Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Vegetarian Food Is Not Only Aloo & Paneer

IMAG0047_2So it seems I’m completely the kind of person who only does things with the Damocles’ sword hanging over my head. I wrote and wrote for the A to Z Challenge and then went on the lam. With pangs of guilt berating me, lazy me has decided to challenge herself once more. This time I’m inventing my own challenge and killing two (ahem…could be more!) proverbial birds with one stone. Test out recipes for the much promised (to myself) vegetarian recipe book, continuing the blogging project and making the family happy (they’ve been complaining too much about the poor quality of food the cook produces vis-à-vis the great culinary expert that I am!!) So after months of listening to the incessant whining I finally gave in, the cook was given a two month notice and she now goes to make another lady happy and me a slave to the stove. So what better time to begin the project right? Sigh!! Wrong!! With the hot weather and humidity of end of June in Gurgaon, couldn’t be worse timing. Wish I’d done this in the winter, then I could have been like the frog that does not realise that he is being cooked while he slowly warms in the water, instead here I  have plunged myself into the hot, smothering kitchen!

There is another ulterior motive to all this, as if the above reasons weren’t enough! Tinny boy (my sarcastic teen) goes off to college at the end of July, and like every self-respecting Punjabi Momma, I’m trying to ensure he is tied to me by the ‘apron strings’ forever. That obviously cannot happen with Cook Didi providing the meals. The food of course is now all going to be focused at keeping him taste bound to Momma dearest. That he is a converted vegetarian (after watching certain PETA videos) will certainly be helpful in getting the recipes for the cookbook off the ground.

Since I am an instinctive cook, I like to throw in ingredients without ever measuring (a dollop here, a pinch there and sometimes even a whack of something) I have always hit a roadblock when it comes to writing down a recipe. However… but… nevertheless I will try to make sense of it, that is a promise for sure.

See a bush full of birds (all vegetarian) with one stone or stove!!

Recipe #1: Corn and Peppers Pita Sandwiches

Feeds a family of 4.

2 adults with a healthy appetite and 2 cocky teens who have a healthy appetite only for junk food

Ingredients

  • 8 pieces Pita Bread (store boughtJ)
  • A few leaves of iceberg lettuce for the crunch

The Dressings

Hung Curd Dip

  • 1 cup hung curd
  • 2 flake garlic minced
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried parsley leaves
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and keep aside.

Thousand Island Dressing

You can use any brand off the shelf or if, like me, you have a masochistic streak (a person who is gratified by pain, that is self-imposed, is the meaning I’m going for here) and want to make it on your own you can use the recipe I follow given in this link http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/thousand-island-dressing-recipe.html to keep it vegetarian minus the eggs of course.

Barbeque Sauce

A good barbeque sauce needs a smoky flavor and to get that at home is not easy, so you can just stop here and go buy yourself a good one from the market. If you still have a serious masochistic streak then read on.

  • ½ tsp oil
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 flake garlic
  • ½ tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Tomato Ketchup
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan add onion and garlic, cook till soft add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil and simmer till it thickens.
  2. To get that smoky flavor add the paprika in last.

Whole Grain Mustard

Now this I like to make myself and store in the fridge it is way yummier than any off the shelf variety.

  • Warning: It has to be a few days in advance.
  • 50 gms whole black mustard seeds
  • 50 gms yellow mustard seeds
  • Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Salt

Method:

  1. Soak the mustard in the vinegar till it covers it completely and leave it overnight.
  2. Chuck into the blender and add the salt and any herbs you want to put into it. Blitz to the consistency you like it. The yellow mustard seeds will become pasty and the black ones will remain whole.
  3. Refrigerate for a few days so that the mustard macerates and does not shoot up your nose like cocaine (not that I have every snorted cocaine, but that’s what I guess must be the feeling when you do!! Maybe I’m wrong, but, I’m keeping that analogy to scare my kids with!)

For the Filling:

  • 1 tsp olive or any cooking oil
  • ½ cup each red, yellow and green bell peppers chopped
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes deseeded and chopped
  • 250 gms golden corn kernels parboiled
  • 1 tsp oregano fresh or powdered
  • ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok add the oregano and chili flakes to it and then quickly add the onions, sweat them off and add the bell peppers and tomatoes. Just a quick toss to let everything stay crunchy.
  2. Now mix in the golden corn kernels, salt and take it off the heat.

Assemble

Phew!! So now to the easy part.

  1. Warm up the pita with a few drops of olive oil on a griddle (fancy word for the humble tava.)
  2. The pita will puff up and can now be separated from the middle.
  3. Layer the bottom with the hung curd dip and slap on some lettuce leaves.
  4. Add a generous layer of the filling and crisscross with the Thousand Island dressing and Barbeque sauce.
  5. To the top layer of the pita spread a thin layer of the mustard and close the sandwich. Cut into four pieces and serve. Ta daa!!!
IMAG0045_1
My Bad Photography skills hidden by some filters (hopefully)

 

Now get out of that hot kitchen as if the devil was behind you ask the husband to mix you a very large LIIT and sit back as the family appreciates the domestic Goddess that you truly are!! I shall be back soon with another recipe post so do watch this space if you’re interested in reading if not in making.

Vegetarian by Choice

Keep Calm 20130402174023

I’ve been itching and threatening to write this one for quite a while, so those that know me well, will not be surprised with today’s post.

I am a vegetarian!!

As soon as I drop this bomb, new acquaintances do a double take. “But, you don’t look like one,” pops out of their mouth before they realize. Out of politeness, now I nod and smile having heard this a million times. I have pondered over this statement many a times, what does a vegetarian face look like? The face I wear somehow does not suit that stereotype.

Is it a Buddha like serene countenance that is required? Or a look of profound piety, which I do not possess? So pray (I wonder) do I carry the look that is carnivorous? Or is it cannibalistic, the face that the creator furnished me with? Whatever the reason, I’m not yet enlightened. Since polite folk just laugh when I ask them back what a vegetarian looks like. “Not like you, certainly,” said one and another afraid probably of my cannibalistic looks hurriedly pacified, “No, no I didn’t mean to offend!”

Still with doubt in their mind, the next question that comes, “Is your family vegetarian? Were you forced to by your in-laws,” they ask with pity in their eyes. If they knew me well enough, they’d know how remote that possibility is, as my long suffering in-laws can testify, forcing me to do something against my will. Well, that just doesn’t happen. The doubting Thomas’ need to confirm, “Must have left it for religious reasons!”

Here I give up, my genuine, ‘I don’t relish the taste of non-veg,’ doesn’t suffice. For you see, I do not have the ‘looks’ to convince.

Grudgingly, they wonder what to feed this strange creature who does not fit the mould and upsets their well-planned menu. Now, they must add some vegetarian options to it. Sigh!! More work!! What to add is the next dilemma, what do vegetarians eat? Grass, we cannot serve, she is after all a guest. Salad, she’ll think we are commenting on her weight, she needs to shed but how can we be so obvious. Vegetables are sides, to be had with meat (that is the actual food.) Then they have their ‘aha moment’! They hit on just the right combination – aloo (potatoes) as appetizer and Paneer (cottage cheese) for mains. There, what a fancy menu, she’ll surely be glad we know what a vegetarian’s palate be fond of. As I eat their carefully selected choices and smile in wonder at another thoughtful meal of aloo and paneer. There and then I promise myself to get to the writing of my long overdue cook book, “Vegetarian Party Cooking – Not a single Aloo or Paneer Recipe!”