Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Yesterday, I was tidying up my Indian recipes on my computer. All of a sudden it occurred to me that I haven’t done much Indian cooking recently. I was especially missing my Aloo Matar (potatoes and peas) and it seemed like I may have cooked it a million and a half years ago. I quickly checked the radiation levels in my fridge and for that I mean ingredients. Eventually decided to make my aloo matar and something else. That something else is below…


My Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce recipe was inspired by Meena Pathak’s Chingri malai curry from her book; Flavours of India.

Faux-prawns in a Coconut Cream Sauce

Meena Pathak says that the dish is from the east coast of India. Of course, it uses real prawns but I substituted them with vegan/vegetarian prawns. The recipe also calls for bay leaves but I didn’t have any. So, I left it out completely.
Serves 2

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 vegan/vegetarian king prawns, thawed and cut into 2
½ cup frozen baby green beans
5 baby corns, chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic
1 piece ginger (about an inch)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves
2 green cardamom pods
2.5 cm (1 in) piece of cinnamon stick, broken into 3 (I used a very thin one)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon plain natural yogurt
270 ml coconut milk
Salt to taste

• Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a frying pan and add vegetarian prawns, green beans, baby corn and turmeric. Fry them on high heat until they are crispy. Remove and set aside.
• Place the onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and process to a fine paste.
• Wipe the pan with paper towel. Add the remaining oil to the pan (1 tablespoon) and add the cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon.
• Reduce the heat, and add the onion, garlic and ginger paste to the pan. Stir-fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
• Add 1 teaspoon turmeric and red chilli powder. Sprinkle with a little water and stir well.
• Add the yogurt and mix well. Pour in the coconut milk and return the vegetarian prawns, green beans and baby corn to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.
• Serve with plain boiled rice.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)

Recipe: Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)

Aloo Matar

Aloo Matar (Potatoes with Peas) is one of my favourite vegetarian Indian dishes of all time. Partly because it was the first Indian dish I ever learnt to cook.

Aloo means potato and matar means peas, by the way. It is a dry style Indian dish which can be added to other dishes like a daal or another main dish. I found the recipe in Shehzah Husain’s Vegetarian Indian cookbook many years ago. I make changes all the time like (you know me) but I have the original recipe here for you. Enjoy!

Aloo Matar (Potatoes and Peas)
Tomato puree (1 large tomato)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon garlic pulp
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons corn oil
2 onions, diced
125 g (4 oz) peas (I use baby peas because they cook faster)
300 ml (1/2 pint) corn oil
3 potatoes, roughly diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
½ green pepper, deseeded and sliced
½ red pepper, deseeded and sliced

• Mix the tomato puree, ground coriander, chilli powder, garam masala, garlic, turmeric, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl and set aside.
• Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onions and fry until golden brown. Pour the tomato puree and spice mixture into pan, lower the heat and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and set aside.
• Heat the remaining corn oil in a karahi or deep frying pan to 180C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds, add the potatoes and fry them until they have golden edges and are cooked through. Remove the potatoes dice from the pan and add to the peas and spice mixture.
• Finally, add the fresh coriander and sliced green and red peppers and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Serve the dish hot.

Anah Daata Sukhi Bhaava! (Bon Appetit!)

Vegan Prawns in a Spicy Tomato Sauce

I found this recipe in Meena Pathak’s Flavours of India cookbook long time ago and it is called Karhai Jheenga. As Mrs Pathak says and I quote:

“It takes its name from karhai, the round-bottomed, cast iron pan in which it is cooked.”

I used to have one. I remember buying it from Fiji Market in Newtown when I first came to Sydney. However, because of that round bottom, I can’t use it on my electric stove. It’s a shame because food tastes better when cooked in karhai. Even deep-frying is a total bliss but it just doesn’t work on a flat electric stove unfortunately. Anyway, you could use a non-stick, electric wok instead. That’s what I do.

vegan prawns in spicy tom sauce (1280x956)


8 Lamyong Vegetarian Prawns, thawed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, crushed
Ginger (about 3cm), peeled and grated
2 medium sized tomatoes, peeled and diced (try to reserve its juice)
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
A handful fresh coriander, chopped finely

• Cut the prawns into two and then put them in a pot with enough water. Boil the prawns until cooked fully. Drain and set aside.
• Heat the oil, add the cumin seeds and when they begin to crackle add the diced onions and fry for 10 minutes. Add crushed garlic and grated ginger and fry for another minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, turmeric and red chilli powder.
• Sauté and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with a little water if needed.
• When the oil begins to separate, add the prawns, crushed black pepper and chilli flakes. Cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly.
• Remove from the heat and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve immediately with basmati rice.

Deep-Fried Spiced Baby Potatoes

deep-fried spiced baby potatoes (956x1280)
I am the queen of doing things differently. Let me explain; the recipe below is from Meena Patak’s cookbook called Indian Cooking for Family and Friends. I remember making it once before although I cannot remember what changes I made on the day. Because this is something I do. I add something, change things. This time, though, I took notes and photos.

Please note that I have enclosed the original recipe at the end of this post.

10 new potatoes (I used tiny little ones)
1/2 piece Kashmiri chilli (whole)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, peeled and sliced thinly
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), washed and chopped
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Salt for frying onions

• Boil the new potatoes in their skin until they are cooked. Drain and allow to cool.
• Meanwhile, dry roast the chilli and cumin seeds in a pan until they are fragrant. By using a pestle and mortar, crush them roughly.
• When the new potatoes are cool enough to handle, transfer them onto a flat place and press to flatten slightly.
• Heat the oil for deep-frying in a large heavy-based pan. Add the new potatoes to the hot oil and deep-fry for 5 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
• Remove the potatoes from the oil and drain on absorbent paper towel.
• Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan. Add the onion and ½ tsp salt and fry them until the onions are nice and brown. Add the chilli and cumin towards the end of cooking and stir well. Quickly mix them with the potatoes and fresh coriander. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve hot.

The original recipe by Meena Patak:
Deep-Fried Spiced Baby Potatoes
I make this when I have leftover cooked new potatoes –it makes a very good starter or accompaniment.
Serves four

400 g (14 oz) new potatoes
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
¼ teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground roasted cumin seeds (see page 22)
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon chopped fresh coriander
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

If you are using uncooked potatoes, boil them in their skins until they are cooked. Drain and allow to coll. When cool, hold each potato in your hands and press to flatten slightly.
Heat the oil for deep-frying in a large heavy-based pan to 180°C (350°F). Add the potatoes to the hot oil and deep-fry for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
Remove from the oil and drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Place in a bowl, add the remaining ingredients to the potatoes and mix well. Serve hot, drizzled with a little natural yogurt, if liked, and accompanied by Coriander and Mint Raita.

Tip on page 22: To roast cumin seeds, place them in a glass bowl or on a plate and cook in the microwave on high for 30-40 seconds. Crush coarsely using a pestle and mortar. Roasted cumin can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2-3 months.

Cauliflower Pakoras and Mango Chutney

This is a very much loved Indian snack/starter in our family. Both recipes –cauliflower pakora and mango chutney- came from an Ayuvedic cooking class notes that we did together with my husband during my early days in Sydney. Serve these lovely pakoras with Mango Chutney –recipe below- or any other chutney you like.

You will end up with more chutney than you need for the pakoras here. Place the left-over chutney in a clean jar and store in the fridge. It makes an excellent addition to burgers and sandwiches.

Recipe for Cauliflower Pakoras

1 cup besan flour (chickpea flour), sifted
Water to make batter (add gradually until the right consistency is reached)
3 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ bunch fresh coriander, washed, dried and chopped
½ cauliflower, cut into florets and blanched
Oil for deep frying

To make the batter:
• Mix together spices, coriander, ginger, besan flour and water and whisk into thick batter.
• Let it sit for 20 minutes in the fridge.

• Steam the cauliflower until just tender. Drain and cool after steaming. I usually put it in the fridge for at least ½ hour. They get firmer and fry better this way.
• Dip florets into batter and fry slowly to golden brown (you might like to use gloves as the turmeric leaves a yellow stain, especially under the nails).
• Serve with mango chutney.

Recipe for Mango Chutney

2 large very ripe mangoes, peeled, stoned, squeezed and scraped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1-2 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (I used Macro)
¾-1 cup raw sugar

• Heat the oil in a saucepan.
• Add cumin seeds and gently roast.
• Add chilli and swirl around.
• Add the mango pulp, then the sugar.
• Cook gently, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes.
• Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Stir-Fried Okra with Onion and Spices

This was a side dish to all the other Indian dishes we had two days ago. Because, I already posted some of the other recipes before I thought this one, too, deserves the same fame as the others.

300 gr okra
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

• Soak the okra in a large bowl of lightly salted water for about 5 minutes.
• Trim away the stem just above the ridge, then slice the okra into miniature wheels.
• Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add the onions until the onions are browned. Add the spices and fry for about 30 seconds, then add the okra and season with salt. Stir well and cook , stirring frequently to prevent the okra from sticking to the pan, for about 8 minutes or until done.
• Drizzle lemon juice just before you remove the dish from the heat.
• Garnish with fresh coriander and serve.