnish with bean sprouts.

NOTES –

Tastes great with rice or, quinoa or, noodles.

Steamed Egglant with Green Beans Stirfry

Eggplants are one of my favorite vegetables. They contain large amounts of fiber, good for digestion and phytonutrients that are heart friendly. Eggplants tend to soak up a great deal of oil, steaming them prior to tossing in sesame oil helps use much lesser oil while, still providing the perfect flavour. Green beans add nutritional goodness, colour and compliment the gorgeous flavour eggplants provide to this Stir Fry. Coming together quickly after the vegetables have been steamed, this quick Stir Fry is great with Rice or Noodles.

Steamed Eggplant with Green Beans Stir Fry

(Vegan, gluten-free and nut free. Substitute coconut Aminos in place of soy sauce to avoid soy.)

INGREDIENTS – 

Large Eggplant, cut into long strips – 2 cups
Green Beans, trimmed (fresh or frozen) – 1 cup
Sesame Oil – 2 teaspoons Pinch of salt
Garlic Cloves, minced – 1 tablespoon
Ginger Root, minced – 1/2 tablespoon
Fresh Red Chillie, minced – 1 teaspoon
Soy Sauce – 3 tablespoons green onions
Scallions, thinly sliced- 1/2 cup (optional, for garnishing)
Water – 4 cups + Salt

DIRECTIONS – 

Boil water in a large pot with a dash of salt.
Toss in the eggplant strips until cooked but firm, approximately (7 – 10 minutes).
Drain the eggplant and add the green beans to the boiling water for 6 to 7 minutes until lightly cooked.
Drain the beans.
In the meanwhile heat the sesame oil in a deep wok and add the green beans.
Cook until the surface of the green beans blisters and turns golden, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Mix the soy sauce with the minced chillie, garlic and ginger in a bowl in the meanwhile.
Add the eggplant strips to the wok with green beans.
Pour the flavoured soy sauce mixture over the vegetables.
Stir everything together on full heat to mix in flavours.
Take off the heat and sprinkle with scallions if using.

NOTES – 

Serve warm along with fried rice or noodles.
Happy cooking!

Oh My Gözleme! Vegan Turkish Flatbread

“Turkish Gözleme” is a hand-made savoury flatbread with yeast, popular at the local markets and spring time fairs happening regularly with the warm weather. Traditionally made with eggs and brushed with butter for a pastry-like effect, these flatbread consist of either, a minced meat or, a spinach and dairy based feta filling. The flat breads are usually rolled out fresh at the markets before filling and baking on an open griddle. Flatbreads, particularly stuffed ones are a favourite in our household irrespective of their place of origin. Also, the mesmerising smell of yeasty bread baking in the balmy air is addictive. My version uses a simple dough made with strong bread flour and yeast, baked on my favourite cast iron griddle stuffed with mushrooms and caramelised onions. 

Vegan Gözleme with Mushrooms & Caramelised Onions

(Vegan & nut free.)

INGREDIENTS – 

For the dough:
Strong Bread Flour – 2 cups
Instant Dried Yeast – 2 teaspoons
Raw Sugar – 1/2 tablespoon
Lukewarm Water – approximately 1 cup (may not need all)
Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
Oil – 3 tablespoons (1 tablespoon for the dough + 2 tablespoons for brushing)

For the Filling:
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Brown Mushrooms, finely sliced – 1 cup
Water – 1 tablespoon
Brown Onion, diced finely – 1/2 cup
Scallion, sliced finely – 1/2 cup
Nutritional Yeast – 5 to 6 tablespoons
Vegan Cheese, grated – 1 cup (I used Bio-Cheese)

DIRECTIONS – 

For the dough:
In a large mixing bowl dissolve the sugar in water and add the yeast.
When frothy and bubbly add in the bread flour, oil and salt.
Knead into a soft and slightly sticky dough. Cover and set aside for half an hour, while making the filling.

For the filling:
Grease a pan with 1 teaspoon of oil and add the onion.
When slightly browned add the water and cook on low heat until the onions are brown.
Toss in the mushrooms and stir well.
Take off the heat and stir in the scallions and nutritional yeast. Cool this mixture

To assemble:
Divide the dough into lemon sized balls.
Dust with dry flour and roll out into thin circles or squares depending on preferred shape.
Place 3/4 tablespoonful of the mushroom mixture and sprinkle grated Bio-cheese on one half.
Fold over the other half and seal the edges.
Cover with a damp towel while rolling out the rest of the dough and filling it.
Heat a thick cast iron pan or similar and brush with a bit of oil.
Cook until one side is a crisp looking golden brown and flip over to cook the other side.
Store in an insulated container until ready to eat.

NOTES – 

Serve with lemon wedges if desired.
Tastes best warm.
Using a pastry brush to spread the oil over the flatbreaduses lesser amounts of oil than drizzling all over.
Reheat by toasting in a pan for a few minutes before eating for crisp Gözleme.

Vegan Spicy Sichuan/ Schezuan Noodles (Indo-Chinese Recipe)

Indo – Chinese dishes refer to a special brand of Chinese dishes that are only available in India! This particular brand of noodles that I had bought is quite popular across most Indian stores here and, has been widely available for some time now. As a family we seem to love eating noodles in some form every week, from buckwheat noodles to rice stick noodles in Pad Thai. This Sichuan or Schezuan noodle recipe was taken from the back of the noodle packet and turned out delicious! We ate our noodles with this scrumptious Chili Garlic Eggplant. The noodles need to be cooked separately before adding to a wok full of vegetables. I increased the amount of vegetables used to 2.5 cups per noodle cake. How can eating more than 2 cups of veggies be a bad thing?!

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Here’s a close-up of the recipe (apologies for the bad photo),

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Notes,
  • The Schezwan Chutney in the recipe was substituted with 3 tablespoons of hot chilli – garlic paste + 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
  • The noodles have to pre-cooked by placing the noodle cakes in double the quantity of boiling water for 6 – 8 minutes.
  • I did not have any scallions for garnish and we didn’t miss it too much with all the vegetables.
  • Substituting with gluten-free noodles in a spicy vegetable base should also work, provided you are a spice and chili 🌶 fiend 😛

I’m curious to know if anyone else has a favourite recipe gotten off the packaging 😊  Please chip in below, thanks!