veg indian recipies

Vegetarian Indian Recipes to Make at Home

veg indian recipies

 

BY STEPHANIE KASHETA

My mother introduced me to Indian food at a very young age and forever ruined me for all other foods. In my mind, there is no cuisine in the world that can compare to the depth of flavors resident in traditional Indian dishes. In Las Vegas, my husband and I ate at Mt. Everest, our favorite Indian place nearly every week. Moving from Las Vegas to Cape Cod at the end of 2013 was not only a culture shock, but a shock to my palate. Before we stumbled on the Golden Swan, I used to wake up in night sweats craving poppadoms or galub jamun all of last year.

But as tourist season is in full swing, and the main route to Falmouth will be clogged until the end of summer, I’ve really focused most of my culinary efforts on Indian home cooking. I’d made samosas, dahl and garlic naan before this year, but here are some of my new favorite recipes:

Note: Poppadoms, naan and rice are common sides to accompany most of these dishes. Those of you with more sensitive stomachs may want to opt to add a pinch or so of asafoetida to your main dishes. You can buy this herb online, if you, like me, unfortunately live in a part of the world where Newman’s salsa is as hot as it gets. Also, if you are more budget challenged, as I often am, eking out an existence as a writer, most ethnic sections of your grocery store will sell spice packets for individual use at a fraction of the cost of a full spice jar.

Yellow Jasmine Rice courtesy of Budget Bytes

Pretty much a staple in Indian cuisine to pair with most dishes. I like to pour dal makhani and aloo gobi over a bed of jasmine rice and let it sit for a little bit to develop a very thin “crust” before digging in. I went through a hardcore phase of studying the Bhagavad Gita when I was fifteen and ate this rice with everything during that period.

Poppadom Recipe Courtesy of Curryfrenzy.com

Poppadoms are these marvelously crunchy wafers made of chickpea flour and, like naan,  they can be used to scoop up food. The first poppadum I had was one that my mom gave me off her plate when I was a kid, drenched in cayenne. My head was on fire and I loved it, ever since then, I always try to eat foods to match that level of spiciness.

Aloo Chaat Recipe Courtesy of Tarladalal.com

Aloo Chaat is traditional Northern Indian street fare. My brother introduced me to it at a market near our house just before my husband and I were married and ever since then, I’ve been hooked.

Slow Cooker Aloo Gobi Recipe Courtesy of The Perfect Pantry

Aloo Gobi is a potato and cauliflower dish that features ginger, jalepenos, tomatoes and a plethora of spices. This is a recipe that’s perfect to prepare before work as I’ve done a few times this past month. Cooking the potatoes this way also eliminates the extra step of having to pre-boil the starch off of the potatoes, which I used to hate doing when I was younger. If you’re really crunched for time, you can buy pre-prepared garlic and ginger, but nothing beats the taste of this dish when every ingredient is as fresh as possible.

Samosa Recipe Courtesy of Savour 

Full disclosure, when I first started making samosas, the hardest part was getting the dough right. For those of you who face severe time constraints, phyllo dough works just fine for these empanada-like treats. Also here is a plum sauce for samosa dipping.

Plum Sauce Courtesy of Ifood.tv

The mix of sweetness and spice combined with the savory samosa filling is heaven.

Dal Makhani Recipe Courtesy of Veg Recipes of India

There are two types of Dal, the yellow dal tadka and the black dal makhani, I prefer the black dal. Dal makhani  features lentils and kidney beans and is a perfect side to scoop up with naan and jasmine rice. I could probably eat my body weight in it. Disgusting, I know, but true.

Gulab Jamun Recipe Courtesy of Veg Recipes of India

The first time I had Galub Jamun, I was in LA, eating at an Indian buffet before my brother’s MFA show at Cal Arts. Gulab means rose and jamuns are a type of purple berry that grows in India. They are essentially fried dough balls coated in rose water syrup and they make you feel like royalty when you eat them, minus the guilt that comes afterwards.

Mango Pie Recipe Courtesy of Jingalala.org

Growing up, there was an Indian food restaurant near my house that used to sell mango pie for under five dollars. My siblings and I would always inhale it, or try to steal each other’s portions.

Lassi Recipe Courtesy of Shwetainthekitchen.com

Lassi is the perfect solution to a hot summer day and can be prepared to have either a sweet or a salty flavor. It really was a god-send on those days in Vegas when temperatures shot above 110.

I hope that these recipes will bring some exoticism into your kitchen and onto your table. When I cook these recipes at home, I forget, for a moment, that my family is spread across the country and feel them invisibly surrounding my dinner table again.

ABOUT THE WRITER

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Stephanie Kasheta is a graduate of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she majored in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. She is currently finishing up her MFA in Fiction at Emerson College in Boston. She is a Las Vegas native who recently relocated to Cape Cod with her husband, a veteran of the US Air Force. Stephanie is also step-mother to a seven-year old future writer named Olivia. When not reading or daydreaming of travel abroad, she can be found blowing glass at the Sandwich Glass Museum or working on her short story collection. Follow her on Twitter

 

Feature image Indian spice via Shutterstock

 

 

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