I’ve been vegetarian for almost four years and I owe it all to Indian cuisine. It is by far the most delectable and perfectly seasoned food I have ever tasted. What I like most about it are the versatile dishes created with only one food. A typical vegetarian Indian meal has rice or bread (naan, chapati, roti, puri), at least one vegetable, dal (lentils or other pea), and condiments like chutney and yogurt. Here are a few of my favorite recipes:
Navratan Korma typically has paneer (fresh, cubed Indian cheese which tastes like cottage cheese without the tartness ) but I omit it or add ½ cup cubed silken tofu.
Make a paste with 1 Tbsp shredded ginger, 1 Tbsp coriander powder, ¼ tsp turmeric, and ½ tsp red chili powder, optional 1 green chili finely chopped. In a heavy bottom pan, heat 3 Tbsp oil. When oil is hot add 2 bay leaves and then the paste. Fry for 15 seconds then add a 16 oz bag frozen of mixed vegetables or 2 ½ cups mixture of fresh cauliflower, green peas, carrots, and green beans. Stir well and cover until the carrots are almost tender (3-4 min). Mix in ½ Tbsp cornstarch then salt to taste. Add tofu or paneer and mix well. Cover for another 3-4 minutes then add 1 cup of plain soy or rice milk. Finally add ½ tsp garam masala and 2 Tbsp cilantro (opt) and mix well.
Aloo Dum is a very simple potato curry. Peel and cube four large potatoes into bite size pieces. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil. Add ½ tsp cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds. Saute ½ of a finely chopped onion, 1 minced, small garlic clove, and 1 Tbsp minced ginger until golden brown. Add ½ tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, and ¼ ground fennel (opt). Saute for 30 seconds then add potatoes coating them well and add enough water to almost cover, bring to a boil, cover, turn down to a simmer. Cook 20-25 minutes garnish with cilantro.
Masoor Dal or lentils do not need to be soaked. Rinse 1 cup lentils thoroughly. With 3 cups of water, bring lentils to a boil along with ½ tsp of turmeric and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. After 20-25 mintues lentils should me done. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a small saucepan and fry ½ tsp cumin seeds, 3 cloves minced garlic, then 1 chopped onion, and to lentils along with salt to taste.