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)
Ingredients:
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

Method:
• 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 Izmir Kofte made with Bounty Bites

Bounty Bites

This is the first time I am using Bounty Bites and I have to admit I am impressed. They are frozen properly, so you take any number of pieces out if you don’t need to cook all of it in one go.

As for the originality of the dish, Izmir is the name of a coastal city in Turkey and I used to make this dish with Sanitarium’s veggie mince before but they don’t make it anymore. So I veganised Izmir Kofte with the help of Bounty Bites!

Ingredients:
12 Bounty Bites
2 medium-sized potatoes (I used Nicolas)
1 small tomato (sliced thinly)
1 heaped tbsp concentrated tomato paste (plain variety)
1 clove garlic
A handful continental parsley (chopped)
1 cup drinking water
1 tsp sweet paprika
Salt
Pepper

Method:
• Wash and peel potatoes. Slice them thinly and deep fry them until slightly brown. Set aside. I did them in Actifry for about 15 minutes with so little oil.

• Lightly fry Bounty Bites in a frying pan. All you need is 1 minute on each side. Once they are slightly done remove them and again, set aside.

• In a small pot, dilute tomato paste with water. Add sweet paprika, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiled turn the heat off. Add chopped parsley and stir.

• I used two oven proof ramekins which are about 14cm in diameter. Pour a thin layer of the sauce as the first layer. One layer of potatoes and one layer of Bounty Bites then another layer of potatoes -as shown in the photo below.

Bounty Bites

• Once you have finished layering the potatoes and Bounty Bites, finish off with tomato slices -as shown in the photo below.

Bounty Bites

• Pour over the rest of the sauce and bake them in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C. Serve hot and enjoy!

Mum’s Kısır (Turkish Tabbouleh Salad)

Kısır is Turkish version of Tabbouleh. I guess there are two types of Kısır in Turkish cuisine. One with tomato paste –or hot pepper paste- and one without. My mum’s version is more on the light, salad side. She used to make one big bowl of it for her tea parties. She also had a way of dressing up cucumbers which you might find interesting.

Ingredients:
1 cup fine bulgur
1 small onion
1 tomato
1 handful flat leave (continental) parsley
1 handful fresh spearmint
1 handful fresh dill
2 leaves lettuce
1 spring onions
1 small cucumber
1 lemon
100 ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method:
• Place bulgur in a large salad bowl. Cover bulgur with boiling water. Leave it for a few minutes until the water is absorbed and the grains have swollen. Fluff up with a fork.

• Wash lettuce, mint, dill, parsley and tomato. Cut the top and the ends of spring onion. Wash, dry and chop mint, dill, parsley and spring onion finely. Cut lettuce into 2 cm pieces. Cut tomato into wedges. Peel onion, halve and slice thinly. Add to the salad bowl.

• Wash and peel cucumber (I use my potato peeler for the job). Cut the ends. Scratch cucumber all the way by using a fork, forming four lines. Continue until you have formed lines all around. Then slice.

That’s what the cucumbers look like when they are sliced.

• Add cucumber, paprika and black pepper to the bowl.

• Squeeze lemon. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Pour over the salad, toss and serve cold. Check the seasoning and add more salt to your liking.

Vegan Singapore Noodles

SINGAPORE NOODLES (1280x938)

Ingredients:
80 g dried rice vermicelli
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup vegetarian oyster sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
100 g Lamyong roast duck or pork, thinly sliced
1 tbsp oil
1 stick celery, finely sliced
1 small carrot, julienned
2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
1 tbsp Asian curry powder
1/2 tsp sesame oil
50 g bean sprouts

Method:

  •  Cover the noodles with cold water and leave for 30 minutes or until soft.
  • Place the garlic, ginger, 1 tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce and soy sauce in a bowl and mix well. Add your vegan duck or pork, toss to coat and marinade for 30 minutes.
  • Heat a wok until very hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. stir fry duck or pork until browned. Add the celery, carrot and half the spring onion, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the curry powder and stir fry for 2 minuytes or until aromatic.
  • Add the noodles and mix well to coat and heat through. Then stir in the remaining vegetarian oyster sauce, soy sauce, spring onion, sesame oil and bean sprouts. Serve hot.

Şehriyeli Sebze Çorbası or Vegetable Soup with Turkish Vermicelli

I adopted this recipe from a non-vegan one by leaving chicken and chicken stock out and replacing them with vegetables and Massel chicken style stock powder. For extra flavour, I use Continental Stock Pot Vegetable which comes in a pack of 4 little pots and one pot is enough for this soup.  Make sure you use good quality water as water is your biggest ingredient in soups.  If you use tap water, the chlorine in water dominates
the taste and it intensifies during the cooking process.

Ingredients:
1 small carrot
1 small potato
1/3 cup Şehriye (Turkish vermicelli that can be purchased from Gima in Auburn)
2 teaspoon Massel Stock Powder Chicken Style
1x Continental Stock Pot vegetable
1 litre drinking water
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 teaspoon corn starch
3/2 bunch continental parsley
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 lemon

Method:

  • Peel both potato and carrot and grate.
  • Wash and finely chop parsley. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large pot and add grated potato and carrot. Sprinkle them  with chicken style stock, pepper and sweet paprika until the vegetables are slightly cooked. If you are using stainless steel pot and your vegetables stick to the bottom don’t worry as they will release themselves when you cover with
    boiled water.
  • Boil 1 litre water in kettle and add hot water to the pot along with stock pot vegetable gradually. Make sure that stock pot dissolves completely.
  • In a small bowl mix corn starch with cold water let it dissolve. Set
    aside.
  • Add şehriye to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. When şehriye is cooked, give corn starch another stir and add gradually.  This will thicken your soup.
  • Bring the pot to boil. Before you remove the soup from heat add finely chopped parsley and divide your soup into 4 large soup bowls.
  • Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Roast Kumera (Sweet Potatoes) and Kipfler Potatoes

Roast Kumera and Kipfler Potatoes

I haven’t been brought up with roast potatoes and they have never been my thing until I moved to Australia but I’m loving them. In winter, we have a sort of roast
vegetables pretty much every week and we have it with Sanitarium Vegie Roast.

Ingredients:
2 large kumera (sweet potatoes)
6 kipfler potatoes
2 teaspoon Herbie’s Cajun Spice Mix
Olive oil
Salt
Black pepper

Method:
• First, preheat your oven to 180ºC. my oven is absolutely brutal so I go for 150 ºC which is like 180 or 190 ºC in normal standards.

• Peel your Kipflers and cut any longer ones into 3 pieces and the smaller ones into 2 pieces so they’re all an even-size.

• Wash your potatoes in cold water to get rid of any extra starch then tip into a large pot, cover with cold water and season well. Bring to the boil and cook for about 15 minutes after the water is boiled.

• In the meantime, peel sweet potatoes and clean them with paper towel.

• When your Kipflers are parboiled, drain them and return to the pot so that they can be completely dry before they are baked.

• In a large bowl, toss Kipflers and sweet pottaoes with olive oil and transfer into a baking dish in one layer. Season with salt, pepper and Herbie’s Cajun Spice mix (be generous with spices). Toss well and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. Take them out and give them a good stir. Pop them back in for another 20 minutes.

• After 40 minutes of baking them should be fine but each oven varies. So poke them with a knife to see if they are baked thoroughly or not. If the knife goes in fine then they are done!

Sprido – Spring Onion and Avocado Dip

Fusion of spring onion and avocado. I have had this avocado dip recipe for a long time which uses hard-boiled egg and thought about “veganising” it. So I experimented with silken tofu but Tofutti is just as fine as anything.

Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado
50 gr silken tofu or Tofutti
1 spring onion
1 large clove garlic
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method:
• Cut the avocado all the way around by using a sharp knife. Twist into two pieces. Hold the half with the stone in one hand, hit stone sharply with blade of knife, twist knife to release the stone. You either mash the avocado while in the skin or scrape it into a bowl and then mash it with silken tofu or Tofutti making sure that the mixture is smooth.

• Wash and trim spring onion and chop its white bit finely. Slice the green bit and set aside (You don’t need the whole thing; only a little bit of it is enough. Rest can be added to the dip itself).

• Crush garlic and add to the bowl with chopped spring onion. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

• Transfer Sprido into a serving dish and decorate it with the green bits you set aside earlier on and serve with crudités or bread sticks.

Note: If you would like to spice it up a little, use 1 tsp of chilli flakes instead of pepper.

Recipe: Peas and Carrots or Bezelye Yemeği

Peas and Carrots or Bezelye Yemeği Peas and Carrots or Bezelye Yemeği is an incredibly healthy dish from Turkey. With the addition of potatoes, it is also quite filling. You could use either fresh garden peas for the dish or frozen. It is best served with Turkish pilaf.

Peas and Carrots or Bezelye Yemeği
Ingredients:

1/2 kilo peas (fresh or frozen)
1 small carrot (diced)
1 small potato (diced)
1 onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste (plain variety)
A handful dill or parsley
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pot. Add onion, diced carrots and potatoes and fry until they are soft.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, dilute tomato paste, add paprika and pepper. Add more water.
  • Add peas and diluted tomato paste. Cover and once it starts boiling reduce the heat and simmer until peas are cooked.
  • Sprinkle with dill or parsley and serve immediately.

peas carrots

Vegan Cheese Spread/Meze

Vegan Cheese Spread/Meze

This is one of my Turkish mezes and its vegan version is just as good as the non-vegan version. So, there is no compromise on the taste department.
The original recipe uses feta cheese but I tried making it with vegan cheese -that is
Cheezly White Cheddar- and it turned out to be just as fantastic as the
vegetarian version.  I bought mine from Vegan Perfection stand during The
Cruelty Free Festival some years ago. The crumbily texture works well in this
recipe. You can buy your vegan cheese from Cruelty Free Shop or Vegan Perfection.

Ingredients:
½ pack Cheezly White Cheddar (the type that does not melt)
¼ cup walnuts
1 tbsp tomato paste (plain)
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp
Ground sweet paprika

Method:

  • Cut the vegan cheese. Put it in a flat plate and mash it well with a fork. Transfer into a bowl.
  • Roughly chop the walnuts and crush garlic.
  • Combine the vegan cheese with paprika, cumin, walnuts, garlic and tomato paste. Drizzle the mixture with olive oil and mix well.
  • Either serve it as a dip with dipping bread or spread on mini toasts.
Note: It is best to make this dip just before serving. However, if this is not the case put it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. Take it out ½ hour before serving as it gets hard in the fridge which makes it difficult to spread.

Carrot and Zucchini Pilaf (Kuşadası Pilavı)

pilav

I spent three months in Kuşadası (Turkey) this year. After my mum’s funeral I had to sort out legal stuff which took ages. In the meantime, I decided to rediscover Aegean style of cooking. Luckily, I had this beautiful market right outside my door every Friday where peasants sell their unusual local herbs that are unique to that area as well your usual fruit and vegetables.

This rice dish basically shaped itself up. I remember having it with grilled mushrooms, banana chillies and onions one night and named it after the location where it was created.

Ingredients:
1 large carrot
1 medium size zucchini
1 cup jasmine rice
1/2 bunch dill
4 spring onions
1 1/2 cup water
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Method:

  • Peel carrot with a potato peeler and dice.
  • Wash zucchini, cut woody ends and dice like carrots.
  • In an shallow pot, heat some olive oil and fry carrots, stiring occasionally, after carrots soften a little add diced zucchini but do not cook them thoughly.
  • When the zucchini is slightly soft add rice. Season with salt and pepper and
    continue stirring until rice is crunchy.
  • Add water and once it is boiled reduce the heat and put the lid on. I strongly recommend using a glass lid because it helps you monitor the cooking stages.
  • Chop spring onion and dill and set them aside.
  • Once all the water is absorbed remove the lid, stir rice with a spatula as a
    spoon would break rice easily and put a layer of paper towel and put the lid
    back on.
  • Leave it like that for 15 minutes and add chopped spring onions and dill
    just before serving.

Note: This dish is extremely nice even if you serve cold.