Tag Archives: vegan

Indian Stir-Fried Black-Eyed Peas with Mushroom Croquettes, & Farewell to Crappy Pictures

3 Aug

I just borrowed two Indian cookbooks from the library– India’s Vegetarian Cooking: A Regional Guide by Monisha Bharadwaj, and Pure & Simple: Homemade Indian Vegetarian Cuisine by Vidhu Mittal– and so far, I’m impressed with both! As I browsed through the pages of each cookbook, I was in awe of the vibrant pictures and helpful descriptions of the process. I bookmarked several recipes to try out. I have a feeling I will be renewing these books several times 🙂

The other night I tried one recipe from each book to make Stir-Fried Black-Eyed Peas (“Bhuna Lobhia”), and Mushroom Croquettes (“Khumb ke Cutlet”). What attracted me to these recipes was that they called for easy-to-find ingredients. In fact, for the main dish, I only needed to buy tomatoes and peas…I had everything else on hand or was buying the ingredients anyway for other dishes I was making that week. Love that!

Both dishes were amazingly flavorful. The mushroom croquettes had a crunchy exterior, then a nice thick layer of soft potato, and and finally some tasty stir-fried mushrooms and peppers in the center. I imagine it being like a tater tot for grown-ups (but obviously way better!) 🙂 I thought the croquettes tasted wonderful on their own, but next time I make them I might also include some sort of chutney to add some brightness.

The black-eyed peas were also wonderful. The ginger, garlic, cilantro, cumin seeds, and other Indian spices were a fantastic combination, and one I’ve yet to encounter in Indian restaurants. I will definitely be making this dish again and again!

Will you miss crappy pictures like this one? I won't!

In other news, the pictures you see in this post are [hopefully] the last crappy pictures you’ll see from me! I am excited to report that my husband and I just bought ourselves a Sony Cybershot DSC-HX100V as an early Christmas present! We were certainly due for a new camera; I bought my last one in 2003 and it is a measly 5 megapixels! So practically a stone age camera.

Oh and my husband just got a new job (hooray!) so he had to take advantage of his employee discount of H.H. Gregg while he still could 🙂 I am hoping my food photography improves markedly, but I know I need to still learn more about proper lighting and composition; a new camera won’t solve all my problems. Feel free to leave me some tips!

Stir-Fried Black-Eyed Peas/Bhuna Lobhia

(adapted from recipe by Monisha Bharadwaj, India’s Vegetarian Cooking: A Regional Guide)


  • 2 tbsp canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (equal parts ginger and garlic, combined in mini food processor)
  • 1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Add the cumin seeds, fry until dark, and then add the onion and stir-fry until golden. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste and mix well.
  • Add the black-eyed peas, sprinkle in the chili powder and tumeric, and fry for 1 minute. Then add tomatoes, garam masala, sugar, and salt. Stir, add about 1/2 cup water, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 15 mins. The beans should retain their shape. To further thicken the sauce, mash a few of the black-eyed peas.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Mushroom Croquettes/Khumb ke Cutlet

(adapted from recipe by Vidhu Mittal, Pure & Simple: Homemade Indian Vegetarian Cuisine)


  • 1 large potato, boiled for about 20 mins, and grated
  • 2 bread slices (I used whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated mozzarella or other melting cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt, plus more, to taste
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tbsp bell pepper, chopped


  • Dip the bread slices in about 2/3 cup of water and immediately squeeze out the water. Mix bread with  potato, cheese, and salt. Set aside.
  • For the filling, heat 2 tsp oil in a pan, add mushrooms, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for about 30 seconds and remove.
  • Divide the potato dough into 15 equal-sized balls. Stuff each ball with 1/4 tsp filling, and fold to seal the filling inside. Reshape.
  • Heat a deep fryer to 360 degrees (or fry on stovetop). Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Drain on paper towels, then serve.

Makes 15 croquettes.


Falafel with White Bean Yogurt Sauce & Tabouli

31 Jul

There are few things better in life than falafel enveloped by hummus and pita at a good Greek restaurant. While I’ve done a good job of making hummus in my own kitchen, I always thought falafel was something so delicious and complex that I’d never be able to recreate it. The closest I’d come was to buy a falafel mix, which proved sorely disappointing. Without hope, my quest to find a perfect falafel recipe never really began.

That’s why, when I randomly stumbled upon this recipe for falafel, I was only cautiously optimistic. I couldn’t allow myself to get my hopes up only to be disappointed! To say I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted this dish would be an understatement.

It was fantastic!! The falafel itself was crispy and flavorful and not too dry (like poorly executed falafel can sometimes be). The white bean yogurt sauce was the perfect accompaniment as a cold, refreshing topping to the warm falafel. And the tabouli was also amazing! Admittedly, I had never tried tabouli before so I can’t speak to its authenticity, but I can say that it tasted bright, fresh, and lemony. I can’t imagine a better side dish for the falafel!

Not only was this dish a delight to eat, but it was also rather simple to make. There isn’t much chopping because the recipe mostly relies on the food processor. The only thing that’s cooked on the stove is the Israeli couscous (unless you do your frying on the stove, that is), and the falafel only takes a couple of minutes in the deep fryer for almost immediate gratification.

And to top it all off, this recipe comes from Melissa D’Arabian’s Ten Dollar Dinners. So you can easily whip up a delicious meal that tastes like it belongs in a great Greek restaurant, for less than $10! This recipe is definitely something to be excited about.

Falafel with White Bean Yogurt Sauce and Tabouli

(adapted from falafel, white bean sauce and tabouli recipes by Melissa D’Arabian)

For the Falafel-


  • 2 1/4 cups canned chickpeas
  • 3 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • Generous 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
  • Generous 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup flour for shaping patties
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Spinach, for garnish
  • White bean yogurt sauce, recipe follows


  • In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, scallions, garlic, cumin, coriander, chili powder, parsley, cilantro, egg, and lemon juice. Pulse to combine and season with salt. The mixture will not be smooth, but it should not have  large chunks.
  • Add in the baking powder and 1/3 cup of the flour and pulse to just combine. Remove to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Heat a deep fryer to 360 degrees F (Note: you can also fry on the stovetop if you don’t have a deep fryer– see the original recipe for instructions).
  • Remove the chickpea mixture from the refrigerator. While waiting for the deep fryer to heat, drop spoonfuls of the chickpea mixture onto a plate with 1/4 cup flour. Roll into balls on the floured plate and press gently into patties.
  • Fry in batches of hot oil for about 3 to 4 minutes each side and drain on paper towels.
  • Serve the falafel on a bed of spinach and topped with white bean yogurt sauce.

For the White Bean Yogurt Sauce-


  • 3/4 cup cooked white beans
  • 1 small garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Puree the white beans, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, and olive oil in a mini food processor until very smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
For the Tabouli-

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (optional, I didn’t use it)
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • Cook couscous according to package directions, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain the couscous and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and zest with the olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • In a large serving bowl, mix together the couscous, parsley, cilantro, mint (if using), tomatoes, and scallions. Toss with the vinaigrette and season to taste.
  • Allow to sit for at least a half hour so the flavors can marry.

Makes 4 servings.

Sweet Potato, Corn, & Black Bean Soup

19 Jul

I know what you’re thinking: Why is she posting a soup recipe when the heat index is above 100 degrees?! Well because this is no ordinary soup. Yes, it will entail you hovering near the stove for a half hour or so, but once you taste the result, you’ll see that this soup is actually very light, refreshing, and perfect for a hot summer day!

Yesterday was certainly one of those hot summer days. It felt like a sauna outside! My air conditioned house was a welcome reprieve after a long walk around a park with my friend (what were we thinking?!). Despite my exhaustion, I soldiered on and figured I could easily throw together this soup for dinner.

As I sauteed the corn, black beans, red peppers, and diced green chilis for the soup, my husband squirmed with delight. “My favorite ingredients in the world!” he exclaimed. I suppose this should come as no surprise, as I’ve previously posted about his obsession with black beans. But it’s nice to get some cheerleading in the kitchen every  now and then 🙂

Indeed, this  Sweet Potato, Corn, and Black Bean soup by Leftovers 4 Lunch is worth all the fanfare, and has risen to the top of my list of favorite soups. It’s super healthy (no cream or anything goes into it…just lots of veggie goodness), and contains inexpensive ingredients (a definite plus when food prices are soaring!)…but tastes fantastic. I love the silky smooth butternut squash base with the crunch of the red peppers and corn. The lime and cilantro give it just the right amount of acidity, freshness, and Mexican flair.

Hope everyone is managing to stay cool!

Sweet Potato, Corn, & Black Bean Soup (slightly adapted from Leftovers 4 Lunch)


  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (for me, it was 2 medium potatoes)
  • 2 small yellow onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups frozen corn kernals
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 oz can diced green chilis (or less, depending on your desired heat level)
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft, about 8 minutes.
  • Add broth, water, and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer until potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add red peppers and sautee for about 3 minutes. Next, add corn and sautee until warm, about 1 minute. Finally, add black beans and diced chilis. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and sautee mixture approximately 3 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender, blend the sweet potatoes and broth mixture until smooth. Stir in corn, black beans, bell pepper, and chili mixture. Add lime juice, cilantro, and more salt and pepper, to taste. Heat through, and and garnish with cilantro before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

[School’s NOT Out for Summer, But I at Least I Can Have Some] Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Scallions

23 May

It’s finally starting to feel like summer here in Indiana! And you know what summer means… school is out of session and leisure time abounds with lots of lazy days by the pool.  Sigh, I wish! My summer is characterized by summer classes 5 days per week, my part-time research job requiring more work than usual, and studying for and taking a grueling six-hour preliminary exam to prove I am deserving of doctoral candidacy. /end complaining

But summer won’t be all bad. I have a few weekend trips planned, and I get to enjoy eating on the patio that my husband and I installed last year. To me, summer means grilling, which is not only delicious, but also gives me a satisfying sense that I am defying traditional gender roles. Any other ladies out there feel that sense of accomplishment from grilling, or is it just me? 🙂

Anyway, today’s recipe is for Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Scallions. It’s super easy. You just throw sweet potatoes, scallions, and garlic in a foil packet along with some salt and pepper, and plop it on the grill. Grilling the sweet potatoes really brings out their sweetness, which is balanced by the garlic and onion flavor. It’s the perfect summer side dish!

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Scallions (recipe by Food Network Magazine)


  • 1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (Note: I used dried thyme, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Combine sweet potatoes, scallions, garlic, and thyme in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place mixture on a sheet of foil and fold to close.
  • Grill over low heat until the potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes.

Makes 3-4 side dish servings.