Kris and I are big fans of Indian food. We frequent our local restaurants, and even our local markets in order to find the ingredients to re-create many of our favorite dishes at home. Indian food is all about the spices, relying heavily on the rich aromatic (and red, orange and yellow!) spices for so many tasty meals! Paired with fresh vegetables, these spices sure make for colorful meals!
Tonight’s dinner was red dal and curried jackfruit and squash. Quite Project Spectrum-y, yes? Both dishes used tomatoes, so that was an instant red, and both called for cayenne, tumeric, and cumin – the aromatic spices that make up many Indian dishes. Both dishes are from one of my favorite cookbooks, which I have talked about here before, Vegan Fire & Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes.
I adapted the curry recipe to include one of “secret weapons” to a yummy Indian meal: jackfruit! Of course, jackfruit is not a secret in India and Southeast Asia, but you rarely see this huge fruit in the west – and people don’t know what they are missing! With a chewy consistency, the fruit’s flesh can be a great substitute for many dishes that call for meat. Like mushrooms, it takes on the flavor of the sauce you cook it in, and really adds a nice texture and heartiness to a meal. I buy the jackfruit canned at my local Indian markets – the ones labeled “Young green jackfruit”.
The curry recipe below usually calls for white mushrooms, but I subbed the jackfruit and it was great!
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 small chiles (dried or fresh), seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 lb white mushrooms, quartered (OR 1 can -16-20 oz.- jackfruit in water quartered)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
Salt to taste
In a blender, combine the coconut milk, ginger, garlic, chiles, coriander, cumin, and turmeric and blend until smooth.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until golden brown – about 10 minutes. Add the mushroom (or substitute) and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the can of tomatoes, the coconut milk mixture, and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
I serve my curried veggies over basmati or wild rice, or with a piece of flatbread (Indian flatbreads like naan, roti, or chapati are really great for this!)
…and curious about the kidney bean dish? The recipe in the book is the basic recipe that you see for most vegan dals and rajmas – similar to the one I made here… check it out!