Today’s guest post comes to us from Sandy of mango on an apple. Sandy and I were a year apart at the same high school, and somehow reconnected after ten years, despite a distance of 3,400 kilometers, via the Internet. She’s now travelling India and having grand adventures, and graciously offered a recipe from a cooking class she took along the way. I’m making this tonight for Meatless Monday.
On our year off to find the cure for quarter-life crisis, we began in India where in addition to sightseeing and avoiding cow poop, we took a cooking class in Udaipur at Shashi’s Cooking Classes. We learned lots of Indian cooking methods for rice, naan, and curries, plus how to make a delicious cup of masala chai. Check out mango on an apple to see more of our trip so far!
In keeping with the theme of cooking healthy and staying low-GI, I thought the vegetable pulao would be great here, along with a nice fruit lassi to finish off the meal.
Pulao means more vegetables, less rice. Biryani, on the other hand, means more rice, less vegetables. The vegetables used in this recipe are flexible – use what’s in season, but make sure to include something crunchier in texture, like cabbage, to give the dish more personality.
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 2 shallots, sliced*
- 2 tsp. dry anise/fennel seeds
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, sliced julienne
- 1/2 cauliflower, sliced into long strips
- 1/4 small cabbage, sliced julienne
- 1 carrot, sliced julienne
- 1/2 tsp. – 1 tsp. chili powder, to taste
- 1 tsp. coriander powder
- 1 generous pinch of turmeric
- 1 generous pinch of garam masala
- 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup water, depending on the vegetables you choose
- 3 small firm tomatoes
- 2 cups cooked basmati rice
- 2 tbsp. cashews, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp. sultana raisins, soaked in water for about 5 minutes before using so they’re nice and plump
- Salt to taste
*Shashi used red onions, but they were really small and flavourful, so I’d suggest using shallots if cooking this in North America
- Heat the oil in a large pan until hot, and then add anise seeds and onion. Cook until onions become translucent and start to caramelize.
- Add in the sliced vegetables and green onions, chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric, and garam masala. Correct with salt to taste.
- Add the water, stir, and then cover and let simmer for about five minutes.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes, stir well, and simmer for another five minutes.
- Once the vegetables are cooked through (not necessarily mushy, but if you like softer vegetables, give it a little longer), add in rice and combine.
- Add in the cashews and raisins, toss together, and correct again with salt.
- Serve with freshly chopped cilantro and perhaps a bit of grated cheese if you have some on hand.
After a meal in India, with all the spicy tastes lingering in your mouth, the best dessert is often a lassi. Lassi in India is a milky drink, although depending on the fruit used, sometimes it is a bit more like a smoothie. The best kind of lassi we found was plain, sweetened, and sold in terra cotta cups that you throw out when you’re done!
- 1 cup pureed fruit (banana and mango are typical choices in India, and I think peach, when in season, would be delicious as well)
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- Pinch of cardamom powder, or open up two cardamom pods and crush the seeds between your fingers and a little bit of granulated sugar
- 2 – 4 tbsp. of milk or water, depending on the thickness you’d like, the thickness of the yogurt you use, and the fruit in question
Whisk everything together, and serve. If you’re feeling extravagant, top with one tablespoon of finely shredded coconut.