Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bindi Masala, Pakoras and an Indian Restaurant too!

Froggy and I went to an Indian Restaurant a couple weeks ago, and it was SOO good.
Pabla Indian Cuisine is an all-vegetarian Indian restaurant, (it's certified kosher, even!) not far from here, in Renton, WA. Possibly one of my favorite places ever! Everything we've ever had there has been just wonderful! There are a few non-vegan dishes on the menu, but if you tell them "No dairy" they know EXACTLY how to do your dinner.

As you can see from the table-full, we couldn't decide, and ended up with PUH-LENTY to take home as delicious leftovers!!

At any rate, this delicious dinner inspired our Indian food tonight. (And more importantly, creative ways to use up some veggies.) My oldest isn't a huge okra fan, though she will eat it this way.

Both of the following recipes are originally from... somewhere... but over the past few years, I've added, tweaked, adjusted, strayed far from the original - to make them exactly the way our family likes them. They're super easy too, which is always a 'plus' in this house! I do tend to keep quite a few Indian spices around though, which makes these easy to throw together...

Bindi (Okra) Masala

2 tablespoons peanut or light olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 inches fresh ginger root, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 can chopped, stewed tomatos (*gasp!* or about 2 large fresh ones)
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 lbs. fresh, small okra, rinsed well, patted dry and tops trimmed flat
1 teaspoon Garam Masala (I admit I buy this blend already-mixed, from an Indian Spice Market in Seattle- however, making your own is WONDERFUL and recipes abound on the Internet)

Grind ginger and garlic into a paste using a small food processor.
Heat oil in large skillet, over medium heat, add onions, and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and salt; cook, stirring 1 to 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, okra, and green peppers.
If the veggies and seasonings appear dry, add 1/4 cup water. (I like mine a bit on the 'soupy' side) Add garam masala, and cooked covered, 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve with rice. Yum.

Bengali Cauliflower Pakoras

1 head of Cauliflower, cut into small florets
Make the batter:
¾ cup chickpea (besan) flour
¼ cup rice flour (or half cornstarch and half wheat flour)
1 teaspoon Garam Masala (again, I buy mine already mixed, but making your own is easy too!)
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon Asafoetida powder (also known as "hing") this is optional - it's very authenitc and tasty but I can't STAND the smell of the stuff!
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup water, approximately

Sift the besan flour, rice flour and spices into a bowl. The rice flour gives an extra crispy result but you can use just besan flour or substitute part cornstarch and part wheat flour for the rice flour

Mix dry ingredients well. Stir in the water - you want the batter to look like thick cream. I estimate 1½ cups, but it will vary as all flours react differently.
Place a few florets into the batter and as you remove them, shake any excess batter from them - you just want a light covering.

The oil should be around 300°F but if you don't have a thermometer, that's OK, it'll be fine too.
Gently place the pakora into the hot oil, they should start to sizzle right away, then turn the temperature down a little to allow the cauliflower to cook without the batter burning.
When golden (about 1 - 2 minutes), remove onto paper towels to drain.Repeat the process until all the pakora are cooked. Serve while still hot - mint chutney (see below) is awesome with this!

Fresh Mint Chutney

2 ½ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 slice (1-1/2-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ Jalapeno chili, minced
5 teaspoon tamarind paste (or lime juice)
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon lemon juice (omit is using lime juice above)

Blend everything in food processor until thick and well blended. Serve chilled, with Indian foods, especially the hot stuf!



Johanna3 said...

wow that recipes sound great! the food looks so tasty!

Johanna3 said...

Fairly Odd Tofu Mom :
my girl is doing well, but i can say is difficult to grow a child that is so picky eater like her. she did love the rice pudding but without the raisins lol. thanks fo ask about her, that was so sweet.

Midwest Vegan said...

I love Indian food -- yours looks amazing (both the homemade and the restaurant food)!

b36Kitchen said...

those cauliflower pakoras look great!! i'm not a big fan of okra either but your okra recipe sounds yum.


Verdant said...

Indian food totally changed my relationship with veggies. I used to HATE okra. And then I had bindi masala and became a convert :)!

aTxVegn said...

Yum, yum, yum! Indian food is the best and I've found them all to be extremely vegan friendly. I don't do okra, but thanks for the other recipes!

yeaaahtoast said...

I LOVE OKRA! I really think it gets a bad wrap just because people don't know how to prepare it well... But you totally do! This one is going in my recipe TO DO list for sure!