Vegetarian Indian Food Recipes

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Hari Chutney (Spicy Indian Cilantro Mint Chutney) Recipe

Hari chutney (green) is a spicy preparation served as a condiment to pakora (Indian-style savory fritters) and vadai (fried urad dal). The preparation is very basic: a blend of green chiles, cilantro, mint, garlic and some sweetener to balance the flavors.

The result is a very intense, refreshing dipping sauce that contrasts extremely well with the heaviness of fried food. If you have extra spicy green chutney leftover, it makes a great companion to steamed fish. Once you try it, I'm sure you'll come up with your own uses for this truly versatile chutney.


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Toor Dal Recipe

Toor Dal

03.21.10 by Jackie

Toor dal is a staple dish in Indian cuisine. What I like the most about this dish is that no soaking is required. Like kali dal, the lentil dish is finished with baghar, which is a layer of melted ghee with fried darkened garlic cloves.

Toor dal is a great protein complement for a vegetarian diet when paired with a starch such as rice. Dal is a great way to bring a taste of India into your home.


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Lima Bean Masala (Indian Butter Bean Curry) Recipe

Lima beans, also known as butter beans, are legumes that are a great source of cholesterol-lowering fiber and protein. They have a wonderful buttery, starchy texture and are quite filling. At our home we make a lima bean curry that is eaten with paratha (flat Indian bread). The gravy used is the standard yogurt and caramelized onion combination flavored with Indian spices.

I used frozen lima beans in this dish. Frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness and are as close to fresh as you can get without growing them yourselves or finding a local supplier. I never use dried lima beans so no soaking is required with these. That means a faster cooking time, which is always nice.


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Spicy Garlic Chutney Recipe

Spicy Garlic Chutney

03.12.10 by Jackie

Spicy garlic chutney is meant to knock your socks off. I used Anaheim peppers which are mildly hot; you can decide on the level of spiciness by using hotter peppers such as Serrano peppers. If you're really masochistic, habanero or scotch bonnets would work as well. On the other hand, if you're like me and can't handle spicy food, you could use green bell peppers instead. 

This Indian chutney is a great condiment for subtly flavored dishes such as fish en papillote, meat, Indian potato cutlets, basmati rice and dahl or even a piece of toast. It's also very healthy for you due to the large quantity of fresh garlic. We make this chutney very often, as it stores well in the refrigerator. The only no-no would be to serve it during a romantic dinner !!


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Kali Dal (Indian Black Lentils) Recipe

Kali Dal (Indian Black Lentils)

03.10.10 by Jackie

The flavor combination of kali dal ("black lentils" in Urdu) is simple: black lentils, ginger and a few chiles to enhance the flavors. In this case, simple is beautiful. The dal is finished with a hint of acidity and tartness with dried mango powder. It is both tasty and healthy, especially if you're on a vegetarian diet and need the protein.

Since I'm married to a vegetarian, I have had to educate myself about how to create nutritious meals that are meat-free. What I learned is that the basis of any well-balanced vegetarian meal is a starch and a legume. This isn't too surprising; almost every culture has a combination like this, be it rice and beans, rice and tofu or bread and chickpeas. I've personally come to really enjoy rice and dal, which is the Indian version of this combination. Black dal in particular have a wonderful earthy, complex flavor that is hard to describe and impossible to forget. At the very least, try them the next time you go to an Indian restaurant, or better yet, make them at home. It's definitely worth the effort.


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