FriChik Curry

FriChik Curry-last
Taste this FriChik Curry and it will be easy to give up chicken! This is by far one of the best meatless meat curries I’ve learned to make. Credit for teaching me how to make this dish goes to my friend, Hannah. Thank you for sharing some of your best recipes with me. I’m certain that many of my vegetarian friends will appreciate this recipe as much as I do.

In my recipes, I often tell you to use chilli, “depending on heat and your preference.” It means that you can decide on the amount of chilli you use depending on how hot the chilli is and how much of it you can tolerate. Remember, that the heat level of chilli powder/green chillies/dry red chillies, differ. Many times I use Kashmiri chilli powder in my recipes because it is mild. So, adjust the chilli to suit your taste.

You can buy FriChik at the Potomac Adventist Book & Health Food Store in Silver Spring, Maryland. You can also buy it on line from I know how difficult it is to come up with tasty, vegetarian dishes so you will want to bookmark this page.

FriChik Curry
Prep time: 15 minutes (does not include time for soaking nuts)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

¼ cup oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder, (depending on heat and your preference)
½ teaspoons turmeric powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 cups blanched and diced tomatoes
2 medium potatoes
2 cups water
2 cans (12.5oz/354g) Worthington FriChik original
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

For the wet spice paste:
3 sprigs of curry leaves
½ teaspoon cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons grated coconut, (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
10 cashew nuts
10 almonds

Add the cashew nuts and almonds to a small bowl. Cover them with half a cup of hot tap water and let them soak for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes are up add the cashew nuts, almonds along with the water they were soaking in, into a blender. Add the rest of the ingredients for the spice paste – curry leaves, cardamom, fennel, coconut, and cilantro. Blend to a smooth paste. Set aside until you are ready to use it in the curry.

Place a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil and when it shimmers, add the onion. When the onion turns translucent add the ginger-garlic paste. Stir constantly and cook for two minutes or until the raw smell of the ginger-garlic disappears. Add the cumin seeds, chilli, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and tomatoes. Stir occasionally and cook until the oil separates.

Next, peel and wash potatoes. Cut each into eight pieces. Add the potatoes, water and salt. Cover the dish and cook for five minutes. In the meantime, drain the FriChik and discard the gravy. Cut each chunk into four. Add the FriChik and the ground wet spice paste. Stir so everything is mixed well. Then cover the saucepan and cook on medium-low heat until the potatoes are done, about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro. FriChik curry goes well with plain rice or rotis.

Cluster Beans – (Gavar with Kanda Lasoon Masala)

Cluster Beans2
Cluster Beans is an annual legume that grows in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra and other arid regions in India. They are related to French beans but have a narrow, flat, long body with tiny pods. They are light green in color and they taste slightly bitter. They are called gavar phalli in Marathi. You will find cluster beans at Indian and ethnic grocery stores.

In India different states cook these beans in their own unique way. I combined kanda lasoon masala (onion-garlic spice mix) from Maharashtra with split Bengal gram (chana dal), a lentil frequently used in vegetable dishes in Tamil Nadu. The result was a fusion of flavors.

Thanks to my friend for bringing me a packet of this masala from India. You will find kanda lasoon masala at Indian grocery stores or you can order it on line. You could also use two teaspoons of coriander powder and one teaspoon of garam masala powder instead of the kanda lasoon masala. It will still taste great, but different. I love trying new vegetables. If you haven’t tried cluster beans, you should.

Cluster Beans – Gavar with Kanda Lasoon Masala
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 5

1 cup split Bengal gram, (soaked for 2 hours; Chana dal)
2 dry red chillies, (soaked with Bengal gram; depending on heat and your preference)
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig finely chopped curry leaves
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 cups cluster beans
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon kanda lasoon masala
3 tablespoons water

Put the Bengal gram into a bowl and wash in several changes of water. Cover with water and let it soak for two hours along with the dry red chillies. After it has soaked for two hours drain and put it into a food processor or blender. You want a coarse grind, so pulse/blend until the Bengal gram and chillies break up into tiny bits.

Wash and dry the cluster beans. Top and tail them. If they need stringing, just pluck the end of a cluster bean with your hand, and then pull downward; if a thick thread comes away, the bean need stringing. Do the same on the other side of the bean. The beans can then be cut into one-inch pieces.

Heat a pressure cooker over medium-high heat.  Add oil and when it shimmers add the mustard seeds. When the mustard splutter, add the curry leaves and chopped onion. When the onion turns translucent, add the cluster beans. Stir and cook the beans for two minutes. Next, add the turmeric powder, kanda lasoon masala, and salt.

Sprinkle the coarsely ground Bengal gram over the cluster beans. Add water, put the lid and weight on the pressure cooker, and turn the heat to the lowest possible point on your stove. There is hardly any water so steam will not escape. Set your timer for ten minutes. When ten minutes are over, turn off the heat. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely and then remove the weight and lid. The dal and beans would have cooked perfectly. Mix well and serve with rotis.
Cluster Beans Kanda Lasoon Masala

Vegetable Korma – Delicately Spiced Indian Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Korma2I love delicately spiced, creamy, flavorful Indian curries. When my friend asked me to make vegetable korma for a potluck, I happily obliged. Some time ago, I shared with you the recipe for Korma with Potato and Peas. In that post, I also introduced you to an interesting spice called black stone flower, (patthar ke phool in Hindi, dagad phool in Marathi and kalpasi in Tamil). If you tried the korma with potato and peas, you will find this recipe easy to follow. It’s also quite healthy.

Use a medley of vegetables, that you enjoy the most, to make this dish. I used potatoes, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, and peas. I diced and chopped them into medium size pieces so they would all cook in the same amount of time. I used cashew nuts and coconut to thicken the gravy. You will notice in the ingredients that I’ve listed 2-4 cloves, (depending on your taste). Adjust the amount of cloves and chillies to suit your taste.

Don’t let the long list of ingredients discourage you from trying this recipe. It’s a dish that you will make over and over again.

Vegetable Korma – Delicately Spiced Indian Vegetable Curry
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serve: 8

4 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
1-inch piece of cinnamon, broken in half
2-4 cloves, (depending on your taste)
1 star anise
2 pieces of black stone flower, (optional)
½ a petal of mace, (optional)
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
3 green chillies, (optional, depending on heat and your preference)
1 Roma tomato, (cut, deseeded & diced)
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon garam masala powder
1 can coconut milk
4 cups mixed vegetables, (diced and chopped into medium pieces)
1 cup water
4 mint leaves, (optional)
2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

To be ground to a paste:
½-inch piece cinnamon, broken into bits
2 cardamoms, outer cover removed
2 cloves
½ bay leaf, (broken into small pieces)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 small pieces of black stone flower, (optional)
10 cashew nuts, (soaked in ¼ cup hot water for 15 minutes)
½ cup grated fresh coconut

First, prepare the ingredients to be ground. Add the dry spices (cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, bay leaf, fennel seeds, black stone flower) to your spice grinder and powder them. Next, add the cashew nuts along with the water it was soaking in and coconut. Grind everything to a smooth paste. Set aside.

Add two tablespoons oil into a large pan and place it over high heat. Add the vegetables and fry them until they turn slightly brown around the edges. About five minutes. Remove into a large bowl. Turn the heat to medium-low. Add the remaining two tablespoons of oil into the same pan. Add the whole spices – cinnamon, cloves, star anise, black stone flower, mace, cumin, and fennel seeds. Sauté for 30 seconds and then add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns translucent. Add the ground ginger-garlic paste and cook until the raw smell disappears. Slit the green chillies and add. Sauté for 30 seconds and then add the chopped tomato, turmeric, chilli, coriander, cumin, and garam masala powder. Stir and cook for one minute. Add the coconut milk, vegetables, and ground paste, water, mint, and salt. Stir so all the ingredients are well combined. Cook on medium-high heat until the gravy begins to boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for eight minutes. The vegetables should be cooked but still hold their shape. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy vegetable korma with plain rice and dal or rotis.

Garbanzo Rice Pulao

Garbanzo Pulao1

We cooked with passion, ate with relish, and celebrated the holidays with gusto! Desserts, chocolates, and delicacies from our home countries were exchanged. We ate what we pleased and nothing was off limits. January 6 is here, and it’s time to get back on track with healthy eating. I’d like to start my blogging year on the right foot. So, my first recipe for this year is vegetarian, vegan, and nutritious. At least, I can say, I’ve started the year with good intentions.

Rice is a staple, in most Indian homes, and you’ll find it on the table every day. Adding garbanzo beans to rice is an excellent way to add fiber, protein, and other nutrients to your diet. Adding a vegetable and a salad to this dish is all you need to make it a complete meal. Some of the vegetable dishes, from my blog, that you could use are: Eggplant in Tomato Curry, Green Bean Thoren, and Cauliflower Subzi.

I used canned garbanzo beans in this recipe. You can also use dry garbanzo beans that you will find in your local grocery store. Just remember, soak them overnight, wash them in several changes of water, and cook them before you use them in this recipe. You can use chillies to make the rice spicy or leave them out completely. This dish is unique in that it is mild in flavor but rich in aroma. Many times that’s the kind of rice dish I’m looking for to accompany bold, flavorful curries. Well, this rice recipe is one of my favorites. You can bump up the flavor by switching water with vegetable stock. It’s a nice change to plain rice and I find that children like it.

Garbanzo Rice Pulao
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Serve: 4

¼ cup ghee
4 black cardamoms
4 green cardamoms
2-inch piece of cinnamon
6 cloves
1 bay leaf
½ tsp cumin seeds
4 dry red chillies, (optional)
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 green chillies, (optional, cut in half)
1 15.5oz can (439g) Goya chickpeas/garbanzo beans, (well drained)
4 cups water
2 cups Basmati rice

Wash the rice in three changes of water. Be gently when you wash the rice. Soak in water for 15 minutes.

While the rice is soaking, place a large non-stick pot over medium heat. Add ghee and when it melts, add black and green cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, and cumin seeds. Stir for 30 seconds to allow the spices to permeate the oil. Add the dry red chillies. Cook, while stirring, for another 30 seconds. Next, add the chopped onion. Stir and cook until the onion turns translucent. Add the green chillies and well-drained garbanzo beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, for one minute.

Turn heat to medium-high and add water. When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat to medium, and add salt. Taste the water, it should taste salty, like the ocean! Drain the rice and add it to the water. Gently stir to combine the rice, water, and spices. Then, allow the rice to cook, undisturbed. The rice will swell and rise to the top. When you see bubbles appearing on the surface of the rice, it is time to cover the dish with a tight-fitting lid. Once you see steam escaping through the edges of the lid, turn the heat to the lowest point, and let the rice cook for eight minutes. Turn off the heat, but don’t open the lid immediately. Allow the dish to rest for five minutes before you serve.