Yes, that’s right. Sometimes I have no restraint. I couldn’t decide which dish to make so I decided to make them all!
Far Left: Baingan Bharta and Green Mung Daal
Far Right: Spicy Okra and Saoji Tempeh
Spicy Squash Curry with Saoji Tempeh and Dosa
Too much for my IKEA bowls! Everything was fantastic, and easily put together with some prep work. To break it down, the full menu review dish by dish:
This is the Indian equivalent to baba ganoush. It’s a delightful curry – almost a chutney – of roasted eggplant, tomato, and wonderful spices. Without the oil of baba ganoush! It would make a fabulous spread on roti, na’an, or toast, but I ate it right out of the bowl. It was time consuming to make, but only because you have to roast the eggplant. This step is definitely worth it. The roasted eggplant gives the dish a depth and creaminess that would be missing. I can see this dish entering the dip rotation in my fridge.
The recipe can be found here: Baingan Bharta
Green Mung Daal
This was a combination of two recipes that I found, because I couldn’t even decide which daal to go with! So it is spinach and roasted garlic spicy green mung daal, and is heaven. Definitely not work appropriate unless you come prepared with a travel-sized mouthwash bottle – you’ll need it! I am new to green mung beans, and I am a convert. I love lentils and these pretty beans add another option to my dried bean cupboard. They cook in about the same time as red lentils, and are just as easy. They are creamy in the daal, with enough whole beans left to not make you think you’re eating baby food. The daal itself has a depth of flavour from the spices and garlic that was a unique daal – definitely a departure from the standard red and yellow varieties. The spinach added an extra pop to the daal, just when you think you had it figured out! It comes together easily, and would be perfect for a weeknight meal.
The recipe that I followed *most* is this one: Green Mung Daal with Burnt Garlic Tadka
When I was cooking the mung beans, I put 1c. beans with 4c. water and added 0.25t. lemon juice and about 2c. of spinach. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook like you would lentils – the mung beans will expand and be mushy (to taste, of course!). I followed the rest of this recipe as-is.
I found fresh okra in my local Asian grocery store, and picked it up on a whim. Okra seems to be the vegetable that comes with issues – either you love it or you don’t. My sister had a roommate in University who would only eat okra. Personally, I’d had it once in some gumbo thing that I wasn’t a big fan of, but I’m willing to chalk that up to my kidney bean issues and not the okra. Plus, a slimy vegetable that doesn’t come from the ocean? I had to give it a shot to see where I sat on the fence!
As it turns out, I am not passionately for or against okra. The slime factor was really cool! When you cut fresh okra after washing, this slime appears from nowhere. It’s easily patted off with some paper towel, but it was kinda like the slime that slugs leave 🙂 The recipe that I chose to highlight the okra was a simple fried version, with a spice profile consistent with the other curries I was making. I never got the okra to be ‘crispy’, but it was a lovely side dish. The okra doesn’t have a strong flavour, allowing the Indian pickle spice mix to shine through. Do not skip the pre-roast and grind step. Making your own spice mixes is so satisfying, plus it makes your kitchen smell amazing. This particular spice mix will become a staple condiment in my kitchen. Delicious! The okra finger-sized shape properties make it perfect for snacking – I brought the leftovers to work the next day to nosh on, and cleared out the stash. Addictive for sure!
The okra recipe can be found here: Crispy Okra with Indian Pickle Spices
… the dish that started it all. Any recipe that has a spice list as long as my arm immediately goes onto the ‘must try’ list. And is it worth it! Every single spice on this list was found at Superstore or Bulk Barn, so it wasn’t even that difficult to stock the spice rack. I have never had the Saoji Chicken that this is an adaptation of, but this tempeh recipe is one of the best yet! I usually boil my tempeh for about 10min before marinating so the marinade really soaks into the tempeh. With this recipe, the tempeh is boiled IN the marinade, saturating it with flavour. The spice mix – again well worth the pre-toast and grind yourself – is delicious, and has a great kick. Warm and comforting, this dish is definitely one of the stars of the evening. Potentially my new favourite way to cook tempeh as well. Although the list is quite clearly from India, I think the tempeh would lend itself well to tacos, enchiladas, pita pockets, or other wrapped goodies. Add some cilantro-lime crema made with soy yoghurt and you’ve got a supreme pita pocket on your hands! This dish is the epitome of ‘worth the effort’!
The recipe can be found here: Saoji/Savji Tempeh
Spicy Squash Curry
I love squash. I didn’t use to – this is a recent love starting when I gained control of my own kitchen. I grew up with squash one way: Acorn squash cooked in the microwave, then mashed to baby food consistency and liberally sprinkled with brown sugar. This still gives me the shudders. So in my adult life, I am doing my best to explore all the various delicious ways to eat squash – and there are many! This Spicy Squash Curry is a super quick throw-together meal that makes a lot and is absolutely delicious. If I grew up with this as my squash dish, my love affair with these gourds would have started at a young age! The squash is indeed very spicy, and the underlying spices give it a nice warm flavour. I added some spinach to the pot, and it added a touch of green to the dish that made it look extra pretty. If you have squash issues like I did, try this recipe first! You will be blown away by what squash can be!
I served it with some of my dosa and some of the Saoji Tempeh, because I couldn’t get enough of it!
The recipe can be found here: Spicy Squash Curry
After this feast, my tummy was very happy! And because each recipe cooked 4-6 portions, I could enjoy the dishes throughout the week. I am now a convert of toasting my own spices and making my own to-order mixes. I think that extra step makes all the difference. Enjoy!