Friday, August 14, 2020

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

I had the opportunity to watch my daughter-in-law bake Vegetable Shepherd's Pie about seven years ago. Last week I tried making a Vegan version using the available ingredients in my kitchen for my dear grand daughter. It turned out well and the family enjoyed the one dish meal which was quite filling and tasty too !

Potatoes ( Cooked and mashed smoothly ) - 2 to 3 cups
Cabbage ( Minced ) - 2 cups
Carrots ( Finely chopped ) - 2 cups
Capsicum ( Minced ) - 2 cups
Beans ( Finely chopped ) - 2 cups
(All vegetables of your choice either grated or minced can be included )
Onion - ( Finely chopped ) - 1 cup
Tomatoes ( Finely chopped ) - 1 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fresh ginger ( grated ) - 1 tbsp
Sambar Powder - 1 tsp ( I love to add this to all my recipes for its flavour and colour!)
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Quinoa - 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts - 12
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Soak Cashew nuts in warm water for half an hour and drain them. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper powder and grind the soaked nuts into a spreadable paste adding little water . Now your Vegan cheese is ready. (Addition of a spoon of nutritional yeast would give it a cheesy flavour )
Wash and soak Quinoa for about fifteen minutes and drain. Add one cup of water and cook on medium flame till the water evaporates.
1. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter cumin seeds.
2. Add chopped onion and grated ginger and saute till it turns glassy.
3. Add tomatoes followed by Sambar Powder and salt , stir and cook till it becomes mushy.
4. Add all the chopped vegetables one by one and stir fry till done.
5. Add cooked quinoa, about two table spoons of mashed potatoes and a dash of pepper powder and blend well with the sauteed vegetables.
Taste the vegetable filling and adjust salt if necessary.
6. Grease a baking dish . Fill it up with the vegetable filling and pat and pack it neatly into the dish.
7. Add a dash of pepper powder and salt to the remaining mashed potatoes and whip well to make it smooth .
8. Spread the whipped potato evenly on top of the vegetables .
9. Spread the Vegan Cashew Cheese evenly on top of the potato layer.
Vegan Shepherd's Pie is ready to be baked.
Bake the pie in a pre heated oven at 350 degree F for twenty minutes until the top turns into a golden brown clolur .
I used the Convection Cooking option in my microwave to bake the Pie. Cooked the Pie for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C in the pre heated oven.
Once the top turns golden in colour allow the Vegan Shepherd's Pie to slightly cool down and then remove it carefully from the oven .


Scoop out a portion of the Vegan Shepherd's Pie into the serving plate and enjoy with tomato sauce.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Karuveppilai Kuzhambu / Curry Leaves Gravy

This month is full of Poojas and festivals traditionally followed by huge spreads of festive food . This is the time when people who follow different types of health diets tend to enjoy their cheat meals to their heart's content . The sudden change in eating routine may cause certain gastrointestinal issues later. Karuveppilai Kuzhambu - a spicy and tangy curry leaf gravy - is a remedial dish to avoid such issues and also to set right the system.

Curry leaves - 2 cups tightly packed ( washed and patted dry )
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tbsp
Split black gram dal - 1 tsp
Red chillies -  3 ( broken )
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Tamarind - a marble size ball ( Soaked in warm water )
Salt - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 1 tsp
Ghee or oil ( for seasoning ) -1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
1. Heat oil in a pan and add the dals , coriander seeds , broken red chillies , cumin seeds and asafoetida  and roast till the ingredients emanate a pleasant aroma.
2. Add curry leaves and saute till the leaves wilt.

3. Allow the ingredients to cool down and grind them together in a mixer .
4. Add the soaked tamarind and one glass of water to the ground mixture and once again blend together in the mixer.
5. Pour back the curry leaf and spice liquid into the pan .
6. Add salt and cook till it thickens into a Kuzhambu / gravy. ( The gravy should not be too thick like  chutney nor too runny like soup.)

7. Splutter mustard seeds in 1/2 tsp of ghee or oil and pour it over the Kuzhambu / gravy.

Enjoy the flavoursome Karuveppilai Kuzhambu / Curry Leaves Gravy with a morsel of steaming hot rice at the beginning of a meal.