Indian Vegetarian Recipes (Collection #9: Curry dishes, Indian ice cream)

Potato & Pea Stew


  • 3 tbs. ghee
  • 1,5 lb potatoes, cubed
  • 1 tbs. minced ginger root
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 green chiles, minced
  • 1 tbs. coriander
  • 1/2 tbs. whole cumin seeds
  • 1,25 cups water
  • 1 tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1,5 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/4 tsp. asafetida
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tbs. fresh coriander, chopped
  • Heat ghee till hot. Add ginger, chilies, cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. Fry for a few seconds and add asafetida. A few seconds later add the tomatoes and fry for 3 minutes.

    Add the potatoes, turmeric, coriander and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

    Add the peas, salt and half the chopped coriander. Continue to cook, partially covered, till the potatoes are soft. Garnish with the rest of the coriander and serve.

    Serves: 6.

    Adapted from Yamuna Devi, "The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking"

    Aloo Achaar (Nepal potato salad)

  • 4 medium size waxy boiling potatoes
  • 4 Tbs. ground roasted sesame seeds
  • 3 or 4 Tbs. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 or more hot green chiles, finely minced (*)
  • 4 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • pinch ground Asafoetida (**)
  • 8 to 10 whole fenugreek seeds (**)
  • 3 Tbs. cilantro (Chinese parsley) minced
  • (*) Use as many chiles, like jalapenos, as you can stand. If you can't tolerate hot, spicy food, 2 or 3 Tbs. green bell pepper can be substituted.

    (**) Look for these in an Indian or Middle-Eastern grocery

    Boil the potatoes in a big pot. Meanwhile, combine the chiles (or green pepper), salt, lemon juice and ground roasted sesame seeds in a non-metallic bowl. (By the way, roasted sesame seeds can be found as "iri goma" in Oriental markets. I don't know if you can get them already ground up.) Add the sesame oil just a little at a time and mix in with a wire whisk.

    Using a metal ladle or a small butter warmer, heat the vegetable oil by holding it over heat. When quite hot, add the asafoetida powder and fenugreek seeds. The fenugreek seeds will start to darken in the hot oil in just a few seconds... when this happens dump it all into the bowl. Mix well, then add the cilantro (Chinese parsley) and mix some more. Check your seasonings.

    When the potatoes are done, drain and peel while hot (holding with a fork if you need to.) The peel should slide right off. Cut into 3/4" dice and add to the bowl of dressing. Gently mix to coat all the cubes and finally adjust your seasonings if needed. Let cool, cover and refrigerate.

    You can eat this after a couple of hours, either cold or room temperature. However, it's supposed to be much better the next day. It keeps for up to 4 days refrigerated.

    Inspired by Madhur Jaffrey's "World of the East Vegetarian Cooking."

    Black Bean Chili


  • 3 cups dried black beans, soaked
  • 1/2 tbs. oregano
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 4 cup peeled, chopped plum tomatos
  • 1,5 tbs. grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tbs. mustard seeds
  • 2 tbs. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • Drain beans. Place in a large pot and add 8 cup water. Bring to a boil. Add peppers, ginger, bay leaf and 1/2 cup cilantro. Cover and simmer for 1,5 to 2 hours. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

    Place cumin seeds in a pot and toast. When seeds darken, add chili powder, oregano, tomatoes. Stir well and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. In another bowl, combine bulgur with boiling water, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

    When beans are cooked, remove 1 cup and puree it with some cooking liquid. Combine puree with remaining beans. Stir in tomato mixture and bulgur. Season and simer for 10 minutes.

    Place mustard seeds in a pot over medium heat, cover and cook till seeds start to pop. Add fennel seeds and cover. Cook till popping stops and fennel darkens. Pour over chili. Add remaining cilantro and drizzle with olive oil. Serves: 8.

    From "Vegetarian Times" July, 1993.

    Vegetable Curry

    Given the interest recently in Indian food, I thought I'd start posting with some Indian recipes. This is from "Slim Cuisine" by Sue Kreitzman, a lowfat (but not exclusively vegetarian) cookery book.

    It is particularly interesting for her technique of dealing with spices which usually require being fried in oil to prevent them having a very un-Indian, sandy, gritty texture and raw taste.

    Sue says "Making 8.75 Cups, this curry packs a lot of nutrition into a very low calorie, low-fat dish. The sauce is a thick & rich puree of onions, peppers, mushrooms & carrots. Serve the curry with cucumber raita & basmati rice for a delicious main dish, or serve it as part of an array of curries. I have also served it tossed into pasta.".

    I say, "This is one of the few dishes I have actually made (I prefer not to cook. It's time consuming & fattening). Like so many of this type of dish, the flavour improves the longer you keep it".

  • 2 large onions, cut into eighths
  • About 2.5 C stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1.5t ground cumin
  • 1.5t ground coriander
  • 0.5t allspice
  • 0.5t ground turmeric
  • 0.5t ground ginger
  • 0.25t cayenne pepper (to taste, it varies widely in hotness)
  • 1 small red & 1 small yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled & coarsely chopped
  • 0.75lb mushrooms, quartered
  • 1T tomato puree
  • 2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled & cut into 1.5 inch dice
  • 1 large cauliflower, trimmed & broken into florets
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • 0.5lb green beans, trimmed & cut into 1.5 inch lengths
    1. Separate the onion pieces into segments & spread them in a heavy frying pan. Add no liquid or fat. Heat the pan gently, cooking at moderate heat without stirring for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are sizzling, speckled with dark amber and beginning to stick to the pan.
    2. Stir in 1.5C stock and deglaze the pan (i.e. let it bubble up, stirring up the browned bits in the pan with a spoon as it bubbles). Stir in the garlic, spices, peppers, carrots & mushrooms. Reduce heat & simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture is very thick (not at all soupy) and the vegetables are "frying" in their own juices. Don't rush this step; it is essential that the spices should not have a raw, harsh taste. Cook very gently for a few more minutes. Stir in the tomato paste.
    3. Cool slightly, then puree half the mixture in a blender & push it through a sieve. Combine the pureed and unpureed mixture in the pan.
    4. Add the potatoes and cauliflower to the pan. Toss everything together very well. Pour in additional stock to reach about one third of the way up the sides of the pan. Squeeze the lemon juice over the contents of the pan. Season with salt, bring to a boil.
    5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the beans & continue simmering for 5 minutes more or until all the vegetables are tender.

    Note: this reheats very well. If you plan to cook it ahead, undercook the curry slightly so that the vegetables do not become mushy when they are reheated.

    Ruth's Rice Ramen Curry

    Recipe' being held by the Honolulu Advertiser (the morning newspaper here). Since it's vegan, VLF and interesting, I'll quote the entire article verbatim: (permision not asked)

    Curry dish is a super-healthy and tasty recipe

    by Patsy Matsumura, Advertiser Food Editor (9/15/93)

    Ruth's Rice Ramen Curry is a super-healthy recipe created by Ruth Heidrich, who holds national and international records in triathlons.

    "This dish came about because I needed a carbohydrate-based diet to support my Iron-man-level triathlon training regimen," she explained. "It's not only tasty and economical, but it's high in fiber, low in fat and contains no cholesterol. It combines the best in grains, pasta and greens and is a snap to make - only 3 or 4 minutes of your time."

    A vegetarian, Heidrich is not only conscious of her diet, but she also tries to help others to improve their eating habits. This dish meets nearly all your daily requirements for protein, vitamins and minerals.

    "When I take my Rice Ramen Curry to potluck parties, everyone likes it, even the kids," she said. "When I first offered the dish to my four grandchildren in Washington, D.C., they were reluctant, but once they tried it, they loved it."

    Heidrich is author of "A Race For Life."

    Ruth's Rice Ramen Curry

  • 1 package ramen noodles
  • 1 cup cilantro (Chinese parsley), chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • Cook a pot of rice in your rice cooker. Break up the ramen noodles in the package with the heel of your hand. Open package and mix the crushed noodles with the brown rice. Add the spice package that comes with the ramen, and the remaining ingredients. This can be served hot or cold. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    Note: Depending on the brand of instant noodles (ramen) used, this may or may not have significant fat. Use your own judgement.

    Chickpeas with chilis, garlic and potatoes

    Serves a bunch.

    I adapted this from Madhur Jaffrey's Asian Vegetarian Cookbook.

  • 20 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and sliced (use more if you dare)
  • 3 19 oz cans chickpeas, drained
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • Process garlic in a food processor with 1/4 cup water until processed into a smooth paste.

    Heat a large skillet, wok or soup pot over medium high heat. Add garlic paste and cook for a couple of minutes. Add more water if it dries out too much. Add cumin seeds and stir for 1 minute.

    Add tomato sauce, stir and cook for 2 more minutes.

    Add remaining ingredients. Stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are done.

    Mattar Pullao

    I adapted this recipe from Ishmael Merchant's new cookbook "Passionate Cuisine". I scaled it down from a party-size recipe to one for two people. This is an excellent side-dish for various Indian chicken dishes or as a main course vegetarian dish.

    Serves 2

  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • 3/4 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick, broken up
  • 1/4-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground chile
  • pinch turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 7/8 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup green peas, defrosted if frozen
  • 1 TBS butter
  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat. When hot, add 2/3 of the chopped onion, cinnamon, ginger, chile, turmeric and cumin seeds. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Carefully add 1/2 cup water and bring to boil. Add rice, lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until rice is fluffy.

    Add peas, stir well, cover, and cook for a further 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the remaining chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is brown and crisp.

    Spread hot onion and butter over pilaf to serve.

    Mussoor Dal

    If one uses vegetable oil, the recipes are vegan. Ghee is better to my palate, in which case, the recipes are lactovegetarian. Please feel free to use whatever subject header you please.

    A fair number of dal recipes have been posted here in the last couple of months. Many have been a bit more elaborate than the dals that Indians cook every day. While a fancy dal is delightful from time to time, I prefer the simpler ones most of the time.

    These are utterly simple dishes. They work, or they do not work. There is nothing to hide behind, nothing to salvage. And it is possible that a preference for these simple dishes is acquired.

    For a simple dal, the procedure is as follows:

    1. Boil the dal till it is cooked through.
    2. Heat a little oil or clarified butter in a wok. Stir fry the spices for a few seconds, to produce what we call the tarka or phoron. Expect some spitting and foaming during this step.
    3. Pour the boiled lentils in, salt to taste, remove from heat.

    Total real hands-on time required: 5-10 minutes.

    (Comment on ingredients: Implementation 1 uses a spice called kalonji, often referred to as "black jeera" or "black cumin". This looks like small chips of obsidian. It does not look remotely like cumin, nor does it taste like cumin. Labels may be ambiguous, since I have also seen dark cumin seeds labelled as "black cumin". Stay conscious of this. If someone knows a proper English name for kalonji, please let me know.)

    Here are two implementations, using red lentils (mussoor dal): (Measures are American, and not critical anyway. I don't measure.)

    Version 1


  • red lentils: 1 cup
  • water: 2 to 2.5 cups (depends on desired texture)
  • serrano peppers: 1 or 2
  • turmeric: 1/4 tsp maximum
  • kalonji: 1/8 tsp
  • oil: 1 tsp or so (or clarified butter)
  • salt: to taste
  • Procedure:

    1. Wash the lentils. Add the water, bring to a gentle boil. Some scum will develop, from lentil dust, and surfactants in the lentils. Skim it off.
    2. Add the turmeric powder. (Doing this before the scum is removed causes the turmeric to float up with the scum, and it is then lost. If you do not skim the scum off you will have problems with the mixture boiling over.) Do not postpone adding the turmeric too long. Undercooked turmeric is not nice.
    3. Pierce the sides of the peppers (or slit them), and drop them in. Boil gently, almost covered, till the lentils are comletely cooked. If necessary, add some water along the way. The end product should be fairly fluid.
    4. Remove the peppers, homogenize the mixture with a hand mixer, drop the peppers back in.
    5. Make the tarka: Heat the oil, preferably in a wok, which makes it easy to deal with the very small quantity of oil. Add the kalonji.
    6. As soon as it stops sizzling, add the cooked lentils rapidly. You may want to let the oil cool briefly, so that splattering is avoided.

      See caution below. There are risks for the careless.

    7. Salt to taste (0.5 to 1 tsp), mix, simmer briefly, serve.

    Implementation 2

    Materials: As before, except:

  • skip the kalonji
  • use somewhat more oil
  • add:
  • cumin seeds: 1/8 to 1/4 tsp
  • chopped onions: a modest handful
  • Procedure:

    1. The only difference is in the tarka. Cook the lentils as before.
    2. Prepare the tarka as follows: Heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds. Stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped onions, and sautee.
    3. Pour in the cooked lentils. Salt to taste. Serve.


    Adding the lentils to hot oil may cause splattering. If you are not experienced at this, allow the oil to cool first. Also, against the intuition, there will be more splattering if you get too gentle about pouring the lentils into the oil. If you add the cooked lentils rapidly, the oil gets swamped quickly by the lentils, and splattering is avoided, even if it is hot. At the same time, rapid addition of hot fluid involves some risk of splashing it around.

    The safest way to deal with this is to let the oil cool down, then pour it into the cooked lentils (instead of the other way around), and then use some of the lentils to rinse the rest of the tarka into the main container. Respect hot oil.


    The first implementation, in particular, is one of the most common ways in which red lentils are made in Bengal, where I'm from. It is usually served with rice, a wedge of lime, and fried potatoes. Mix the dal with the rice and potatoes, squeeze the lime over it. Eat.

    If you want to serve this with bread, use less water, so as to get a thicker consistency. By some small margin, I prefer the first implementation with rice, the second with breads. Chappatis in particular.

    Fried potatoes

    Cut potatoes into 0.5" to 0.75" cubes. Optionally, parboil the potatoes and drain. Sprinkle with salt and turmeric. Fry over medium to high heat.

    I have a strong preference for the parboiled version, but lack the technique to do it consistently.

    Shankar Bhattacharyya,,

    Sambar and Idli

    A few days ago, my mom gave me a book of south Indian vegetarian recipes. I never learned to cook from my mom, though that's going to change in the near future, but she thought this cookbook was a good way to start. It is published in India, and neither my mom or I have used any of these recipes, but it was recommended to her by her sister, so I assume that they're good. I thought I'd start with the basics.


  • 1/2 cup (heaped) thur dal (papu)
  • 2 tbsps coconut gratings
  • 1 tbsp bengal gram dal
  • 2 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • tamarind lump (the size of a marble)
  • 2 tsps (heaped) coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsps oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 8 pepper corns
  • chunks of vegetables (tomato, okra, raw bananna, etc..)
  • 1 small piece turmeric
  • onion, squash, potato,
  • 1 small piece asafoetida (ingua)
  • 6 red chillies
  • (just about anything))
  • Wash thur dal thoroughly. Boil 1 liter of water. Drop dal in boiling water. Cook until soft. Take a little oil in a frying pan on another flame. Roast mustard, coriander, fenugrek, cumin, pepper, turmeric, red chillies, asafoetida, bengal gram dal, coconut gratings and 1 sprig of curry leaves - all in the same sequence, until brown. Grind all the roasted ingredients with tamarind to a fairly smooth paste. To the cooked thur dal, add vegetable pieces and a few coriander leaves. Cook until tender. Then add salt along with ground masala (paste made above) and some water. Boil well. When done, remove from flame. Garnish with bits of coriander leaves.

    This is usually served with:


  • 1 heaping cup black gram dal
  • oil for greasing cups
  • salt to taste
  • 2 heaping cups raw rice or (1 heaping cup boiled rice and 1 heaping cup raw rice)
  • Soak black gram dal and the two rices (mixed) seperately in water for 3 hours. First, wash the soaked dhal and grind to a fine paste and keep aside. Then grind the soaked rice to a coarse paste. Mix both the pastes using hands, add salt and keep under cover overnight. Next day, beat the batter well. Grease idli cups (you can use egg poachers if you want) with oil, and fill them (about 3/4 full) with the idli bater and steam in an idli vessel (basically, a big steamer) for about 20 minutes. (note: if raw rice only is used, there is no need to grind it. Just wash it and crush it in a mortar and pedstle (sp?) and then mix it with the ground black gram paste)

    The same idli batter can be use to make Sannan. Pour the batter in the container of a pressure cooker (previously greased with oil) about 3/4 full and steam for 15-20 minutes as above. Take out and cut into pieces with a spatula.

    Recipes from Dakshin Bharat Dishes Cookbook by Jaya V. Shenoy

    Reprinted w/o permission.

    Kulfi (Indian Ice Cream)

    I. This recipe and variations are adapted from Julie Sahni's CLASSIC INDIAN VEGETARIAN AND GRAIN COOKING; William Morrow & Co., N.Y., (1985); ISBN: 0-688-04995-8.

  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 tsp. sugar
  • 8 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
  • 1 tbsp. thinly sliced pistachio nuts (optional)
  • Place the milk in a medium-sized heavy pan over high heat. Bring to a full boil while stirring constantly to prevent a skin from forming. Lower the heat and continue boiling gently 45 - 60 minutes, until the milk is reduced to 1 3/4 cups; stir frequently to keep the milk from sticking and burning or boiling over. When the milk is reduced sufficiently, stir in the sugar and ground cardamom and let stand until completely cool.

    Divide the mixture evenly among four small (about 1/2 cup) flan molds or muffin tins. Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least four hours.

    To serve, dip the molds into boiling water for a few seconds to release the kulfi. Transfer to individual serving plates, garnish with the sliced pistachios (if used) and serve at once.

    Makes 4 portions.

    Aam Kulfi (Mango Kulfi)

  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup pulp from freshly pureed ripe, sweet mangoes
  • Proceed as above, folding in the nutmeg and mango pulp before transferring the mixture to FIVE molds.

    Makes 5 portions.

    Kesari Kulfi (Saffron Kulfi)

    Follow the top recipe exactly, but fold in 1/2 tsp. crushed saffron threads and 1/2 heavy cream before filling the molds.

    Makes 4 - 5 portions.

    II. This recipe is adapted from Madhur Jaffery's INDIAN COOKERY; Barron's Educational Series, Inc. (1983); ISBN: 0-8120-2700-0.

  • 9 cups milk
  • 10 whole cardamom pods
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. chopped blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp. chopped pistachios, unsalted
  • Place the milk in a heavy pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it begins to rise in the pot, reduce the heat to a slow steady boil so that the milk will continue boiling without boiling over. Add the cardamom pods. Boil, stirring frequently, until the milk is reduced to about 3 cups. If a skin forms on the milk, just stir it in.

    When the milk has reduced sufficiently, remove the cardamom pods and discard; stir in the sugar, and simmer for another minute or two. Transfer the milk to a bowl and let it cool completely, then add the chopped almonds and half the pistachios.

    If you have an ice cream machine, put the mixture in it and start it up. Otherwise, cover the bowl with aluminum foil and place it in the freezer. Also put 6 individual custard cups into the freezer to chill. Every 15 minutes or so, remove the bowl of kulfi from the freezer and give it a good stir.

    When the kulfi becomes so thick that it is difficult to stir, remove the bowl and cups from the freezer. Working quickly, pack equal amounts of kulfi into the cups, garnish with the remaining pistachios, cover each cup tightly with foil and return to the freezer to harden the kulfi.

    Makes 6 portions.

    III. This recipe is adapted from CLASSICS OF INDIAN COOKING; Exeter Books, N.Y. (1985); ISBN: 0-671-07404-0.

  • 2 cups mango juice
  • 5 fl. oz. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Combine all the ingredients and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Spoon the mixture into six small molds; cover tightly with foil and place in the freezer. For the first hour, remove and shake the molds every 20 minutes. Leave in the freezer until the kulfi has hardened.

    Monks' Vegetarian Curry

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup savory golden curry paste (recipe above)
  • 1 small bunch of broccoli (about 1 pound), cut into flowerets (quartered if large, about 4 cups), stems reserved for another use
  • 1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into flowerets (quartered if large, about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch-thick sticks
  • a 13 1/2-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • basmati rice (recipe at end of file) as an accompaniment
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro if desired
  • In a wok or large deep skillet heat the oil over moderate heat until it is hot and in it stir-fry the curry paste for 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, the cauliflower, the bell pepper, and the carrot and stir-fry the mixture for 1 minute, or until the vegetables are coated well with the paste. Stir in the coconut milk, simmer the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender, and stir in the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Mound the rice in 4 soup bowls, spoon the vegetarian curry over it, and sprinkle each serving with some of the coriander. Serves 4.