Bitter Gourd Stir Fry in a Tomato Onion Gravy

Bitter Gourd, also called Bitter Melon or “Karela” in Hindi, used to be one of my favorite veggies growing up. From stuffed baked bitter gourd to pan-fried fritters, made by dipping bitter gourd into a rice flour batter with spices. Bitter Gourd usually grows on a vine during the colder months in India. However, I’ve to resort to getting frozen slices from the local Indian shop here. This quick preparation uses the Airfryer to cook the bitter gourd slices for 15 to 20 minutes while the tomato and onions cook in a teaspoonful of oil with a few spices. Perfect for busy week-nights with a bowl of Daal and steamed rice or Roti!


Bitter Gourd Stir Fry
A quick and flavoursome Bitter Gourd Stirfry combining smoked paprika, cumin seeds and turmeric.
  1. Bitter Gourd, sliced - 2 cups (I used a half a kilo packet of frozen sliced bitter gourd)
  2. Oil - 1 teaspoon
  3. Cumin Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  4. Onion, sliced thinly - 1 medium
  5. Tomatoes, deseeded & diced - 1 cup
  6. Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  7. Smoked Paprika Powder - 1 teaspoon
  8. Water - 2 tablespoons
  9. Salt, to taste
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  1. Spread the frozen bitter gourd slices in the air fryer and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 18 - 20 minutes (until slightly crisp).
  2. In the meanwhile coat a deep pan with oil and add the cumin seeds. Cook until browned.
  3. Stir in the onions and cook on a medium flame until lightly browned.
  4. Mix in the turmeric Powder and the tomato. Cook on low heat until softened.
  5. Stir the Airfried bitter gourd slices into the pan and coat well with the above mixture.
  6. Add water and salt and mix well.
  7. Sprinkle smoked red Paprika powder and take off the heat.
  1. Use mild red Chilli powder in place of smoked paprika. I've used smoked paprika to add a smoky depth to the flavour.
  2. If using fresh bitter gourd, then slice into 3/4" rounds, toss in a spoonful of rice flour and then cook in the Airfryer.
Masala Vegan






Silverbeet & Kale Stir fry with Harissa Mixed Beans

Warm spring afternoons particularly on a weekday are full of activities. This Silverbeet & Kale Stir Fry Spiced with Harissa Mixed Beans comes together quickly and makes a wholesome meal with Quinoa, steamed rice or, a flatbread on a busy afternoon. The past weekend I had gone to my local Harris Farm which, has all kinds of wonderful fresh and dried food. My husband is convinced it is one of those places where I must not be left unattended! Their best feature (from my perspective) is their imperfect produce selling system where, slight imperfections on fresh and tasty produce means they are sold at a discount and not, add to food wastage. I always try to buy “imperfect” produce because they definitely have better flavours in addition to their individual quirks, the same as us!

Silverbeet & Kale Stir Fry with Harissa Mixed Beans
  1. Silverbeet Leaves, chopped finely - 1 bunch (I reserve the thick white stalks for smoothies & soups)
  2. Curly Kale Leaves, chopped finely - 4 to 5 stalks
  3. Oil - 1 tablespoon
  4. Onion, thinly sliced - 1
  5. Garlic Cloves, minced - 5 to 6
  6. Harissa Paste - 1 tablespoon
  7. Mixed Beans Can, drained & rinsed - 1
  8. Fresh Coriander, minced - 2 tablespoons
  9. Lime Juice - 2 tablespoons
  10. Red Chilli Flakes, hot - 1 teaspoon, optional
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  1. Heat oil in a large wok and add the onion, garlic and chilli. Cook for 5 minutes until translucent.
  2. Stir in the Harissa Paste an mix well.
  3. Toss in the silverbeet and Kale Leaves and cook until wilted on medium heat.
  4. Mix in the drained mixed beans and cook everything together for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Take off the heat when the greens look cooked.
  6. Sprinkle the coriander on top and mix lime juice in.
  1. I did not add any salt as the Harissa paste had salt in it. Check seasoning and add salt to taste as needed.
  2. Tastes great with fluffy flatbread, or Quinoa, or steamed rice and a fresh salad.
Masala Vegan
This delicious stir fry is being sent off to Healthy Vegan Fridays collection! 

Alfalfa & Bean Sprouts Zhunka/ Zunka Stirfry

Zhunka or Zunka, is a rustic, nutritious and filling stir fry that comes from the west coast of India. A delicious mix of Gram flour (Besan) combined with finely shredded greens or, vegetables and flavoured with simple spices such as, cumin and mustard seeds with some onion and garlic. Usually eaten with gluten-free flat bread made with coarsely ground sorghum flour and a fresh salad.

I had some Alfalfa and Bean sprouts in the fridge that I’ve used for this dish. However, these can be substituted with any other finely chopped greens or Cabbage or bell peppers. My mother used to always roast the flour properly and cool it before adding into this dish to prevent a lumpy dish. I tend to roast Besan flour and keep it in a box in the fridge (this keeps for a few weeks) to thicken gravies and, in all kinds of pancakes and to make quick work of this tasty recipe on a busy weeknight.

Alfalfa & Bean Sprout Zhunka
A spicy vegan and gluten-free stirfry with the goodness of Chickpeas and vegetables.
  1. Gram Flour, thoroughly roasted and cooled - 1 cup
  2. Alfalfa & Bean Sprouts, shredded finely - 2 cups
  3. Oil - 2 tablespoons
  4. Onion, finely chopped - 1/2 cup
  5. Garlic Cloves, finely minced - 4 teaspoons
  6. Green Chilli, finely minced - 1 to 2, depending on desired level of heat
  7. Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
  8. Cumin Seeds - 1 teaspoon
  9. Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
  10. Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
  11. Salt, to taste
  12. Lime Juice - 1 tablespoon
  13. Scallion, finely sliced - 2 tablespoons, optional for garnishing
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  1. Heat oil in a deep pan and add the mustard seeds, till they pop.
  2. Toss in the cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Cook until golden and aromatic.
  3. Add the onion and sauté until lightly golden.
  4. Mix in the minced garlic and green chili. Stir well.
  5. Toss in the sprouts and mix well with the spice mixture, cook until just wilted.
  6. Season with salt.
  7. Add tablespoonfuls of roasted Gram flour and mix well to prevent lumps from forming.
  8. Stir constantly until the Gram flour has been mixed in and looks dry.
  9. Take off the heat and sprinkle with lime juice and sliced scallion pieces, if using.
  1. Roast the gram flour in a dry pan on low heat until aromatic and golden brown. Set aside to cool while chopping the veggies and getting the rest ready.
  2. Substitute the sprouts for finely shred vegetables such as cabbage, zucchini, carrots, etc.
Masala Vegan

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.
  1. Seitan Strips - 1 cup
  2. Sesame Oil - 1 tablespoon
  3. Ginger - Garlic Paste - 2 teaspoons, heaped
  4. Red Capsicum, cut into long strips - 1/2 cup
  5. Cornflour - 1 tablespoon
  6. Soy Sauce - 1 tablespoon
  7. Raw/ Coconut Sugar - 2 tablespoons
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar - 1 tablespoon
  9. Lemon Juice - 1 tablespoon
  10. Water - 5 to 6 tablespoons
  11. Red Chili Flakes - 1 to 2 teaspoon
  12. Fresh Bean Sprouts - optional for garnishing
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  1. Heat a deep wok with the sesame oil covering the surface.
  2. 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.
  3. Add the ginger garlic paste into the remaining oil in the wok. Cook until the raw smell goes off.
  4. Mix in the capsicum strips and cook until softened.
  5. In a small jug dissolve the cornflour and sugar in water. Add in the soy sauce, vinegar and lemon Juice. Mix well.
  6. Return the Seitan strips to the wok.
  7. Tip the cornflour mixture on top of the strips and stir well.
  8. Mix the chili flakes in, if using.
  9. Stir the contents of the wok on medium heat until the sauce thickens.
  10. Take off the heat and garnish with bean sprouts.
  1. Tastes great with rice or, quinoa or, noodles.
Masala Vegan


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.
  1. Large Eggplant, cut into long strips - 2 cups
  2. Green Beans, trimmed (fresh or frozen) - 1 cup
  3. Sesame Oil - 2 teaspoons Pinch of salt
  4. Garlic Cloves, minced - 1 tablespoon
  5. Ginger Root, minced - 1/2 tablespoon
  6. Fresh Red Chillie, minced - 1 teaspoon
  7. Soy Sauce - 3 tablespoons green onions
  8. Scallions, thinly sliced- 1/2 cup (optional, for garnishing)
  9. Water - 4 cups + Salt
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  1. Boil water in a large pot with a dash of salt.
  2. Toss in the eggplant strips until cooked but firm, approximately (7 - 10 minutes).
  3. Drain the eggplant and add the green beans to the boiling water for 6 to 7 minutes until lightly cooked.
  4. Drain the beans.
  5. In the meanwhile heat the sesame oil in a deep wok and add the green beans.
  6. Cook until the surface of the green beans blisters and turns golden, about 6 to 7 minutes.
  7. Mix the soy sauce with the minced chillie, garlic and ginger in a bowl in the meanwhile.
  8. Add the eggplant strips to the wok with green beans.
  9. Pour the flavoured soy sauce mixture over the vegetables.
  10. Stir everything together on full heat to mix in flavours.
  11. Take off the heat and sprinkle with scallions if using.
  1. Serve warm along with fried rice or noodles.
  2. Happy cooking!
Masala Vegan