This is a luscious vegan curry, inspired by the delicious Tomato and Coconut Fish Curry recipe in Monica Bhide’s lovely book, Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen. As an aside, I was thrilled to meet Monica in person this weekend at the Roger Smith Food Writer’s Conference.
The chutney is optional, but is super easy to make. Monica does have a mint-cilantro chutney recipe in the book, but I improvised the one here.
If you aren’t vegan, I think this is really nice alongside Amreen’s Biryani recipe that’s available on Food52. This curry also works well over any cooked grain and/or with warm Naan or another Indian-style bread.
Vegetarian Coconut Curry Recipe
adapted from Modern Spice by Monica Bhide
* 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil or ghee
* 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
* 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
* 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
* 1 Serrano chile pepper, seeded and minced
* 1 globe eggplant
* 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
* one 14 oz. can organic whole coconut milk
* 1 zucchini, chopped into cubes
* 1 green pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
* 2 cups chopped collard greens
* 1 tomato, chopped
* 1 teaspoon tumeric
* 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder or other red chile powder
* 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
* fresh mint for the chutney- optional
* fresh cilantro for the chutney- optional
* fresh lime juice for the chutney- optional
* organic sugar for the chutney- optional
1. Cut the eggplant cross-wise into 1 1/2 inch thick slices. Sprinkle them all over with salt and allow to drain in a colander over the sink for 20-30 minutes. Rinse well to remove all the salt and chop into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a large skillet or wok, melt the coconut oil or ghee over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook for a minute or two until they "pop", then add the ginger, garlic, and chili pepper. Stir everything around for a minute or so.
3. Add the chopped eggplant and sweet potato to the pan along with the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if the liquid seems too thick.
4. Add the zucchini, green pepper, collard greens and tomato, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender, again adding a little water if necessary.
5. Mix in the spices and salt. Cook for one minute more. Taste and adjust the spices, if necessary. Add a little more red chile powder and/or salt, if you like.
6. To make the simple mint-cilantro chutney, mix equal parts chopped mint and cilantro with fresh lime and a little organic sugar. Taste and adjust the lime and sugar to your liking. I used about 1/2 cup each of the herbs, the juice of 1/2 lime and 1 tsp. of sugar. You can make a little or a lot of this, but just know that it doesn't keep very well, so don't plan to refrigerate it longer than a day or two.
This post is linked to Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday!
The 2010 February Daring Cook’s Challenge was hosted by Michele of Veggie Num Nums. Michele chose to challenge everyone to make mezze based on various recipes from Claudia Roden, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Dugid.
Mezze for the Daring Cooks Challenge
Mezze (aka meze) is a selection of small plates typical of Middle Eastern cuisine…an assortment of appetizers, so to speak. Warm pitas and hummus are classic mezze items, and making these was the mandatory part of the challenge. A mezze also usually includes fresh salads and dips with bold and often spicy flavors.
I stayed pretty traditional and served my pitas and hummus with homemade preserved lemons, a bowl of olives, a tomato and cucumber salad enhanced with fresh mint, and leftovers of this chickpea salad with fiery harissa.
Note that I made my pitas with spelt flour and I didn’t knead the dough as much the recipe suggests. Also, I refrigerated it for a few days before making the pitas (these are techniques I learned from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking). Other than that, I stuck to the challenge recipes as given.
Pita Bread Recipe
adapted from Flatbreads & Flavors by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Prep time: 20 minutes to make, 90 minutes to rise and about 45 minutes to cook
2 teaspoons dry yeast
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
5-6 cups all-purpose flour (I used spelt flour)
1 Tb. salt
2 Tb. olive oil
In a large bread bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in 3 cups flour, a cup at a time, and then stir 100 times, about 1 minute, in the same direction to activate the gluten. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes, or as long as 2 hours.
Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add more flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir.
Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Rinse out the bowl, dry, and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least doubled in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Place a pizza stone, or two small baking sheets, on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving a 1-inch gap all around between the stone or sheets and the oven walls to allow heat to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough in half, and then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide the other half into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick.
Keep the rolled-out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.
Place 2 breads, or more if your oven is large enough, on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn’t puff up, don’t worry. It should still taste delicious.
Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled-out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.
adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
Prep Time: Hummus can be made in about 15 minutes once the beans are cooked. If you’re using dried beans you need to soak them overnight and then cook them the next day which takes about 90 minutes.
1.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight (or substitute well drained canned chickpeas and omit the cooking)
2-2 1/2 lemons, juiced
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
a big pinch of salt
4 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
Drain and boil the soaked chickpeas in fresh water for about 1 ½ hours, or until tender. Drain, but reserve the cooking liquid.
Purée the beans in a food processor (or you can use a potato masher) adding the cooking water as needed until you have a smooth paste.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Preserved lemons I made last summer
Tomato, cucumber and mint salad
I enjoy every Daring Cooks’ challenge, but I really appreciated the simple and delicious food of this mezze…Thanks to Michele for this wonderful idea!
A quick note…if you haven’t yet entered my Garden of Life giveaway, make sure to do so as it ends in just a few days. Go to this post and tell me about your favorite smoothie, and you’ll be entered to win a jar of their amazing organic coconut oil and raw honey!
I’m getting ready to head to the Roger Smith Food Writers Conference today. I’m really excited about it, and I don’t want to miss my bus to NYC, so I’m in a bit of a hurry…
In honor of Valentine’s Day and all things chocolate, though, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share this unbelievable raw chocolate mousse recipe with you.
It’s rich, creamy and decadent, but it’s not a chocolate dessert you’ll have regrets about later….it’s quite good for you, in fact.
I’ve talked about raw cacao and it’s health benefits before, but to sum up (sorry, but I’m in a hurry), it is super high in nutrients, particularly antioxidants. It also contains numerous minerals, including magnesium and iron.
This recipe features raw cacao powder, which you can find in many natural foods stores, or purchase online. I also added raw organic cacao butter, which I have never used before. I like the thick texture it imparts to the mousse and how it kind of hardens when chilled, but if you don’t have cacao butter, you can probably use an additional avocado and a bit more coconut oil instead.
This is one of those recipes that I definitely suggest tasting as you go. You may prefer it with less cacao and more honey, for example. You can also make substitutions as you see fit. To keep the recipe vegan, you can use agave (or your favorite alternative sweetener) instead of the honey. Or use soaked dates to sweeten it instead. You could use almonds instead of the cashews and almond milk instead of the water…you get the picture, right? Go ahead an play around with it.
I honestly find this to be so intense that I can only eat a few spoonfuls at a time. It’s kind of the perfect dessert in that regard: you just can’t eat too much at once. It keeps well in the refrigerator, though, so feel free to keep a little bowl in there for when you need a little (healthy) chocolate fix…
Raw Chocolate Mousse
*flesh from 1 avocado
*1/2 cup raw cashews
*3/4 cup raw cacao
*3/4 cup raw cacao butter
*2 Tb. organic coconut oil
*6 Tb. raw honey
*pinch of sea salt
*raw cacao nibs for garnish- optional
*fresh berries or sliced bananas for serving- optional
1. In a high speed blender, process all ingredients, adding water as necessary, until you have a smooth puree. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving, if possible. Garnish with cacao nibs and/or fruit, if desired.
For more raw chocolate recipes, you might want to check out the book Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth About the World’s Greatest Food. The book, which describes the many health benefits (including its role in weight loss!) of raw chocolate, also contains recipes for natural chocolate treats made with cocoa nibs, raw cocoa butter, nuts, coconut oil, and natural sweeteners.