Lemon rice, aloo paratha, stuffed baby baigan, kale chole palak

We were craving Indian food at the weekend so I made this spread on Sunday. Both the stuffed aubergine and kale chole palak were taken from the Khazana cookbook. I’ve liked everything I’ve made from the book but his recipes aren’t always especially well written. No real problems, just things like spices added to the dish not in the same order they’re listed in the ingredients list etc.

I’d been looking for other ways to use the black chickpeas I bought for the puttu kadala and this was an amazingly tasty way to use them. The aubergines were stuffed with a ground peanut and spice mixture then steamed. It was a very good way to stuff aubergines and I’ll certainly use this method again and vary the stuffings. The lemon rice was from one of the Rasa cookbooks and was just rice cooked plainly with lemon juice and zest and a tempering of oil, urad dhal, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Again I’ll be using this method again and again as it was a very easy way to add interest to rice.

I have to admit that the aloo parathas came from the freezer. I’m terrible for stocking up the freezer with things like that “in case of emergency” and those emergencies are rare! My freezer is so full that I’m having to use up my emergency items even though it wasn’t an emergency and I’d rather have made my own. Still, they were good and tasty and just needed a few minutes per side on a hot tawa straight from frozen – so they really would be good for emergencies!!

Keralan scramble

When we were in Kerala we really enjoyed the South Indian breakfasts – dosa, idli, sambar, chutney and all the other trimmings. It’s my favourite breakfast in the world and I could eat it every day. But every day people of all nationalities (including Indian) queued for made to order scrambled eggs and omelettes and ate them with toast and ketchup! In one of the hotels though, my husband saw Keralan scrambled eggs listed and decided to depart from his daily dosa. He liked it so much he ended up having it 3 days on the run, and today I decided to create a vegan version of it. I simply used tofu instead of the eggs and made a few tweaks around the cooking method. I normally use the VWAV version of scrambled tofu, but this is absolutely my new favourite. I was really pleased with how it came out and will definitely be making it time and time again. I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 finely chopped red onion (I used red because that’s what I had but white is fine)
1 finely chopped hot green chilli
1 crushed clove garlic
2 healthy tsp mustard seeds
1 healthy tsp turmeric
400g tofu
1 chopped large tomato
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
8-10 fresh curry leaves (if you can’t get these its better to leave them out than substitute dried. You can add some fresh coriander and it will be tasty but it won’t be so Keralan.)
Black salt or salt and pepper

Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan. Then add the onion and chilli and cook until soft. Add the garlic, mustard seeds and turmeric and cook for a few more minutes. Crumble in the tofu and stir so that all the onions and spices are mixed in. Then add the tomato, coconut and curry leaves and cook all together for about 5 minutes. You may like to add a splash of water if it starts to dry out, to keep it moist. Just before serving, sprinkle on some black salt or salt and pepper. Black salt is available on-line from Seasoned Pioneers or from good Indian supermarkets, and gives a lovely eggy taste, but if you can’t get it or don’t like it, just use salt.

I served it with some chapatis (I admit they were bought from an Indian shop and stashed in the freezer for when chapati emergencies strike. See this post if you’d like to make your own). Or serve with any other Indian bread or even toast.