Thursday, 17 October 2013

Top five vegan recipes: part two

Because I didn't quite have the room on yesterday's post, here are my final two fail-safe vegan recipes.  One thing that going out with The Boy has taught me, is that things that seem scary or difficult - making curry from scratch, or attempting dairy-free baking - are actually not only fun but also super-easy.  Even if you're a proud meat- and dairy-eater, I'd urge you to give vegan cooking a go once in a while.  Lower in fat, lower in cholesterol, generally high in nutrients (this channa masala, for example, is packed with good stuff) and much more sustainable and kinder to the environment: it's a win on all levels really.
 Photo via
Channa masala

The best thing about this curry recipe is how endlessly adaptable it is.  Chickpeas (channa) make a great base ingredient, but you could try spinach or sweet potato (or both) in place of the aubergine.  You can also mess around with the spices, tomato and coconut milk until you find a blend that works for you.

1 large white onion, chopped
A thumb-sized piece of ginger, chopped
Three cloves of garlic, chopped
Cold water
1 teaspoon each (approximately, adjust to taste) of coriander, cumin, garam masala, mild chilli powder, cardomam
1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric, cinnamon, mace and paprika
Two cans of chickpeas, drained
A large aubergine, diced
Vegetable oil
Tomato passata to taste
1/2 can of coconut milk OR 1 cup of soy yoghurt

1. Heat a tablespoon of oil and fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 5-10 minutes or until soft.  Add a splash of cold water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan, and continue to cook over a low heat for another 5-10 minutes.
2. In a separate pan, gently fry the aubergine in a little oil (be carefully, it will soak up as much oil as you throw at it, so less is more).  Set aside.
3. Pour the onion mixture into a blender and pulse until a smooth paste forms.  This is your curry base (we tend to make double quantities and freeze half, for days when making curry from scratch seems too much hassle).
4. Return the base to the pan and add the spices, heating through until gently sizzling.  Stir to ensure it doesn't burn.
5. Add a splash of tomato passata to the sauce; I generally go for about two generous tablespoons, but adjust to taste.  Stir through the coconut milk, if using.
6. Add the cooked aubergine and the drained chick peas, and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes, or until everything is cooked through.
7. If using yoghurt, stir through when you take off the heat.  Serve with rice and naan or chapatti, and a little fresh coriander sprinkled over the top if you have some to hand.

Chocolate cupcakes
The recipe for these delicious chocolate cupcakes comes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  With a light and moist texture, I honestly think they're superior to 'normal' chocolate cake.

1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup oil (vegetable, rapeseed, sunflower, etc)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder (ensure it is dairy-free)
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 180c/gas mark 4/350F.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar and leave aside for a few minutes to curdle. 
3. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla extract and beat until foamy.
4. In a separate bowl sift together the remaining dry ingredients.  Add in two batches to the milk mixture and beat until no large lumps remain.
5. Pour into cupcake cases until three-quarters full and bake for 18-20 minutes.

I found these were great topped with a vegan buttercream: vanilla extract, soy or sunflower margarine and icing sugar beaten together.  Add some cocoa powder, made into a paste with water, for chocolate icing.  

1 comment:

  1. I always order Channa Marsala at Shivali, but i've never attempted it at home, curries scare me a little to be honest, I panic about not getting my spice levels correct. I'll definitely give this a go, it looks and sounds delicious