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  • 5 Tasty Desi Vegetarian Recipes

    Vegetarian food can be incredibly tasty and self-indulgent. From Maa Di Daal to Chana Masala, we look at 5 Desi vegetarian recipes you should consider to spice up your palate!

    Paneer Tikka

    Cooking your own food makes it that much more fun!

    Vegetarianism is a popular practice amongst South Asians and a growing trend in the West.

    Contrary to popular opinion, vegetarian food can be tasty and exciting.

    And cooking your own food makes it that much more fun!

    DESIblitz explores 5 vegetarian recipes that you must try.

    Aloo Mattar Paneer

    Aloo Mattar Paneer is a satisfying one-pot meal which can be enjoyed with roti or basmati rice.

    Ingredients:

    • Aloo Matar Paneer350 g paneer cubed, pan fried
    • 200 g potatoes, boiled and cut
    • 150 g frozen peas
    • 2 onions
    • 4 small tomatoes
    • 1 tbsp ginger paste
    • 2 green chillies
    • 3 tbsp greek style yoghurt
    • 1 1/2 cup water
    • 3 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 2 tsp garam masala
    • 2 tsp coriander
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric
    • Salt to taste
    • Coriander leaves for garnishing

    Method:

    1. Grind onions into a fine paste and keep aside.
    2. Grind tomatoes and keep aside.
    3. Heat oil and fry the onion paste until it is light brown in colour (5-7 mins).
    4. Add tomato paste, ginger paste and fry for another 2 minutes.
    5. Add the cumin, turmeric, garam masala, coriander powders. Add the green chillies too. Fry until the oil begins to separate from the masala.
    6. Add the peas and potatoes into this mixture.
    7. Add the paneer, water and salt.
    8. Reduce the flame and simmer for 10 minutes or until the gravy has thickened.
    9. Add whisked yoghurt and stir.
    10. Garnish with coriander leaves.

    Carrot Achar

    Carrot Achar is simple to make and compliments many dishes.

    It is best served as a side for other Indian dishes to add that additional flavour.

    Ingredients:

    • Carrot Achar1 cup of carrot, cut in thin strips
    • 3 tsp mustard seeds
    • 2 -3 green chillies, cut
    • 2 tsp vinegar (or to taste)
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • Salt to taste

    Method:

    1. Heat a pan with 1 1/2 tbsp of oil and add mustard seeds. Then add vinegar and take off the heat.
    2. In another pan, put some oil and cook the carrots slightly for a couple of minutes. Make sure the carrots are slightly cooked but still crunchy.
    3. Add turmeric powder. Add the green chillies to the pan. Transfer to a bowl.
    4. Add the mustard oil mixture to the bowl and mix.
    5. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

    Some food for thought: Desis are extremely passionate about their food. Have you found that when enjoying a feast, desis love to engage in a conversation about their next meal?

    Tandoori Paneer Tikka (Sizzler)

    Paneer is a type of Indian cottage cheese with a chewy, heavenly texture.

    It’s delectable and addictive and comes with a high calorie count! You’ve been warned!

    Ingredients:

    • Tandoori Paneer250 g paneer (cut into 10-12 pieces)
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 1 tsp chaat masala

    For the marinade:

    • 1/2 tsp jeera powder
    • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
    • 3/4 cups fresh yoghurt
    • 1/2 tsp green chilli paste
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1/3 cup beans
    • Salt

    Method:

    1. Put the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
    2. Mix the paneer in the marinade and leave aside for an hour.
    3. Heat oil in a pan and cook until paneer is light brown in colour.
    4. Sprinkle chaat masala on top with a dash of lemon juice.
    5. Serve on a Sizzler Plate for that restaurant effect.

    Maa Di Daal (Black Lentils)

    The mother of all Daals, Maa Di Daal is creamy in texture and melts in the mouth.

    Black lentils help to combat fatigue, providing vegetarians with an energy boost.

    Ingredients:

    • Maa Di Daal1 cup split urad daal (black lentils)
    • 1 large onions, blended
    • 2 tomatoes, cut into cubes
    • 2 green chillies
    • 1 tsp ginger paste (optional)
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 2 tbsp dried coriander
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whisked (alternatively, greek yoghurt)
    • 1 tbsp ghee
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • Salt to taste

    Method:

    1. Soak the lentils in a bowl of water overnight.
    2. Boil the soaked lentils with 3 cups of water, green chillies and salt until it’s tender.
    3. Heat the oil and fry the onion paste until golden brown.  Add the ginger and fry.
    4. Add the tomatoes and coriander, cumin, chilli powder and fry for 5 -7 mins.
    5. Add the boiled lentils and enough water to make a thick gravy.
    6. Mix and simmer for 10 minutes.
    7. Add the whisked cream or greek yoghurt and turn the fire off.
    8. In another pan, heat the ghee and fry the cumin seeds (just until they sizzle).
    9. Pour into the daal.

    Chana Masala

    Chana Masala is a popular Indian Dish that is easy to whip up and protein-rich to consume.

    Ingredients:

    • Chana Masala2 cans of chickpeas (or dry chickpeas that you will have to pressure cook)
    • 2 big onions, chopped
    • 3 tomatoes, chopped
    • 4 small tomatoes
    • 1 tbsp ginger paste
    • 2 tsp coriander
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp garam masala
    • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 5 cloves
    • 2 cardamom peas
    • Add salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • Coriander leaves for garnishing

    Method:

    1. Grind onions, tomatoes, ginger together to form a paste.
    2. Heat oil and fry the dry spices for less than a minute.
    3. Add the onion paste and fry until the masala is cooked (for about 5-7 mins).
    4. Add the coriander, cumin, garam masala, chilli powder, turmeric, bay leaves, cloves, cardamom peas and cook for a further 5 minutes.
    5. Rinse the chickpeas and add it to the mixture.
    6. Add water to the mixture depending on desired consistency.
    7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    8. Simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes.
    9. Mash some chickpeas coarsely.
    10. Garnish with coriander leaves.
    11. Serve hot with bhature. Alternatively, eat with wholemeal bread for a healthy diet.

    These vegetarian recipes are extremely popular, and are a great starting point for any aspiring cook!

    Food is the heartbeat of Desis. Try cooking these recipes and you’ll feel your own heart beating with a love of veggie food.

    Bandhna is an Entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Envylope App. She loves food, Bollywood, globe-trotting and anything that SPARKLES. Her motto: Aim for the moon, even if you fall - you’ll reach the stars.


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