Tag Archives: indian food

Indian Cabbage Salad

Indian Cabbage Salad

I had a pretty stellar Thanksgiving this year. The party included two of my bestest friends of all time, Rachel and Dave, visiting for the occasion all the way from Austin, Texas (via a year-long stint in Berlin).

On the evening before our big day of nut roast and Prosecco, I decided a pre-Thanksgiving dinner detox was in order. So I went with the kind of food that I know I can make well, tastes a bit celebratory, but just happens to be healthy and vegan at the same time. The meal: my reliable red lentil dahl with panch phoran, Indian cabbage salad, basmati rice and flatbread masquerading as naan.

Of all the dishes, the cabbage salad was the biggest hit, a nice thing because I never know if my love of this salad has something to do with my own personal obsession with all things cabbage, or with the fact that the cabbage salad really is that good. Rachel seems to confirm my suspicion that this, indeed, is cabbage clad in awesomeness, so I’m posting the recipe here for her and for all cabbage lovers of the world. (Consequentially, I also made this salad for my friend, Claudia, last year – you can see it in the picture above, made all the more better by her rad vintage tableware – she also gave it the thumbs up.)

This salad is basically a winter riff on this cucumber and coconut salad and leaves a lot of room for improvisation (because I know how much Rachel loves improv). Any cabbage will do for this salad, though I am partial to the texture of Savoy. Chop it chunky or slice it fine. Skip the carrots if you don’t have them, or try adding other slaw-style goodness like bell peppers. Up the spices or the chilli if that’s your thing. Go nuts with the coriander.

I don’t usually follow a recipe when I make this, but I’ve attempted to write it up as such all the same. Do let me know if you try it and what you think!

Indian Cabbage Salad
 

I left out the asafoetida and curry leaves when I made this for Rachel and Dave but if you have them, use them. Feel free to chop the cabbage and carrots as finely or as not finely as you have the patience and inclination. My tendency is often to slice as finely as possible, but sometimes I like a chunky salad!
Ingredients
  • ½ head of cabbage, finely sliced or chopped
  • 2 carrots, shredded or sliced
  • a small bunch of fresh cilantro (i.e. coriander), finely chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp asafoetida (optional)
  • ~10 dried curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 green chilli, finely sliced (be careful with these – they can be HOT!)
  • 2Tbsp grated or dessicated coconut (or more to taste)
  • juice from half a lemon
  • salt

Instructions
  1. Put the cabbage, carrots and coriander in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Put the oil in a large frying pan with the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Turn the heat up to medium and wait for the seeds to start sizzling and smelling delicious.
  3. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the green chilli and fry for another few seconds, then pour the oil and seeds over the salad. (If you’re struggling to get all of the seeds out of the pan, put some of the salad in the pan and swirl it around, then scrape back into the bowl.)
  4. Add the lemon juice, a pinch of salt and the coconut. Taste, adding more salt, lemon or coconut if desired.

 

Gujerati Thali

Gujerati Thali

Yesterday’s lunch / dinner came courtesy of Urvashi Roe‘s Gujerati Thali class at The Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath. Me and fellow students spent the day learning to cook the Gujerati style of Indian food, and in groups of three created our own twists on dhal, potato shak (a dry type of curry) and coriander coconut chutney, all of which we enjoyed over a thali feast at the end of the class.

I loved it all, especially the new experience of trying Guvar and Tindoor, two indian vegetables featured in the shak. And it was great fun trying all the different dahls, some with coconut milk, some without. Ultimate highlight might be the coriander coconut chutney – cuz let’s face it, good chutney can bring any meal together.

I’ll be writing more on this class coming soon (including the recipe for that super coriander chutney). For now, check out Urvashi’s Gujerati Girl blog (or visit her in her other guise as The Botanical Baker).

My Weekend with the Botanical Baker

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Last weekend reminded me what being a foodie is all about.

I spent Saturday and Sunday with Urvashi Roe, who some of you might know from the Great British Bake Off. Urvashi also has a blog, The Botanical Baker, where she writes about all things food, including baking, restaurants and dishes from her Gujerati heritage.

On Saturday, Urvashi hosted a pop-up “Afternoon Tea” with Pipe Dream UK at Maze Inn in North London. When Urvashi invited me to come along to photograph and partake of the food, I jumped at the chance.

Orange polenta cake with warm cardamom drizzle. @botanicalbaker style.

The theme was citrus and all of the dishes – both sweet and savoury – included some element of lemon, lime or orange. I knew Urvashi was a good cook, but the inventive menu revealed that Urvashi’s skills go way beyond “Great British Baking”:

  • Lemon Rolls with Grilled Halloumi and Rocket in Womersley Dressing
  • Rye and Caraway Bruschetta with Lime Guacamole
  • Orange Polenta Cake with Warm Cardamom Drizzle
  • Lime Fizz Cupcake, Lemon Meringue Tart, Citrus Macaroons

The lemon rolls were a total surprise – I don’t think I’ve ever had bread infused with citrus, and I was surprised by how well it went with the halloumi. But I absolutely adored the rye and caraway bread with guacamole.

Rye and Caraway Bruschetta with Lime Guacamole

I’m definitely going to try making the caraway rye bread at home. And I can do that because Urvashi is awesome: included with the tea were little booklets containing recipes for all of the dishes. I love chefs who actually share the whole process of how food comes together – to me, half the joy of eating is knowing where the food comes from and how it was made.

Recipe Booklet

As this was “afternoon tea”, each course was paired with tea from Comins Tea House – a recent discovery of mine after receiving some of their tea and china as a Christmas present. I never liked Darjeeling tea until I tried theirs. (It also helps that they have fantastic customer service and a very friendly Twitter presence.)

White tea and macaroons

The Last Course

The pop-up was epic, but Sunday brought this foodie weekend to a whole new level. When I first met Urvashi at the Foodie Bugle lunch last year, we spoke at length of her Gujarati heritage and our mutual love of Indian food. So on Sunday, Urvashi introduced me to the cuisine of Gujarat and, as I kept repeating to her throughout the day, I was totally in my bliss.

It began with breakfast. Urvashi made patra, a Gujarati snack made with chickpea flour rolled in taro leaf with spices, then sliced and fried. We also had puri, an Indian flatbread, with a sweet lemon pickle. The combination was like having a love affair in breakfast form. I will take any excuse I can to eat that pickle again.

Yum: Gor Lemon Pickle

Later, Urvashi took me to Sakonis in Wembley for their lunch buffet, which is basically the Indian buffet to end all Indian buffets as far as I’m concerned. Not only is it fantastically EPIC, but the dishes are fresh and entirely vegetarian. Better still, I discovered a few new dishes to add my forever-growing list of Indian favourites.

Lunching with @botanicalbaker. Spectacular Indian buffet.

First was Dahi Wada, spiced lentil balls in a yogurt sauce, and Bhel Puri, a puffed rice dish with chickpeas, both popular North Indian street foods (aka chaat).

Dahi Wada and Bhel Puri

I also loved the simple Khadi, a spicy soup made with chickpea flour and sour yogurt which I wouldn’t my trying at home. Same goes for the Sambharo, a very simple Gujarati-style cabbage salad with carrot and chilli – a cabbage lover’s wet dream. The urid dal also grabbed me – a nice, hearty change from the red lentil and toor dals I’m used to:

Urid Dal

The day culminated with a trip to VB & Sons Indian supermarket, where I went a little crazy. I stocked up on spices and urid dal, then hit the help-your-self pickle station hardcore.

Pickles!

Add to that some fresh curry leaves and a big bag of almonds for almond butter, I took home an impressive amount of goodies for only £13.91. And now I’m well-poised to try recreating some of these delicious dishes at home.

We finished the afternoon with a drive-by Neasdon Temple on the way to Paddington, where my weekend with Urvashi came to an end. But there are plenty of reasons to go back. I’d love to introduce my family – Indian buffet aficionados – to Sakonis. (Says my dad: “Indian food is the closest I’ve ever been to heaven”, and that’s saying a lot given he used to be a Catholic priest.) Also, a proper visit to Neasdon Temple has been on my hit-list for years.

Temples and food extravaganzas aside, Urvashi and her family are some of the most generous, well-natured people I’ve ever met – a joy to be around and really fun to hang out with.

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Thanks is in order to Urvashi for showing me a fabulous weekend. Like I said, this is what being a foodie is all about: meeting like-minded people, learning new things, enjoying delicious food and most importantly, sharing it with others over good conversation (and maybe a bit of Prosecco and Sloe gin).

I’m really loving my foodie life at the moment.

Check out Urvashi’s The Botanical Baker to see some of her wonderful stories and recipes, including this dhal which I can’t wait to try with my urid.

Flickr Photoset: My Weekend with the Botanical Baker