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Day 3 – Red Food Inspiration from India
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Day 3 – Red Food Inspiration from India

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!

Red Dal + Curried JackFruit and Kantola 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”.

My Secret (Yummy) Weapon

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!

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7 Responses

  1. Leslie

    Thanks so much for sharing all of these recipes!!!

  2. Josiane

    It’s the second time in as many days that I come across a recipe using jackfruit. Clearly, I need to find some and add it to my culinary repertory! Especially since you say it can act as a good sub for mushrooms – I’m not a picky girl, but those I really can’t stand…

  3. Artzitech

    The quinoa looks delicious and is on my list. I might not have made your indian dish but I was inspired to make dal with chicken and wine. Does dark reddish brown count for PS food?

  4. Karida

    Genius use of jackfruit! I am usually intimidated by cooking Indian food, but you make it seem easy. And I hate mushrooms, so jackfruit seems a good substitute.

  5. D.J.

    Those dishes look lovely and tasty! You’ve inspired me to branch out to a few other Indian dishes.

    Breadfruit is a relative of jackfruit found in various areas. I only had it when I lived in Belize, and it wasn’t necessarily chewy. It was fresh off the tree and typically had a starchy, potato-like consistency. I wonder if it’s the canning?

  6. Elka Minor

    I too love Indian food. It looks wonderful.

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