Anyone who knows my eating habits will know how much I love Indian food. When I spent a few weeks in northern India several years back, I steered clear of meat (to avoid the dreaded ‘Delhi belly’) and soon fell in love with veggie Indian delights, including dishes made with cauliflower, aubergine, chickpeas, okra, mushrooms, spinach and – most of all – the Indian cheese, paneer.
I received Kaushy Patel’s Prashad: Indian Vegetarian Cooking for Christmas and quickly thumbed through to the paneer recipes. With the help of my other half and brother, we created a vegetarian Indian extravaganza for my mum’s birthday and this paneer masala stole the show.
- Lower 500g of paneer cubes into very hot sunflower oil until they start to brown, then remove and drain on kitchen paper.
- Fry two chopped green chillies and two chopped cloves of garlic for 30 seconds, before adding a finely diced onion until it starts to caramelise.
- Stir in a tin of plum tomatoes with 6cm of crushed ginger, a good teaspoon of salt and turmeric, 2-4 teaspoons of ground coriander, ½ teaspoon of ground cumin and a handful of fresh coriander.
- Simmer for a minute then stir in the paneer, 50g butter and 100ml of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes.
- Finish by stirring in another handful of fresh coriander and ½ teaspoon of garam masala.
- I serve this with cauliflower “rice”, made by blitzing cauliflower florets in a food processor and then frying in coconut oil with turmeric and mustard seeds.
Lentils with Roast Tomatoes and Horseradish
Due to its indulgent nature, the paneer masala above is one we’d make perhaps a few times a year. This lentil dish, on the other hand, is one we rustle up almost on a weekly basis. It’s from Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Cook and, like most of her recipes, is quick, easy, healthy, cheap and utterly delicious. The flavour combinations and textures of the sweet tomatoes, creamy horseradish cottage cheese, hearty lentils and crunchy, herby breadcrumbs work harmoniously – try it and I guarantee you’ll make it again and again.
- Put 300g of puy lentils (I use the canned ones) into a big pan with 4 cloves of unpeeled garlic, a whole tomato, a few sprigs of thyme, two bay leaves and a vegetable stock cube.
- Cover with a litre of hot water and blip away for around half an hour, until the water has evaporated.
- While the lentils are cooking, roast 400g of cherry tomatoes on a baking tray with salt, pepper, olive oil and the zest of a lemon. Roast for 15 minutes.
- On another baking tray, mix a couple of handfuls of wholemeal breadcrumbs with thyme, a roughly-chopped garlic clove, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 5 minutes.
- To make the horseradish cottage cheese (sounds strange but you have to try it!) simply combine 100ml cottage cheese with 2 teaspoons of horseradish.
- Ladle the lentils into bowls with the tomatoes and horseradish on top, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
Huevos rancheros is not only my favourite thing to have after the gym in the evening (full of protein and no carbs), it also makes a great brunch on a lazy weekend (it’s an excellent hangover cure!). This Mexican eggs and spicy tomato dish is super easy to make – I always serve it with a bottle of Tabasco on the side and occasionally some wholemeal tortillas to mop up the sauce. I came across a recipe for huevos rancheros in The Meat Free Monday Cookbook, (which contains a foreword by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney), but adapt it each time I make it to go something like this:
- In a large frying pan, cook 4 chopped spring onions and a diced red pepper in some olive oil for 5 minutes with salt, pepper and a good tablespoon of smoked paprika.
- I then add a tin of chopped tomatoes along with a handful of halved cherry tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce is nice and thick.
- Meanwhile, mash an avocado with lime juice and fresh coriander to serve on the side.
- Make 4 holes in the tomato mix with the back of a wooden spoon and crack an egg into each hole (an extra pair of hands helps here).
- Put the lid back on and leave the eggs to cook for 5 minutes (no more or the yolk will be hard).
- Pile onto a plate with the avocado on top and some fresh coriander, and tuck in!
Please do let me know if you have any recipes you think I need to try. Who knows? It might even sway me to become a fully-fledged veggie…
Toni Waterfall – Cookery, Food & Drink A mum with a food-loving family and a part-time pescatarian lifestyle, I’m always searching for delicious and practical ideas to try in the kitchen. My all-time favourite chef is Gordon Ramsay, but I’ve never made a bad meal using a Jamie Oliver recipe. Spaghetti bolognaise is the go-to meal in my household, but I also enjoy cooking curries from scratch – especially seafood ones. I always say that balance and seasoning are crucial elements of getting a dish right. I’m constantly thinking ahead to the next meal and am an impulsive, daily supermarket shopper, as opposed to a weekly bulk buyer.