Tag Archives: Vegetarian/Vegan

Mango Date Chutney with a Bengali Touch

It’s the end of May, and I’m so happy to announce that Winter has finally decided to leave Minnesota!  In all my memory–granted, that’s a little less than 30 years–I have never suffered through such a horrible, never-ending season.  It was terrible.

The -60 degree F (-51.1 degrees C, for all you non-American peeps out there) windchills not only made life miserable for me (actually, this winter life was miserable for nearly everyone!) but it also took it’s toll on my beautiful gardens.

Sadly, my beloved lavender plant did not survive.  It’s dead stems are still protruding out of the ground and I keep hoping maybe–just maybe–they’ll send out some new, green shoots.  So far, no luck.

I’ve been meaning to get a few new posts up on this space for quite a while now, but I’ve just been so busy with cleaning the yard/gardens, mulching, and planting.  I keep telling Piyush that he gets the better end of the deal.  He pays for the supplies and I do all the labor while he’s out golfing.  Haha…after all, a happy marriage is all about compromise!

bengali mango and date chutneyLast week our local market had mangoes on sale.  The mangoes we get here in Minnesota are mostly tasteless and I don’t really enjoy to eat them plain as a snack. However, they do star wonderfully in a delicious, homemade chutney!

Typically (or at least what Piyush tells me), in India mango chutney is made with green, unripe mangoes.  But because ours have little flavor I always choose to let them ripen until they’re at their sweetest.

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Simple and Delicious Gobi Sabzi: Indian Spiced Cauliflower

indian spiced cauliflower, fried cauliflower, cauliflower sabziThere are certain foods that have the fascinating ability to transport me to another place and time.  Sometimes it’s the taste of a fragrant, freshly baked slice of bread.  One bite and I’m nine years old, back in my grandmother’s farm kitchen giggling with my cousins.  Oh how I miss my cousins…

Other times it’s one sip of a cheap keg beer at a friend’s wedding causing me to remember my college days and all the (embarrassingly fun) moments with long-lost friends whom I’ll probably never cross paths with again (even you, crazy Toby!).

And then there is is this.   Continue reading

Indian Food Basics: Homemade Garam Masala

Hello Readers!  It’s been quite some time since my last post–too long, actually. Since returning from India I’ve found myself incredibly swamped.  Between unpacking from our trip and entertaining for the holidays, I simply haven’t had the time to sit down and blog.  I also haven’t had time to moderate comments/emails, so please bear with me.  I’m getting there!

Tonight I am going to show you how to make my version of Garam Masala–arguably India’s most popular spice mix.

If you’ve never heard of garam masala before, no worries! Many people I’ve met have no idea what it is or what it’s used for.  Instead, they think that all Indian curries are made with a singular, yellow spice called “Curry Powder.”  Interestingly enough, this mysterious “Curry Powder” doesn’t actually exist in most Indian kitchens.

In it’s place is the extremely fragrant and warm spice mix known as garam masala.

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The name garam masala literally means “hot spice mixture,” but don’t be confused.  The “hot” refers to the intensity and warmth of the spices and not it’s chili content–so even those with the most sensitive of taste-buds can enjoy dishes made with this spice mixture (eh hmmm…mom!).   Continue reading

Gajar Halwa: Indian Sweet Carrot “Pudding”

This post has been a long time coming.  I’ve started writing it (what seems like) a million times, but no matter how hard I’ve tried to finish…it just wasn’t happening.

The phone would ring.  A time sensitive email would show up in my inbox.  Piyush would want the laptop to practice Chess–he’s a competitive player, don’t ‘cha know? Dinner would need to be made.  Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

Yes, that is a room full of chess players.  Very serious stuff, I tell you.

Yes, that is a room full of chess players. Very serious stuff, I tell you.

I also wanted to apologize to any one and every one of my dear readers who have left me a comment or sent me an email or personal note–and I haven’t responded.  I’m extremely grateful for all the kind words and comments I’ve received lately.  I’m also so, so very sorry for my slow responses.  We’re leaving for India soon and I’ve had so many things to tie up before we leave, I promise It’s on my agenda. :-D

Anyway, tonight (it’s around 12:30am and I recently got home from work) I’m finally going to share with you one of my favorite Indian sweets!

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I first tasted this magnificent treat on a dinner-date with Piyush, and it was love at first bite. Continue reading

Pohe: A Maharashtrian Rice Snack (Vegan!)

Allow me to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite Indian dishes, Pohe!

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Pohe

Since Pohe is traditionally made and served in the west of India–specifically around Maharashtra– it’s not something most Bengali families would grow up eating.  Luckily for me (and you all!), Maa (my mother-in-law) learned to cook Pohe while Baba (father-in-law) worked in Mumbai…and boy, I’m glad she did!

This dish is often referred to as Kanda Pohe and is made from beaten rice flakes.  It usually includes onions, mustard seeds and large chunks of boiled potatoes. Ground turmeric gives it the bright, yellow color.  Continue reading

The Easiest Chocolate Cake Ever (and it’s Vegan)

I have a “thing” for chocolate. I love everything about it.  It’s smell, it’s taste and–most especially (at the risk of sounding like some sort of chocolate obsessed crazy lady who is in clear need of psychological assistance)–it’s ability to “pick me up” when I’m feeling down.

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Dressed up with Dark Chocolate Ganache, Rasberries and Pistachios

The only thing I might love more than chocolate is cake; and if it’s a chocolate cake, then I can promise you that I’m a happy lady!

This cake is magic, and will definitely lift anyone’s mood.  The recipe is fool proof, and the cake comes together quickly and without much effort.  It is also a vegan!  That’s right, there are no eggs or butter–and yet the cake is still deliciously decadent!  Who would have thought?! Continue reading

Tamatar Shorba (Indian Spiced Tomato Soup) Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly

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Tamatar Shorba with Spiced Grilled Cheese Sliders

Last year at this time tomato soup would have been the last thing on my mind!  Instead, I was preoccupied with my “baby” plants, berry picking and killing those stubborn Canadian Thistles…Seriously, how do you get rid of those things?!

Unfortunately, this year has been the complete opposite of the last.  Winter is holding on tight, refusing to budge.  Looking out the window, one would think it was December, not May!  It’s been a long winter and I’m beginning to feel a little confused (and a whole lot irritated!)–unsure if I should be planning my gardens or digging out the Christmas decorations.

As you can probably imagine, I’ve been daydreaming a lot about the warmth of India. I’ve even gone so far as to tell Piyush I think we should move there.  Sell the house, ship our stuff overseas and live happily in the tropics–with an air conditioner to keep us cool, of course.  I’d grow my own black pepper plants, drink liters of chai every single day and we’d have our very own mango tree in the back garden.   Continue reading