Tag Archives: Indian

Chickpea Curry

I’m not sure if anyone has realized yet but I love chickpeas. Andrew also loves them so we cook them a lot. He is really trying to reduce his meat intake and one way of doing that is bulking up on other proteins. Chickpeas are one of my favorite beans to eat. One of my favorite things to eat them in is curry. There is a curry place very close to where Andrew used to live in Santa Clara that served amazing channa masala. Now their channa masala was not vegan and this one is!

This post celebrates the first time I have made rice correctly without a rice cooker. I am very proud of myself.

Chickpea Curry (Channa Masala)

  • 1 15 oz. can cooked chickpeas
  • 1 pkg. Chicken Tikka Masala mix (I know this is cheating)
  • 1/3 cup lite coconut milk (the mix called for heavy cream, but I wanted to make it vegan and Andrew hates dairy)
  • cooked rice

I made my curry with white rice, but next time I think I will do brown rice. It has more flavor than white rice. I do however have twenty pounds of white rice sitting in my cupboard.

1. In a pot bring water, spice packet, and coconut milk to boil. Then add chickpeas and cook until heated through.

We served this with Andrew’s asparagus with olive oil and lemon juice.

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Carrot Curry Soup with Chickpeas

I apologize for the lack of a photo. I had a photo all set up to take and it looked delicious and when I go to take the photo I realized I didn’t have my memory card in my camera. It was at home in Santa Cruz in my computer not at my new place in Santa Clara. I will share the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots, washed, and chopped
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 3 tbsps. curry powder
  • cayenne
  • salt
  • vegetable stock
  • olive oil

1. Wash and chop carrots into small pieces. Do not peel your carrots. Peeling causes you to lose nutritional value plus its extra work. Just make sure you wash your vegetables well. Put in a small soup pot. Cover with vegetable broth until carrots are covered. Cook on medium high until carrots are tender. Add curry powder, cayenne, and salt. The amount depends on your taste buds. Do not overcook your carrots because you lose nutritional value. They do not have to be completely cooked through since you are going to be putting this soup in the blender.

2. While the carrots are cooking, heat some olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium. Add chickpeas to skillet with curry powder, cayenne, and salt. Cook until heated through and the spices have darkened a bit in color. Take off the heat so they do not burn.

3. Be careful with this next step, you do not want to burn yourself. Pour soup into blender. Add coconut milk. Blend until smooth.

4. Pour into bowl and add chickpeas on top. This will make about four servings.

The end result was a spicy, creamy, carrot soup with the wonderful added flavor and texture of the pan fried chickpeas. I love chickpeas.

Oven Roasted Asparagus and Dal

Today for lunch I picked up a bunch of asparagus at Scotts Valley Market along with a packet of dal (Indian lentil soup) spices. I love asparagus. It’s definitely my favorite vegetable. Though I love the way Andrew cooks his asparagus I’m always experimenting. In the Veganomicon they highly recommend oven roasting asparagus. I wanted to try it and see if it was yummy, easy way to cook asparagus. My verdict: disgusting. I hated it! My garlic ended up burning, the asparagus was mushy (even though I cooked it for the lesser amount of time), and it was very greasy. It wasn’t as flavorful as the kind Andrew made either. I’m definitely not cooking it this way again. I was able to get down two stems before throwing it away.

I also made dal with chickpeas and whole grain naan. I bought the naan at the grocery store and cooked it in the oven for a few minutes, turning it over once. I cooked the dal according to the spice package. I had to add salt, curry powder, and chili flakes to make it tastier. I didn’t get a picture because my camera battery ran out before I was done.

The Thing that Killed the Spatula

Here I have the thing that killed my landlord’s rubber spatula. It was supposed to kaju katli, that delightful Indian sweet which is somewhere between cashew butter and brittle, that melts in your mouth. Well, mine is delicious but it is not kaju katli and it killed my landlord’s spatula.

I first encountered kaju katli with my friends Rachel and Lindsay. We bought some at an Indian market next to a head shop in a seedy strip mall in Simi Valley. This does not really narrow down the location since there are a lot of seedy strip malls in Simi Valley with head shops, but this one has a great little Indian market with Indian sweets. The kaju katli was delicious. It is sweet and a little salty and melts in your mouth. I loved it and I was really excited to find a recipe for it on the VeganYumYum blog.

Kaju Katli

Recipe Adapted from VeganYumYum

  • 1 cup cashews, raw and unsalted
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

1. Grind the cashews into as fine a powder as you can.  The writer at VeganYumYum suggests using a coffee grinder or a high powered blender. I do not have a coffee/spice grinder or a high powered blender so I used my little two cup food processor. I could not get a very fine powder with this so my cashews were still fairly chunky.

2. Mix cardamom powder, salt, and cashews together. Heat water and sugar in a pan until boiling. Add cashews and stir well with a rubber spatula. Cook for abut 5 minutes until the mixture thickens. Now here is where things started going wonky for me. My cashew mixture started to burn and it melted my spatula in half. Seriously, in half. I wish I took a picture of it. Pretty amazing stuff.

3. Pour out the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and let cool. Once cooled knead until glassy and roll out a 1/4″ thick. Then cut into diamond shapes. Now, I never got to the kneading or rolling part because mine was wrong wrong wrong looking and I had to rush to work. I did taste it and it was delicious.

I’m not sure what went wrong. Maybe I had the heat on too high but she never specified if you were supposed to lower the heat after adding the cashews. The burners on my stove are really hot and strange. Low is hotter than medium and high is burn your entire kitchen down high. It’s all messed up.

I would definitely make this again though with the expectation that it would not be kaju katli, but cashew brittle instead.

Restaurant Reviews

As a recent traitor to omnivorism and convert to cooking vegan, I feel very lucky to live in an area with as many options as Santa Cruz has. Going out to eat is not difficult, it’s not as easy as it was before, but it’s definitely do-able and delicious. There are a couple restaurants in Santa Cruz that are purely vegetarian/vegan: Saturn Cafe, Malabar/Asian Rose, Charlie Hong Kong (I think, though I’m not 100%), Alfresco, and Dharmas.  There is also Black China Bakery which has a great variety of fine vegan desserts. I have only been once to the actual bakery, but they sell their desserts at some local grocery stores and coffee houses. Many of the restaurants have a large variety of vegetarian items.

This weekend Andrew and I got food from Yan Flower, Zachary’s, the Falafel House, and Sitar. Ugh, that’s a lot of eating out, but we almost always cook. On Friday night we got food at Yan Flower before going to see Robin Hood.  Before this weekend Andrew was convinced that there was no Chinese food restaurant that was better than competent. I told him that Yan Flower was pretty good compared to all others in Santa Cruz and therefore could possibly be considered “good”.  We got hot tea, vegetable potstickers, white steamed rice, salty and chilli pepper tofu, and Andrew got Mongolian Lamb. The potstickers were very good, but a little hot (as in temperature) and I almost burned my mouth. The rice was actually good for steamed rice: fluffy and tender. The salty and chilli pepper tofu was fried tofu, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and onions. It was not as salty or spicy as I remember it, but the tofu texture was great. Andrew described it as “egg like” and he enjoyed it as much as he could enjoy tofu. He said the Mongolian Lamb was very good as well.

After taking the night to recover from the mediocrity that was Robin Hood (or Gladiator 2010: Time Travel to The Dark Ages), Andrew and I got breakfast at Zachary’s. Zachary’s is an insanely popular breakfast venue on the main drag downtown. It usually would be insanely crowded at 9am on a Saturday, but we were lucky due to the craptastic weather that we are experiencing mid-May.

I got coffee with soy milk, tofu scramble with avocado, vegan home fries, and oatmeal molasses bread. They make their breads in house and they are all amazing, but oatmeal molasses is my favorite. I thoroughly enjoyed the bread with the avocado spread on it and the home fries were tasty. Tofu scramble just isn’t my thing and this had a rotting garlic scent to it. Andrew enjoyed his scrambled eggs, sausage, and pancakes with Earl Grey Tea.

Later that day we went to check out the Greek Festival in downtown Santa Cruz. There wasn’t anything to it this year: just a bunch of different food booths. This was mostly desserts with a gyro place and another place where you could get souvlaki. There was no falafel which was what Andrew was looking for. Instead we ended up going to the Falafel House on Walnut Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. The Falafel House is a Syrian/Middle Eastern restaurant. I got the vegetarian combo platter which consisted of baba ghanoush, pita bread, taboulleh salad, falafel, and hummus. Now, I fucked up. I ate the regular yogurt sauce on the falafel instead of the vegan tahini sauce. I didn’t know that they were going to put the yogurt sauce on the falafel and I didn’t feel like bothering them to change it.

I enjoyed the falafel, hummus, and pita bread. I liked the baba ghanoush as well which surprised me since I don’t like eggplant. I definitely think I make better hummus though. I didn’t like the taboulleh salad too much, but I still tried to eat it and it wasn’t wretched. I think I don’t like taboulleh. Another great thing about the Falafel House is the fact that they are always playing Syrian MTV or some other music video channel. Oh and they’re onion rings are amazing.

Today we went out for lunch/dinner instead of cooking because we were bummed after the Sharks losing the first game of the conference finals. Andrew got pizza at Pizza My Heart (a local San Francisco Bay Area chain that began in Capitola). My favorite slice at PMH is pesto. It was the first thing with pesto that I ever liked and converted me to a pesto lover. Screw you campus dining halls for making me afraid of pesto for so long.

At Sitar, I got Chana Masala (vegan chickpea/garbanzo bean curry), vegan naan, basmat rice, ice berg lettuce crap in a compartment, and raita (which I didn’t eat since it’s made with yogurt). The chana masal had wonderful texture: thick sauce, creamy garbanzo beans, melt in your mouth pieces of onion, but it the curry could have been spicier. The rice was a good texture and the naan was good.