Vegan MoFo Week 3 – Ingredient Challenges “Turmeric”

Vegan month of food continues into week 3 of October with innovative themes- “Ingredient challenges”. One of my favourite ingredients to use in everyday cooking is Turmeric. The challenge inspired me to make – my – own deconstructucted Turmeric Latte mix which is all the rage in cafes here at the moment. Growing up in an Indian household, milk + Turmeric with a dash of jaggery syrup called “Haldi Doodh” was a warm comforting drink that was always there to clutch in my little hands for a variety of problems from insomnia to the beginning of a cold, or bruises and body aches that came with being a little too clumsy on the day. Talking to my mother while sipping a warm glass of “Haldi Doodh was the panacea to most of my childhood problems 🙂

Carrying the tradition forward, I now make fresh Turmeric root paste with a dash of black pepper, green cardamom, cinnamon, plus coconut sugar to mix into almond milk for a comforting drink for my little ones. The husband & I prefer to leave out the sweetener and whizz warm Almond Milk with my Turmeric Latte blend for a pre-bedtime drink. Grinding fresh Turmeric means covering most work surfaces, as light coloured work surfaces tend to stain a golden-yellow hue!

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Turmeric Latte - Ingredient Challenge
Vegan; Gluten-free; Sugar-free.
Priya: Priya
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Turmeric Root, peeled & chopped
  • 4 Black Peppercorn seeds
  • 2 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Quill
  • 1 cup Almond Milk, warm
  • 1 teaspoon Sweetener, optional
Instructions
  1. Lightly roast the black peppercorn, cardamom and cinnamon in a dry pan. Cool.
  2. Grind the spices to a fine powder.
  3. Add fresh turmeric root into the grinder jar and grind to a fine paste.
  4. Store in an air tight glass jar up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  5. To use, blend 1 heaped teaspoon into 1 cup of warm Almond milk until frothy and golden. Add 1 teaspoon of Xylitol or powdered Coconut sugar, to sweeten if desired.
  6. Best enjoyed warm wrapped up in a rug while curled up on a comfortable couch.

This paste works well blend into some coconut oil to use in savoury recipes or sweet dishes like my

Golden Milk Pudding.

 

 

 

Vegan Mofo 2017: Spice Rack (Masala Dabba)

The Vegan MoFo 2017 week 2 challenge is to describe vegan cooking behind the scenes. This covers all appliances, tips and tricks, secret ingredients a.k.a. spices. Every time I get my spice box (“Dabba” in Hindi) my children seem to think the food magically transforms from bland and plain to, colourful and flavourful “get in my mouth now” food! Indian cooking does rely on a myriad of spices wet and dry. Spices range from carefully preserved & dried to freshly picked off the plant.

All spices contain active ingredients by way of essential oils that offer typical flavours to the food. These active constituents are one of the key reasons spices are so good for our health in small quantities. Dry roasting spices before adding them to a recipe definitely helps bring up the spice quotient. I do tend to make small quantities of dry spice powder combinations that are used everyday such as Garam Masala and Kitchen King Masala that are stored in airtight glass jars in the fridge (please click on the spice powders for the recipes). Here’s a glimpse into my spice box holding some of the spices I use in my daily cooking. I tend to store turmeric in a glass jar to prevent staining, both in powder and paste forms, made from dried or fresh turmeric root pieces.

 

 

The main spices that live in my Spice Rack/ Masala Dabba (Hindi),

  1. Sea Salt (Namak) – I prefer sea salt as it is not as processed as table salt.

2. Black Peppercorn (Kali Mirch) – Contains “Piperine” as an active ingredient. Usually bought as dried berries.

3. Green Cardamom pods (Choti Elaichee) – The third most expensive spice in the world after vanilla & saffron,      and one of my personal favorites for savoury & sweet dishes.

4. Black Mustard Seeds (Rai) – Contain essential oils Sinigrin Myrosin which impart a typical mustard flavour.

5. Coriander Seeds (Dhania ke Beej) – Contains essential oil Linalool accounting for the distinctive flavour. Untreated (not radiated) coriander seeds can also grow into fresh coriander plants for a kitchen garden.

6. Carom Seeds (Ajwain) – Contains essential oil Thymol, which is known to be a germicide and helps with flatulence.

7. Cumin Seeds (Jeera) – Contains Thymoquinone, cumin seeds range from black to brown and are prized in Indian cooking for their slightly lemony undertones mixed with a warm nutty flavour.

8. Fenugreek Seeds (Methi) – Contains Trigonelline, and are commonly used in Indian pickles. The flavour is slightly sweet, with bitter & nutty undertones. Used commonly in Indian cooking as seeds and leaf forms, (both dried and fresh).

 

I hope this little incursion into my Masala Dabba is interesting and inspiring. I would love to know your favorite spices in the comments below 😊

 

Vegan Zucchini Fritters – Only 5 Ingredients

Warm weather means more fresh choices at my favourite fresh food farmers markets and more  summer vegetables like zucchini. Fresh zucchini of course equals to Zucchini Fritters… vegan Zucchini Fritters! The weekly theme for Vegan MoFo for week 2 this year is a kitchen gadget I can’t live without. I went through my appliance cupboard and stopped at my stand mixer, (very useful with making my own dough  and batter); Blender (great for nut butters, smoothies, frozen desserts, soups and dips ), until I saw my Air Fryer! My Philips Airfryer is quite old (bought it in 2012) and has helped make several of my favourite foods relatively fat-free doing away with the messy deep-frying process. I have possibly deep-fried food a couple of times after my Air Fryer’s been an active part of my kitchen.

This 5 ingredient recipe is gluten-free, low-fat and made in the Air Fryer. Ready in under half an hour, these fritters taste great by themselves or combined with a salad for a filling meal.

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Vegan Zucchini Fritters - 5 Ingredients

Vegan; Gluten-free; Low fat; Air Fryer recipe.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 2 Zucchini, medium.
  • 3/4 cup Besan (Chickpea Flour)
  • 3/4 cup Rice Flour (finely ground)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • Black Salt (Kala Namak), to taste
Instructions
  1. Sift the "Besan" & rice flour together in a deep mixing bowl. Toss in turmeric powder and salt to taste and whisk through.

  2. Grate the zucchini and squeeze out any excess water.

  3. Fold the grated zucchini mixture into the dry flour mix.

  4. Form round patties using wet palms and place in the Air Fryer basket.

  5. Cook for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius and allow to cool slightly before removing from the Air Fryer basket as the patties are quite delicate when hot.

Recipe Notes

I get my Black/ rock salt (Kala Namak), rice flour and Besan flour at my local Indian grocery store. 

 

This is not a sponsored post. I really love my Air Fryer and find that it’s a great tool in my kitchen, if you liked this recipe please check out, my Air Fryer Samosa recipe  😊

Also, please do check out Cook Blog Share where my Zucchini Fritter recipe shares the space with these other gorgeous recipes!

Vegan Hummingbird Cake, Sugar-Free

The Hummingbird cake originated in Jamaica and moved to the USA and the world. There is a distinct tropical flavour with the bananas, pineapple, coconut and nuts 🌴.

The cake has a faint nod to the nursery rhyme in which the black birds were baked into a pie. However, no birds of any kind were harmed in the making of this cake!

My variation substitutes xylitol in place of sugar and some dried fruit for even fruitier cake 🎂! Using mashed overripe bananas takes the place of eggs and the pineapple purée makes for a wonderfully moist cake. I used frozen pineapple chunks blend into a smooth purée but fresh ripe pineapple would work just as well. The icing is made with softened coconut cream and xylitol “icing sugar”. Save the leftover coconut water in the can to add into the cake batter, if needed. Perfect for my next spring soirée 🎊 

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Vegan Hummingbird Cake

Vegan and Sugarfree. Contains nuts and gluten.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups Unbleached Self Raising Flour
  • 1.5 cups Xylitol
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/2 cup Mixed Dried Fruit(I used paw paw, raisins & sultanas)
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 cup Banana, mashed (ripe to overripe work best)
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple Purée
  • 1/2 cup Rice Bran Oil
Coconut Cream Icing
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Cream (only the thick part, reserve watery part for batter)
  • 1/2 cup Xylitol
  • 1 tablespoon Corn Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Walnuts, chopped into big pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Flakes, toasted
Instructions
For the Cake,
  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C. Spray a 9" cake pan with nonstick spray or line with baking paper.

  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour and cinnamon together. Toss the walnuts and dried fruit pieces and mix well.
  3. Whisk the puréed banana, pineapple, Xylitol and oil until smooth.
  4. Fold in the wet mixture into the dry mix and mix gently until thick but smooth batter forms. Add reserved coconut water if the batter is too lumpy.

  5. Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan.

  6. Bake for 45 minutes at 175° C or, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Cool cake in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes after taking out of the oven.
  8. Invert cake carefully on a cooling rack out of the cake pan.
For the Coconut Cream Icing,
  1. Powder the xylitol & corn flour finely and whisk into the coconut cream until fluffy. 

  2. Spread over a slightly warm cake as the icing hardens as the cake cools.

  3. Sprinkle with walnut pieces and toasted coconut flakes to decorate.

If you liked this vegan cake recipe, please try my Vegan Vanilla Cake here.

 

Finger Millet Pancakes (Savoury & Sweet Versions)

“Finger Millet” is a much-loved grain because it’s gluten-free and for the perceived health benefits and nutritive value. Red Finger Millet also, called “Nachni” or, “Ragi”, was a food I grew up with. Millet flour got tossed into dumplings, baked goods, dessert and most importantly pancakes!

My mother believed that all foods in their natural and unprocessed form when consumed in moderation were good for you. My little ones love pancakes and eat these hot off the pan with maple syrup and fruit preserves. The grown ups in the household prefer the savoury version with finely chopped shallots sprinkled with salt and pepper. I usually make a large bowl full of batter with fine finger millet flour and rice flour in some warm water. This batter sits in a warm spot while I get the shallots chopped. The little ones polished hot pancakes as soon as they were out of the pan dunked into maple syrup, but I did manage to take a few images of the savoury ones with different toppings 😊

 

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Finger Millet Flour Pancakes

Gluten free, fat-free and ready in minutes. Choose your own toppings, or use as a wrap for veggie fillings.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Red Finger Millet Flour, fine
  • 1/3 cup Rice Flour, fine
  • 2 - 2.5 cups Warm Water
Savoury Pancakes
  • 1/2 cup Green Shallots, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Mint Leaves, minced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste
Sweet Pancakes
  • 1/2 cup Desiccated Coconut, to sprinkle on top
  • Maple Syrup, to serve with
Instructions
  1. Heat a griddle pan (I used my trusty cast iron pan). (A non stick pan works just as well).

  2. Pour half a cup of batter on the hot griddle and spread around in a thin circle by tilting and rotating the griddle pan carefully.

  3. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of shallots if making a savoury pancake and some salt & pepper.

  4. Sprinkle 1/2 a tablespoon of desiccated coconut, if using, to make a sweet pancake.

  5. Cover the pan and cook on low heat until the sides start to lift up.

  6. Flip over and cook the other side for a couple of minutes.

  7. Serve warm.

  8. The savoury version tastes great with some mint leaves or other toppings of choice sprinkled onn the top.

  9. The coconut pancakes taste great dunked into maple syrup or, with fruit preserves or, with chopped up fresh fruit.

Finger Millet Pancakes

I’m curious to know everyone’s favourite sweet & savoury batter, so please chip in the comments below 😊

Instant Idli (Steamed Rice Flour Dumplings)

Spring has been lurking around the corner in Sydney recently. This of course jolts me out of my hibernation to cook more food instead of curling up in a corner with a mug of soup! My biggest issue with winter are the short days and not enough daylight hours with rather bad lighting when I try to take photos of my recipes. Of course, I’m not the best photographer to begin off with, and tend to use my iPad to take most of the pictures on my bench top 😳

Now for today’s recipe,

I have previously posted a traditional Idli recipe, as it is one of the most popular South Indian rice dumpling here – How to make your Idli batter & steamed Idli dumplings the traditional way.

This instant rice flour Idli recipe is an old recipe from my mother’s cooking diary. Ready under 1 hour from start to finish, this easy recipe tastes great with Coconut Chutney, “Gunpowder” (interesting name isn’t it, 🙂 I’ll dig my recipe out soon) or Quick “Sambar” Lentil Stew to dunk the Idli in.

 Instant Idli

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Instant "Idli" Rice Flour Dumplings

Vegan, Gluten free, no Oil recipe.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 2 cups White Rice Flour, coarsely ground
  • 2/3 cup Skinned Split Black Lentil Flour, fine
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 - 3.5 cups Warm Water
  • 3/4 - 1 teaspoon Eno Regular Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Rice Bran Oil, to grease the Idli Mould
Instructions
  1. Dry whisk the flours and salt together until well mixed.

  2. Mix in the warm water until a thick but smooth batter forms. Add in warm water by the spoonful to get a smooth batter. The amount of water needed depends on the coarseness of the rice flour. Set aside in a warm corner.

  3. Get a large steamer/ pot that the Idli moulds fit into and fill with water. Bring the water to a boil on high heat mad then turn the heat down to the lowest setting. (I tend to fill more water as it evaporates while cooking. Important part is to not let the boiling water near the batter while cooking.)

  4. Grease the Idli moulds/ steaming cups with rice bran oil.

  5. Stir in the Eno salt into the resting batter and mix well quickly.

  6. Drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the greased and prepared steaming moulds and set into the steamer pot. Cover the pot and steam at the highest setting for 12 - 15 minutes.

  7. Remove the moulds filled with cooked dumplings from the steamer immediately and cool for 5 - 10 minutes before gently sliding out of the moulds with a soft spatula.

  8. Enjoy hot, with Coconut Chutney or dunked into Lentil Stew.

Recipe Notes

There are different kinds of steamers that everyone uses from makeshift large pots filled with boiling water to special Idli steamers. All kinds are good as long as they hold enough water and have a separate section where the rice flour batter can cook without the water boiling into it. If the batter touches the boiling water, there will be no perfectly steamed dumplings, just a big floury, sticky mess unfortunately! I learnt this the hard way, so hope this helps 🙂

Happy Cooking 😊 If you like this recipe, please check out my other Idli recipes here –  Quinoa Idli  and 

Semolina Idli

Vegan Cinnamon Fruit Snails

Warm, doughy and buttery snails particularly, the ones filled with jam or fruit fillings are a particular favourite with my little one on cold winter days! There’s this little bakery close by where she wants to stop at regularly, just to get her favourite sweet rolls. I often give in while wondering  if that much sugar and butter is good for such a tiny body…

I have a fair bit of organic dried fruit (mainly raisins, some dried berries & sultanas!) left from my last shop. So, I decided to use my favourite dough recipe and throw in a generous helping of dried fruit with some cinnamon, and a dash of all spice to make my kitchen smell like baking in winter 😋 The little ones loved it and wouldn’t stop eating it fresh out of the oven! The few snail rolls that survived were lightly toasted for morning tea the next morning and requested all over again 😊 This is the perfect Christmas in July recipe to whip up under 2 hours from start to finish. Happy Baking!

Vegan Fruit Snails

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Vegan Magic Dough Fruit Snails

Vegan, sugarfree, nut free.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 1 recipe Magic Dough
  • 3/4 cup Dried Fruit (Raisins, Berries, Pawpaw are all good)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice Powder
  • Non Stick Spray
Instructions
  1. Prepare the dough and roll into a flattish rectangle. Sprinkle the fruit on top of the dough and press in palm down. Next sprinkle in the cinnamon & allspice powder all over. Spread with a flat spoon, if necessary.

  2. Carefully roll up the fruit & dough rectangle from the long end as tightly as possible.

  3. Use a sharp knife or dough cutter to cut into rolls, roughly 1/2" in width.

  4. Spray non stick spray in a round tray or cake pan and, place the snails/rolls at least a couple of centimeters away from each other.

  5. Cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm spot for 20 - 30 minutes.

  6. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius on the fan forced setting.

  7. Bake the fruit snails/ rolls at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 - 35 minutes, or until a beautiful golden brown and smelling divine!

Quick Indian Lemon Pickle

Lemons have all kinds of goodness and are quite scarce at this time of the year. When I do find some fresh ones, I’m determined to make the most out of them. This quick Lemon Pickle is ready literally in minutes using my trusty pressure cooker  after overnight prep. Indian pickles tend to use mustard seeds, cumin seeds and other spices in oil along with turmeric salt and sugar as a preservative.

Tastes great with plain Rice and Dal or, with some yogurt and flatbread (Roti).

Apologies for the radio silence all this time, I’ve been busy traveling and trying out all kinds of vegan food (good & bad!), shall update with pictures as soon as I can!

Quick Lemon Pickle
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Indian Quick Lemon Pickle

Vegan, gluten-free & nut free.


Cuisine: Indian
Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 12 Lemons, washed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
To Make
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
Instructions
Prep For The Lemons
  1. Wash and dry the lemons thoroughly.

  2. Quarter and put into a big glass bowl.

  3. Sprinkle with salt and sugar. Rub into the lemon pieces and cover.

  4. Let the lemon pieces marinate for 8 to 12 hours.

Pickle Making (After 12 hours)
  1. Heat oil in a pressure pan and add the mustard seeds. Cook until they pop.

  2. Stir in the rest of the spices and cook on low heat until aromatic.

  3. Mix in the marinated lemon pieces along with the juice in the glass bowl.

  4. Cover the pressure pan and cook on high for 8 to 10 minutes. Take off the heat immediately and allow to cool naturally.

  5. Spoon the warm pickle into a clean, sterilised glass jar and cap immediately. A vacuum seal should form as the pickle cools down.

  6. I used 2 small jars to store the pickle in as this ensures longevity of the pickle and keeps the freshness intact. 

 

Punjabi Kadhi Pakora (Vegan Yogurt Stew with Fritters)

Kadhi Pakora is a winter staple in North India served with steamed rice and garnished with vegetable fritters. It took me a long time to veganise this recipe only because most of the suggestions on google are to use tofu in some form. Now, I’m not at all against eating tofu in moderation but, now and then if I’ve been slack with grocery shopping, we end up with no tofu! This recipe came about at a time like this, with the family pitching ideas at me and brainstorming about how best to get the Kadhi right (love weekend cooking!). My younger one, of course insisted, that as long as the Pakora (fritters) were good, no one cared about the actual taste or consistency of the Kadhi/ stew! I used this Pakora recipe and this steamed rice recipe. Happy cooking 😊 

Indian Buddha Bowl

 

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Vegan Punjabi Kadhi Pakora

Gluten free, allergy friendly and onion & garlic free.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
To blend together
  • 2.5 cups Non Dairy Milk (Soy, Rice & Coconut work well)
  • 5 tablespoons Chickpea Flour/ Besan, fine
  • 1 inch Fresh Ginger Root, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons Lime Juice
  • Salt, to taste
For the Spice Mix
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon Asafoetida
  • 7 - 8 Whole Dried Cloves
  • 2 inch Cinnamon Bark, coarsely pounded
  • 1 teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
  • 8 Fresh Curry Leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Green Chilli, minced
Instructions
Blend the chickpea flour and the rest of the ingredients until a smooth and thin batter like mixture forms.
  1. Heat oil in a deep sauce pan and add the mustard seeds. Cover and cook until they pop.

  2. Reduce heat and add all the other spices along with the curry leaves and chilli. Roast until fragrant.

  3. Add contents of the blender to the spices in the deep pan and mix well.

  4. Cook over gentle heat until the mix comes to a rolling boil. Cover and cook for a further 8 - 10 minutes to thicken the stew.

  5. While the stew cooks get the fritters ready. I made mine in the Air Fryer.

  6. If serving with rice, then take this time to get some freshly steamed rice ready.

  7. Assemble for serving by adding rice to a deep dish or bowl first. Pour the cooked Kadhi (stew) over the rice. Finally garnish with crisp Pakoras (fritters).

 

Airfryer Vegetable Pakora & The Veggie Bullet

My Mother’s Day present this year was a “Veggie Bullet“, that can slice, chop, grate, shred and most importantly, “spiralise veggies”! I’ve been wanting a spiraliser for the longest time now, but everytime I got a manual one, something would be wrong, missing screws, broken blades, missing parts and more… Not anymore, so stay tuned for lots of spiraliser recipes, as I start my experiments 😊

Veggie Bullet

For our first trial, after taking a family vote we decided to make Vegetable Pakora, the famous Indian fritters that everyone loves! These are a combination of shredded vegetables I had in the fridge consisting of cabbage, zucchini and white potatoes mixed with dry spices such as, green fennel, cumin, carom and coriander in a thick Besan and rice flour batter to bake in the Air Fryer. These crisp, gluten-free and hot Pakore didn’t last very long, paving the way to break out the Veggie Bullet again. There  are heaps of you tube videos on how to use the Veggie Bullet that I’ve watched before taking the plunge! Now on to the Vegetable Pakora recipe, 

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Veggie Pakora

Vegan, gluten free, onion and garlic free.

Priya: Priya@MasalaVegan
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup Besan/ Chickpea Flour
  • 1/2 cup Rice Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Carom Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kitchen King/ Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 cup Grated Vegetables (Zucchini, Cabbage & Potato)
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Warm Water
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • Salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flours, spices, oil, salt and 1/2 cup of water. Whisk well until smooth.

  2. Fold in the grated veggies into the batter carefully. Add extra spoonfuls of water only if required, as the batter needs to be quite thick and the veggies give out moisture too!

  3. I left my batter quite thick to scoop up by the spoonful and drop into the Airfryer basket to cook for 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.

  4. If using an oven, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and bake for 20 to 25 minutes on a fan forced setting.

  5. Serve warm with Tomato Chutney or Ketchup 😋

Recipe Notes

Many other veggies can also be used in this versatile baked pakora recipe, as long as the vegetables are grated or, chopped fine. Examples are, sweet potatoes, turnips, daikon, carrots and even onions to make the famous Onion Bhajji!