Traditionally, vegetarian Indian meals have at least three components: a vegetable sabzi (stir-fry), lentils, and rice or bread. The idea behind this theme? That the lentils afford a vegetarian protein to help nutritionally balance out the meal.
I don't know about you, but most days I'm lucky to just get dinner on the table. I'm not always able to make sure we have that protein component in our meals even if we still want to eat a vegetarian diet.
Why, I'm on a mission to taste test non-traditional ingredients in my recipes. Ingredients like quinoa, cashew cream, edamame, are known outside the world of Indian food, but are rarely pulled in to the cuisine in any real and memorable way. This week's recipe plays on this theme.
I've taken an Indian favorite - Aloo Gobi - or, Potato and Cauliflower, and swapped edamame (soybeans) for the peas, and added a touch of homemade cashew cream for easy and delicious plant-based protein. Not only is this dish even better for you, it also tastes just as good as the original. I tested it on my picky Punjabi husband who didn't even notice the difference until I told him. And THEN of course I got the eye roll!
The only extra step you'll need to make is making the cashew cream, which is super simple. Soak 1 cup of raw, unsalted cashews in 1 cup of water for at least 2 hours, though overnight is better. Add this to your blender or Vita Mix with another 1/2 cup water. Blend until nice and creamy. Add more water a tablespoon at a time if you want to thin it out. This will keep in the fridge just under a week, but why not pour it into ice cube trays and freeze for use later here and there in your Indian curries, pasta sauces, and whatever else typically uses dairy cream?
Protein-Rich Aloo Gobi with Cashew Cream and Edamame
1 tablespoon oil or ghee (I use grape seed)
1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1-inch piece of ginger, grated or thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small Russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 Thai chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
1 cup shelled edamame
4 Tablespoons cashew cream
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut in florets
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
1 tablespoon salt
1. Add oil, heat over medium-high heat. Add cumin and turmeric. Cook until the seeds turn reddish-brown, about 20 seconds.
2. Add onion. Cook 1-2 minutes until slightly brown. Add ginger and garlic, cook 30 seconds, mixing.
3. Add potato and chiles, and cook 1 minute. Add edamame and cook 2 minutes, mixing.
4. Push all ingredients to one side, and on the other, add cashew cream and tomato paste. cook 30-40 seconds until this liquid starts to bubble. Then, mix everything together. If the cashew cream dries out a bit, just add a little water a tablespoon at a time to loosen it up a bit.
5. Add cauliflower, garam masala, red chile, and salt. Mix well and cook uncovered about 4 minutes. Turn heat down to low, put the lid on the pan slightly ajar, and cook for another 6-8 minutes until the cauliflower cooks through.
Enjoy with roti, rice, or naan. I love stuffing this into a pita for the kids or even making an 'Indian Panini' out of it in my panini press the next day.
If you love this recipe, hop on my Facebook Page, Indian As Apple Pie, and share it. For every share I am sending folks a free sample of one of my spice blends, as we try to get 1,000 new likes in January for our next round of giveaways. Just share, tag @IndianAsApplePie, and email me your address (email@example.com). Thanks for sharing all the spicy love, folks! xoxo Anupy