Gujerati Snacks

From Prashad's in Bradford, we had samosas, some kind of battered fried sandwich with a garlicky pureed veg filling, round dumplings filled with spiced mashed potato. Dhokla, patra, snacks. I made a lassi with fresh coriander, garlic, fresh green chilli and a pinch of salt. Fresh baby tomato, and a little raita sauce.

I also made a quick trashy hot chaat:

1 tin new potatoes, drained and cut into small lumps
1 tin pinto beans, or chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Sprinkle with powdered hing and fenugreek.
After about 5 minutes add half a tin of chopped tomatoes, cook til thickened.
Stir well and add 2 handfuls Bombay Mix or your favourite Indian crispy snack.
Heat through, take off the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons natural yoghourt.
Put in serving dish and top with dollop of tamarind sauce.

Served with warm rotis.

With a selection of sweets to finish, I am absolutely podged.

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Fake Baked Beans

John came home late and tired the other night, wanting comfort food for supper. There were no tins of baked beans in the house, so I made him this.

Put a bit of oil in a heavy frying pan, cut up a small tin of PEK or Spam (or some fresh bacon if you've got it, or leftover ham), and fry it, along with half an onion, chopped quite small.
When it's hot and starting to crisp, add a drained tin of random beans (haricot this time, but borlotti, cannelini, or kidney would be fine), and a sprinkling of dry seasonings (paprika, black pepper, thyme, mixed spice). Stir it all up, and add the wet things. A tin of tomatoes, a big squeeze of tomato paste, garlic puree, a glug of BBQ sauce, some Henderson's Relish or Worcestershire sauce. A cup of chicken stock or some water and stock concentrate, or salt if necessary. A spoonful of brown sugar.

Stir it all together and cook for a bit, squidging the tomatoes so they break up. You should end up with a hot dish of beans and meat chunks coated thickly in a slightly spicy, sweet, red sauce. Taste it as you go, and add the things you like. Indian chutneys, brown sauce, ketchup, treacle, chilli sauce, fresh herbs, chunks of cheese.

The whole thing took about quarter of an hour and was very well received – he's asked for it again so I'm doing proper beans with pork belly for tea tonight. Even though it is the middle of summer.

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Baked Aubergines with Mango and Lentil Dhal

Another one from Vegetarian Good Food, Christmas 2002. 331 cals per portion, suggests serving with naan bread and yoghourt, which would AT LEAST double the count. Recipe for 4 portions.

  • 12 baby aubergines (or use 4 medium ones and amend cooking times to suit)
  • 3 tbsps balti curry paste
  • 1 tbsp chilli oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 100 gms red lentils
  • 600 ml veggie stock
  • 1 large tomato seeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • 1 fresh mango, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
  • 3 tbsps chopped fresh coriander

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6.

Halve the aubergines and scoop out some flesh to make a cavity. (Chop the flesh and set it aside.)

Brush the cut side of the aubergines with half the curry paste, place in a roasting tin skin-side down. Drizzle with the chilli oil and bake for 15-20 minutes until beginning to soften.

Heat the olive oil and cook onion and garlic until beginning to soften. Add the remaindered aubergine flesh and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in curry paste, cook 1 minute. Add lentils and stock and bring to boil. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until lentils have absorbed nearly all the liquid and are soft.

Add tomato, mango chutney, fresh mango, salt and pepper to taste, cook a further 5 minutes. Stir in the coriander.

Divide filling between baked aubergines. Return to oven and bake 10 more minutes.

Why olive oil? it would add nothing useful. Sunflower or grapeseed would be fine. One inch is a bit big for mango cubes for baby aubergines, I'd think about half that size.

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Korma-Style Dhal with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower

It seems to be a night for wintry meals. The heating came on full, and we ate drgourmet's Braised Tuna with Ginger and Plum Sauce. Following on from the previous post, I also came across this in my recipe cards – similar but with more veggies. Waitrose again, November 2005.

Recipe for 4, 407 cals per portion

  • 1 large onion, thickly sliced
  • 3 tbsp Patak's Mild Korma Curry Paste
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • Seeds from 8 cardamom pods
  • 250g Waitrose Cooks' Ingredients Le Puy Green Lentils
  • 750ml Waitrose Cooks' Ingredients Vegetable Stock
  • 1 large cauliflower, separated into small florets
  • 20g pack fresh coriander, stalks and leaves roughly torn

Put the onion and curry paste into a large flameproof casserole with a lid. Cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, for 3-4 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cardamom seeds and continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes.

Add the lentils and stock to the casserole and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the cauliflower. Bring back to the boil and simmer for a further 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potato and lentils are both tender and the stock has been absorbed.

Stir in the coriander and season to taste.

Suggests serving with a dollop of natural yogurt, which would be good – I often add some fat-free yoghourt to Indian food, sometimes with a spoonful of lime pickle resting on top – and an Indian bread such as Peshwari Naan, but that would be very sweet and fatty – not necessary. Some plain boiled rice would be fine, or a lower fat bread like a chappati. And I think you probably don't need Puy Lentils which are spensive. Brown ones, or even split yellow peas, would be OK. It'd be a good duvet-lifter, tho …

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Spiced Dahl Soup

It's getting cold round here. From Vegetarian Good Food, Christmas 2002. 477 cals, probably without the mini-poppadom garnish. Serves 4, so that's 2 mains and 2 lunches.

Spice Paste

  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp hot water


  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 oz red split lentils
  • 6 oz yellow split peas
  • 2.5 pints vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400gm can chopped tomatoes


  • 6 tbsps low-fat creme fraiche
  • 6 tbsps chopped fresh coriander
  • 4 sprigs fresh coriander

Whizz all the paste ingredients in the processor, to a rough paste.

Heat the oil and fry the paste for 5 minutes, stirring so it doesn't catch and burn. And soup ingredients, boil, and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir frequently, adding water if it gets too thick. After 45 minutes, lentils should be tender but still whole (or at least, the split peas should be, I think red lentils would probably be nicely mushy by now). Season to taste.

Mix creme fraiche, coriander and any seasoning (I assume they mean salt and pepper, I wouldn't bother).

Serve soup and add a spoonful of cream, a sprig of coriander, and mini-poppadoms if you like.

Damn, I have to go back and put vegetarian tags on things now.


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Healthier Indian recipes

Found this website – – that has genuine Indian recipes adapted to be grilled or steamed or baked, with lower salt and fat contents. Some of the site isn't set up well, so lots of dishes are listed in the index as:

Calories: 167 per cup
Preparation Time:
2 days
Cooking Time:
No Cooking
Quantity: Makes 3 cups

and some of the recipes are a bit unhelpful, like this one for Fresh Curds:

Ingredients How to?
  • 1 litre skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon curds (made the previous day)
  1. Warm the milk.  
  2. Add the curds, beat up the mixture and cover. 
  3. Keep aside until the curds set (approximately 5 to 6 hours)
  4. During the cold climate, place inside a cupboard or closed oven to set


(although it's only really yoghourt).


But some of them look fun, and would be good for gluten-intolerant breakfasts –

Spicy Moong Dal Waffles

Preparation time: 10 minutes *Cooking time: 15 minutes * Serves 4.

Ingredients How To ?
  • 1 teacup moong dal with skin
  • 2 to 3 chopped green chillies
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fenugreek (methi) leaves
  • 2 teaspoons gram flour (besan)
  • a pinch asafetida
  • ¼ teaspoon soda bi-carb
  • 2 pinches sugar (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • salt to taste


  1. Soak the moon dal in water for 3 to 4 hours. Then wash it very well.
  2. Blend the soaked dal in a blender with the green chilies and a little water.
  3. Add the fenugreek leaves, gram flour, asafetida, soda bi-carb, sugar, oil and salt and mix well.
  4. Pour a little batter at a time in a preheated waffle iron and until crisp. Repeat for the remaining batter.

*Serve hot with green chutney.

Variation 1: MOONG DAL AND METHI DHOKLAS instead of soda bi-carb, use ½ teaspoon of fruit salt . At step 4, pour the batter immediately into a 225 or 250 mm. Diameter well greased thali and steam, for 5 minutes. Serve as above. 

Variation 2: MOONG DAL AND METHI PANKIS spread a little batter very thinly on a well greased non-stick frying pan. Cook on both sides. Serve as above.

Health Information Moong dal with the skin on retains all the B group vitamins during cooking. This recipe replaces the traditional cooking method for preparing snacks (e.g. frying in case of moong dall bhajias) by the healthier method of cooking using the dry heat of a waffle iron.

Per Serving: Calories 131  * Protein 7g  * Carbohydrates 19g  * Fat 3.5g

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Chinesey Beans and Sea Bass

Today we were supposed to have drgourmet's Sea Bass with White Beans and Tomato Vinaigrette. But we couldn't go shopping until today, and it being Monday the store had very low stocks of fresh fish. He did have two small sea bass fillets, marinaded in soy and peppers and spring onion. So I brought them home and baked them quickly in a hot oven and served them with:

Most of a medium carrot, match-sticked, and the white part of a leek, finely chopped, stir-fried in a sprinkling of dark sesame oil with a teaspoon each of lazy garlic and ginger. I added a drained tin of white beans (cannellini), a tin of four slices of pineapple in juice, cut up but with the juice, a half cup of chicken stock, and two tablespoons of black rice vinegar and simmered it while the fish was cooking. When the beans were nearly dry, I dished up and sprinkled some fresh coriander on the top.

OK, could have used a bit more punch. Maybe next time some fresh spring onion at the last minute, or a bit more vinegar or chili at the end. Lime peel?

I suspect the calorific value wasn't that far off the original, with the pineapple subbing for the tomato.

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