Tag Archives: curry

Recipe: Easy Coconut Kale Chickpea Curry

A nice simple curry for our (sometimes) complicated lives.

Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.

~ Lao Tzu

Hey everyone! I hope everyone had a great weekend!

I am sure many of you are enjoyed a nice rest and took some time to enjoy the rest of the delicious posts from Vegan Blogger’s Potluck that went down last week (with great success I might add). Great work and a giant fist bump to all involved!

Today’s recipe is another fave of ours, and it’s one that should make itself super comfy in anyone’s meal repertoire. Chock full of spicy delicious flavors, this classic straight out of Vikram Vij’s first cookbook won my heart straight away. I think you will soon see why!

I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

~ Thomas Edison

Ginger, tomato, jalapeno, cumin, and coconut…I mean what could be better?

Whipped up in just a few minutes, I challenge you to not want to curl right up into a warm bowl of this curry with a soft blanket and your favorite company…right away πŸ™‚

The Less:

Less complicated meals means easy & healthy are at your fingertips any day. Less heavy, dairy-based curry means more light plant-based goodness. Less heavy meat-based dinners means more satisfied tummies without digestive difficulty, so dinner time leaves you feeling spiced just right.

The More:

More high fiber chickpeas means more filling, hearty proteins. More spicy foods in winter means more warming for your insides. More warm bowls of nutrition means less clean up & complicated prep work, so one pot does the trick every time πŸ™‚

Easy Coconut Kale Chickpea Curry:

  • (1/2) cup canola oil
  • (1) tbsp cumin seeds
  • (1.5) cups finely chopped onions (1 large yellow should do)
  • (2-3) medium tomatoes, chopped
  • (1.5) tsp salt
  • (4-5) tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • (2) finely chopped fresh jalapeno peppers
  • (4) cups cooked chickpeas
  • (1) can coconut milk
  • (1) bunch green onions, chopped
  • (3-4) cups curly green kale, chopped very finely

Heat the oil in a medium to large pot on medium high for one minute. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 seconds (the seeds will start to sizzle and become fragrant). Add the chopped onions and continue to cook on medium high for about 8-10 minutes, until the onions are soft and brown.

Stir in the tomatoes, pepper, ginger and salt, and cook for a further 8-10 minutes, stirring well. THe oil should start to glisten on the top.

Add the chickpeas and coconut milk and stir well. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat to medium low, keep the pot covered and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring here and there.

At the last minute, add the chopped green onions and kale and stir in well. Cook the mixture for one to two minutes further until the kale turns bright green.

Serve this curry right away to retain the color in the kale and enjoy it freshly cooked.

Slightly spicy (or quite spicy depending on your idea of spicy), the fresh jalapeno add a kick of warmth to jump-start digestion and the coconut milk and tomatoes make a comforting & delicious sauce to match it.

Serve this dish on its own, or with this delicious homemade Naan Bread…this fabulous and creative (vegan) recipe was originally brought to us by Vegan Richa and has recently been beautifully celebrated again over at Kristy’s wonderful blog. I’ve been looking for a homemade naan recipe to try, so I am excited for this one!

I’m looking forward to trying this at home soon and love the great inspiration that is coming in these days.

Stored in the fridge, leftovers will keep for up to a week and all this needs is a gentle re-heating for an easy and satisfying weekday lunch or dinner. Perfect for these cool (and dark) winter days (over here in North America anyways)!

The greatest wealth is to live content with little.

~ Plato

On another note..this is one busy month for me and the crew at Not So Fast!

We’ve got (2) cooking classes coming up this month, the first being on the horizon in precisely a week from today – November 13th marks the first class!

We’ll be cooking the basics of a healthy day of delicious food on a limited budget with 8 youth here in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. For those of you interested in supporting our efforts…feel free to send a donation our way..every little bit helps, and as little as $5 goes an awful long way towards filling little tummies!

I’ll be sharing all of the details for this as we go along….but for now wish us luck! (THANKS!)

  • What’s your favorite warm & spicy winter meal?
  • What would a ‘basic day’ of food necessities be to you?

We all have those things we can’t live without, I’d love to know what your ideal healthy food day would look like from a necessity stand point. I’ve a feeling a few of those things might be included in today’s recipe…

Wishing you all the very finest of weeks as always! Love all of your guts….

Yours in Less,

55 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Health, Not So Fast, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

3 Recipes for Simple Living (and to pair with a mean curry)

Easy. Simple. Good!

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

~Mahatma Gandhi

I desperately want to tell you that the recipes I am about to share are very complicated. I want to tell you that you must be a culinary wizard to make them, and that you also must have deep pockets to be able to afford them.

But all of that would (of course) be a lie, because none of this is true (and I didn’t really want to tell you those things!).

Given that most of the world subsists on inexpensive healthy staples like rice, beans, and veggies, it is easy to see why it’s not so bad when they taste this darned good!

Hope is not what we find in evidence, it’s what we become in action.

~ Frances Moore LappΓ©

The 3 recipes included in today’s post are the perfect base or accent to any curry dish. Or really anything you fancy to go with it, for that matter.

Whether you pair it with the Paneer curry from the last post, this IPOM Red Lentil Curry, or any one of your favorite recipes, a few easy breezy steps and you are good to go!

Rice is naturally gluten-free, and there are so many varieties to try. Brown, black, red, white. When lightly toasted over heat (with oil) prior to boiling, it makes the final product light and fluffy – pilaf style. Rice that won’t stick together!

A simple rice dish paired with a crisp light raw salad, and your favorite condiment makes for tasty filling eating for pennies (unless you want to drop coin on something luxurious to top it with – totally your call!)

The search for truth is more precious than its possession.

~ Albert Einstein

Cumin Spiced Rice with Peas:

  • (1-2) tbsp butter, ghee, or vegetable oil
  • (1) tbsp cumin seeds
  • (1) cup white basmati rice
  • (1.75) cups cold water
  • (1) cup frozen green peas
  • (1/2) tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat and add butter, ghee, or oil. Once the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring the entire time, for about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn these by having them on too high heat!

*Note: if using this cooking method with other rices (most notably brown rice), the end result will be heavier. White basmati rice is ideal for this cooking style as it is naturally absorbent and fluffy – thus making it a light foil for heavier foods to go with it. If you do try it with brown rice, try using the lower amount of butter or oil.

Add the dry rice and cook, on the heat, stirring for about 5 minutes. The rice kernels will start to turn opaque and white. Be careful not to burn the rice by stirring pretty much every 10-15 seconds or so.

After 5 minutes, or the rice is consistently turning color (it will look flecky), add the cold water. Cover and bring to a boil on high. Once the water boils, turn the heat to low (without removing the lid), and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.

During the last 7-8 minutes of the rice cooking time, add the peas and allow them to cook atop the rice as it cooks (do not stir). Simply open the lid quickly (have the peas pre-measured!) and pop them in as quickly as possible.

After 20 minutes is up, turn the heat off and let the rice sit in the covered pan for 3-4 minutes. Once ready, fluff the rice and peas together with a fork and add the salt. Voila!

Ready to serve straight from the pot or transfer to a serving bowl and take to the table! πŸ™‚

Brussels sprouts have been a long time fave of mine.

They are cheap, available (pretty much) year-round and boast the same health benefits as their other cruciferous family members (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and yes, KALE!). They are pretty much a superfood in every sense of the word, and I adore them for their underdog status as one of the most ‘disliked’ vegetables out there.

The truth is (IMO), they taste great roasted, steamed, and here, completely raw!

If you’ve never tried them this way, I highly suggest you do – this salad is light and delicious while providing a gorgeous fresh contrast to your cooked dishes. I also love this little number wrapped in my fresh tacos with a little avocado and salsa too….but that is another post entirely!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad:

  • (6-8) good sized fresh brussels sprouts
  • (2-3) tbsp good quality olive oil
  • (1-2) tbsp apple cider vinegar (can sub regular vinegar just reduce to 1 tbsp to start)
  • (1) tsp fresh finely grated ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro leaves for the top

Start by buying the freshest brussels sprouts you can find. These guys are basically baby cabbages, and I almost prefer eating these in a salad over cabbage – they take up so much less space in the fridge too!

Wash the sprouts and peal and discard any rough outer leaves. Starting at the top of the sprout, with the stem end down, use a sharp knife to shred/slice the brussels sprouts as thinly as possible, one by one, into rounds as thin as possible. Separate the ‘slices’ with your hands and to a bowl.

Toss with olive oil, vinegar, and ginger until well mixed – massage gently with your bare hands to ensure the shaved sprouts soften up a little. Taste to add salt.

Serve in a lovely dish garnished with cilantro leaves and optional black pepper. You might be surprised who eats this and likes it! It is a pretty good disguise for this much maligned little wonder πŸ™‚

Can you tell I am a big fan of the sprout? Love’em….

The past has no power over the present moment.

~ Eckhart Tolle

A word (or two) about condiments:

Having good condiments in the house can become a bit of a fun hobby. Anyone out there a bit of a condiment collector?

It’s easy to do and there are just too many ways to liven up simple healthy food that it is mind-boggling (including this chutney I cannot wait to make). Really!

When I eat spicy Indian food, I always order a round of cooling Raita (Indian Yoghurt Dip). If you eat yoghurt, chances are you could have a regular stock of plain yoghurt in the house on a regular basis.

Here is a 2 second condiment that can make a good meal (just a little) better. There are many ways to make a Raita, but here are a few suggestions to get you started!

Cucumber Raita:

  • (1) cup plain yoghurt (pictured here is super thick Mediteranean style)
  • (1/4) cup grated or finely chopped peeled cucumber
  • pinch or two of Garam Masala spice mix, or ground cumin (about 1/4 tsp)
  • salt to taste

Mix all together in a bowl until just mixed. Do not over mix if you can help it!

That’s it! Serve immediately and make it as needed – Raita will keep but only for a day or so in the fridge, so small batches are best πŸ™‚

Enjoy this meal with friends, family, or anyone you want to share it with..

with or without broiled naan bread.

Who says food has to be complicated or expensive to be good?

Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.

~ Oscar Wilde

Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.

~ Lao Tzu

I know it is (perhaps) (just a little) corny, but when I think of sharing food, I often picture the world sitting around the table with me.

I picture wide smiles and hear happy sounds. This is why I cook food, and it brings so much joy to share it!

Live simply so that others may simply live.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Living with (just a little) less can be easy. Especially when it is this good!

I hope you’ll enjoy these ideas or use them as a launching pad to devise your own creations with these basic universal staples, and I’d love to hear your suggestions or favorite takes on the above.

This notion of sharing simple food is deep in the spirit of Not So Fast…the idea that there is enough food for all.

In the next week, I’ll tell you the story (and the results) of Carla and Chris’s 40 day trial of ‘going without’. I’ll tell you what they did, how they did it, and what it will mean to others (and yes they ate like kings the entire time!).

I can’t wait to share this with you all!

  • What is you favorite cheap staple or go to budget meal?
  • Do you have a favorite easy & frugal dish that is too good not to share?

I’d love your suggestions and they might just come in super handy in the future – so do let us know!

Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.

~ Albert Einstein

You know how much I adore your feedback and stories.

I wish you all could come and have a seat around my table……but for now I’ll be happy to receive your comments..…..even if I can’t see all your lovely smiles! πŸ™‚

Yours in Less,

91 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Saucy Spiced Paneer & Tomato Curry

You’ve got to move when the inspiration hits!

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

– Benjamin Franklin

I must admit, weekends at our house are pretty darned nice.

After a busy week (which usually doesn’t feel long at all), we all hunker down to enjoy some quality home time together, and this weekend was no exception.

I had plenty of time to catch up with my new computer – (and this is the first post I have written on it – yay!) – and with the newer, cleaner, faster and more efficient tool came a rush of energy to tackle a few big things.

So I cleaned the cupboards. Yes, the full treatment! Spices, bulk food, you name it. It was a whole day after which me and the girls trekked to the store to re-stock the ‘must-haves’ we were low on, and headed home to make dinner.

And it was Indian night by request!

If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.

– Albert Einstein

I have mentioned before that Indian food is a family favorite, and a good dinner out to us is treating at an authentic Indian restaurant.

Hands down, our favorite dish is called ‘Malai Kofta’ – otherwise known as Indian cheese (paneer) cooked in cream sauce with an added bit of (delectable) taste and texture in a generous addition of ground cashews. Yum.

Whatever you do, you should do it with feeling.

~ Yogi Berra

This recipe was from an early attempt I made (about 3-4 years ago) that was not far from the real thing. In last night’s version, I made a few changes, attempting to ‘lighten it’ ever so slightly by subbing what was entirely full cream for mostly milk.

To my strict vegan readers, I know this might be not easily veganized, but I am sure there are plenty of you who could share your own fabulous vegan Indian dishes with all of us (and don’t be shy, Richa at Hobby and More, that was for you!).

Make no mistake, this dish is a treat. It’s full of delicious rich ingredients that are to be eaten sparingly (ideally). It’s nice to treat the family to a meal like this, and we enjoy every last bite.

I hope you will too!

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

~Benjamin Franklin

The Less:

Less store-bought jarred spice mixes means more real fresh ingredients, less waste and more cash left over. Less super heavy cream means (just a little) fewer calories, and less wondering if you can cook Indian means knowing that yes, in fact, you can.

The More:

More home cooked, yummy foods means more reasons to stay in together. More spice and variety means you can break free of flavor doldrums. More fresh rich ingredients, means taking pleasure is more satisfying, even if you need just a little.

Saucy Spiced Paneer & Tomato Curry:

  • ( 2) medium-large onions, or 3 smaller onions, peeled and quartered
  • (3) tbsp butter, ghee, or canola oil
  • (2) tsp salt

Spices:

  • (2) tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • (2) tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
  • (2) tsp cumin ground
  • (2) tsp ground coriander
  • (1) tsp chili powder or cayenne

Sauce:

  • (1) 398 ml can chopped tomatoes
  • (3) tsp sugar
  • (1/2 – 1) cup ground cashews, raw (grind to medium fine)
  • (1) cup heavy cream
  • (2) cups homogenized milk

Finish:

  • (2) tsp Garam Masala spice mixture (available in most grocery store spice sections and they vary greatly)
  • (1) pound Paneer, cubed to one inch cubes (available in specialty grocery stores, and adventurous folks – you can make your own!)
  • (1) tsp vinegar (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan at medium-high until hot. Add the chopped onions and salt and turn to medium heat. Cover and cook, checking every 5 minutes to stir, for 20 minutes.

Prepare the rest of the ingredients while the onions cook.

Once the onions are soft and quite brown, add the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and cook, on medium heat for 5 minutes until fragrant. Make sure to actively stir the mixture to prevent burning of the delicate (and delicious spices)!

Add the tomatoes and sugar, and continue to cook until well incorporated, about another 5 minutes.

Using a hand blender, or a blender, puree this mixture until blended through. Return to the stove and turn heat to medium-low. Bring the mixture back to temperature (about 5 minutes) and add the cream, milk, garam masala spice, paneer cubes, and ground cashews.

Simmer for 15 minutes or so, uncovered on medium-low. Stir frequently to keep it from sticking or burning on the bottom – this is very important!

At the end, season again to taste, and add vinegar if you like – I find it adds a little zing to the creamy base and livens the flavors very nicely.

Serve hot with rice or naan – and enjoy every yummy morsel! πŸ™‚

This dish pairs excellently with any rice dish, broiled naan bread, and perhaps some animal protein such as tandoori chicken like my husband enjoys (but me and the girls pass on).

In my next post, I’ll share with you the yummy recipe for cumin rice with peas that we ate with this last night, as well as the refreshing shredded brussels sprout salad too πŸ™‚

Both of those are vegan (or vegan adaptable), and contrasted beautifully with this dish.

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Fortune favors the brave.

~ Virgil

If you only look at what is, you might never attain what could be.

~ Anonymous

So whether you are an experienced cook with the amazing world of Indian flavors or not, this dish gets a thumbs up in this house, and that is usually enough to make me smile into the next day for sure.

This post is also a little deviance from the smoothies and juices I’ve been sharing – and a delicious way to tuck into something rich and soothing!

No matter what happens, it is within my power to turn it to my advantage.

– Epictetus

Fresh shredded brussels sprout salad made a perfect side – my next post!

I made another change this week that I’ll keep under my hat a few more days. I want to see if I can make it stick. It’s (relatively) small, but if I can do this, will be HUGE to me. I’ll keep you all posted πŸ˜‰

  • Are you familiar with paneer?
  • If so, have you ever made it?
  • What is your favorite Indian dish (assuming you like it of course)

Let us know, will you?

Stay tuned for the accompaniments in my next post (they are yummy, and easy!) and have a great start to the week friends, and (as always) a giant thanks for reading and for your comments!

Yours in Less,

79 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Red Lentil Vegetable Curry

Happy Monday Everyone!

Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.

~ Albert Einstein

I hope you all had a truly fab weekend soaking up the spring sun and taking it all in!

As for us, we’ve got a new layer of topsoil in the garden and a clean fresh outlook – here’s to the new season…and Easter coming up!

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

~ Seneca

Today’s post is (once again) dedicated to the simple easy pleasures in life. Healthy food made delicious by the addition of simple (and rich) spices!

A vegetarian’s palette of inspiration is only as limited as the spice cupboard, and inexpensive staples can go from pretty meh to pretty mean in a few seconds with (just a little) bit of spice.

Indian spices in particular are so wonderfully varied, it’s almost impossible to go wrong with combos (but it can be done) – and there are a few easy ones that everyone should be familiar with.

They would be (for me): cumin (both ground and seeds), ginger, turmeric, black mustard seeds, coriander, garam masala (so many kinds!), cardamom..there are a few others – what are your classic faves?

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

~ Confucius

There are so many different spices to name but I’ve always had good luck preparing delicious veggie curries and bean dishes out of the ones listed above. They are known for being widely beneficial to digestion, and gentle and calming for the soul (maybe that part is just for me – anyone else?).

Side Note: Here in Vancouver – home to one of North America’s most widely celebrated Indian restaurants (Vij’s) – we are lucky to have a few high quality haunts (from budget to high-end) to frequent for a taste of the real thing. My recent (1st!) trip to London also brought me to Brick Lane, which was a very special experience, and I’ll never forget my 1st taste of that delicious lime pickle…amazing!

Alas, I don’t think a trip to India will ever be in the cards for me (but never say never), and I would never consider my home cooking a substitution for the real thing……but it isn’t all that hard, and cooking this way is:

Delicious, cheap, and good for you.

Straight up!

The Less:

Less complicated ingredients means you are more likely to make this. Less canned or jarred spice mixtures mean cleaner, simpler food. Less cream and animal based curries means lighter, cheaper meals. Less heavy beans means your body might not mind eating these (especially if you are sensitive to beans and legumes).

The More:

More flavorful vegetarian dishes in your repertoire means more yummy foods to cook often. More vibrantly colored food means more visual pleasure for your senses. More ginger and spices means more help for digestion. More cheap dinners means more money for other things. Straight up and simple, this dish a classic.

Red Lentil Vegetable Curry:

  • (2) tbsp olive oil, canola oil, or ghee
  • (2) tbsp black mustard seeds
  • (1) onion chopped (about one heaping cup)
  • (2) tsp salt
  • (2) tsp turmeric
  • (2) tsp cumin
  • (2) tbsp fresh chopped or grated ginger
  • (3) carrots, chopped (about one heaping cup)
  • (2) medium potatoes (about one heaping cup)
  • (1.5) cups canned diced tomatoes (1 398ml can)
  • (1) cup red lentils
  • (4) cups water
  • (1) lemon
  • black pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

The trick with this style of cooking is to have all of your spices ready and veggies chopped and ready to go.

Everything happens pretty quickly and even for experienced cooks it’s difficult to be prepping and measuring while the cameras are rolling. So be ready!

In a medium large pot, heat the oil on medium high. When hot, add the black mustard seeds and stir until they start to pop – don’t leave the stove – this takes about 30 seconds only!

Once the little seeds start dancing (and popping!), add the chopped onion and salt and cook, stirring about 5-6 minutes, or until golden. Add ginger and remaining dry spices and cook, stirring for one minute on medium heat. When spices are fragrant, add tomato and stir all well for about a minute or two until well integrated.

Hang tight – now you can almost step away….

Add lentils, chopped vegetables and water and stir all to well combine. Bring to a light boil on medium-high with the lid on. Once boiling temperature has been reached, turn the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes stirring frequently to prevent the lentils from prevent sticking to bottom of the pot.

Once ready, add the juice of lemon. Simple, zesty, and ready to serve!

Serve with ground pepper, a dash of butter or olive oil, plenty of freshly ground pepper and chopped fresh cilantro – don’t forget the side of rice if desired and buttery naan bread too!

This will get more delicious the longer it sits in your fridge and I highly recommend making it a day before you serve it. I’ve been making this curry as long as I’ve been cooking it seems – it never gets tired, and it’s always incredible!

So there you have it! An easy dinner on a cold night, or a starter to a great Indian meal.

I’ve got a bit of this leftover and I am thinking tonight’s dinner may just consist of a bowl of curry..straight up and simple.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

~ Dalai Lama

On another (slightly ironic and very sad) side note – we went to go for said Indian last night at our families favorite budget haunt here in town, only to find it had been destroyed by a fire!

Now we’re on the hunt for a new budget favorite – can’t wait to see what we find – and I hope they re-build and wish them well…lots of great memories and gratitude were had at that delicious place πŸ™‚

How about you?

  • What are your favorite curry dishes with lentils?
  • Got any spices we should all add to the list?

I hope you are all starting a wonderful week – anyone tried the recipes for the Sweet Life Chews or Lively Cilantro Sauce?

I’d love to know how they turned out. Drop us a line – we’ll be so happy you did!

Yours in Less,

66 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Family, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Soup, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian