We’re sharing a taste of From Gujarat With Love – 100 Authentic Indian Vegetarian Recipes by Vina Patel
There is a very special story behind this dish and I must share it. It was one of the first dishes I ever learnt to make (I like to call it the Bachelor’s Dish!) and one of very few I had in my culinary arsenal when I got married and moved to the States. I was an inexperienced cook and served it to my husband’s friends for dinner one night along with fresh hand-rolled roti. I watched them wolf it down, thinking it was typical of hungry young men – but later realised they truly loved it! I shared the recipe with them and was (and still am) delighted to hear they often make it for their families. As a tradition, I serve it every time they visit us, some 30 years later. I love how food connects people, creating lifelong friendships.
Potato and Pea Curry
• 3 tbsp oil
• 3⁄4 tsp cumin seeds, slightly crushed or roughly ground
• pinch of asafoetida
• 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric
• 1 1⁄2 tsp chilli powder
• 570ml/20fl oz/21⁄2 cups water
• 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm (3⁄4-inch) cubes
• 250g/9oz/2 cups shelled petits pois or peas, thawed if frozen
• 1 1⁄2 tsp Coriander-cumin Powder
• 3⁄4 tsp Garlic Paste
• salt, to taste
• 3 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)
• 1 tbsp chopped garlic scapes (optional)
• Roti, to serve
Heat the oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat and add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to crackle, add the asafoetida, ground turmeric, chilli powder and water. Bring to the boil, then add the potatoes, peas, coriander-cumin powder, garlic paste, and salt to taste.
Cover partially with a lid and cook for 12–14 minutes over a medium heat. Uncover the pan and add the chopped coriander.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add another 60ml/2fl oz/1⁄4 cup of water if needed.
Stir in the chopped garlic scapes, if using, and remove the pan from the heat. Serve with roti.
SPICY PEA CROQUETTES KACHORI
Every recipe tells a story, and this one is no exception. When I was pregnant with my youngest, my mother-in-law would make kachoris for breakfasts at the weekends. We feasted on them until we couldn’t eat any more. Here, the coconut adds a lovely Surti element. A food processor speeds things up, if you have one.
For the filling
• 5cm (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger
• 3 green chillies, stems removed
• 450g/1lb/3 1⁄2 cups shelled petits pois or peas, thawed if frozen
• 1 tbsp oil, plus 700–950ml/24–32fl oz/3–4 cups oil, for deep-frying
• pinch of asafoetida
• 3 tbsp raisins
• 3 tbsp cashew nuts, roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut or sweetened coconut flakes
• 10g/1⁄3oz/1⁄4 cup finely chopped coriander (cilantro)
• 3⁄4 tsp garam masala salt, to taste
• 2 tsp fresh lime juice 1 1⁄2 tsp sugar
For the dough
• 200g/7oz/1 1⁄2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
• 3–4 tbsp oil
• 5 tbsp plus 2 tsp warm water
• chutney, to serve
For the filling, peel the ginger and blitz with the chillies in a blender or food processor for 1 minute. Add the peas and blitz for 15–20 seconds to a coarse consistency.
Heat the tablespoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan or skillet over a medium heat. Add the asafoetida and cook for 5–7 seconds. Add the pea mixture and cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Add the raisins, cashews, coconut, coriander, garam masala and salt and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and sugar and mix well. Remove the pan from the heat. Allow to cool slightly so the mixture is easier to handle. Shape into 12 balls, approximately 4cm (11⁄2 inches) in diameter and set aside.
For the dough, combine the flour and oil in a bowl. Mix well and add the warm water. Knead for 2–3 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft. Add a little more water if needed. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a disc, about 10cm (4 inches) in diameter.
Take the filling portions and arrange one in the centre of each dough disc. Bring the sides of the dough together like a parcel and pinch the top to seal. Trim off any excess dough from the pinched end.
Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep saucepan over a medium heat.
To avoid overcrowding, carefully lower in half the kachori and deep-fry for 2–4 minutes, using a slotted spoon to move them around, until they are golden all over.
Using a metal slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining kachori, then serve hot with your favourite chutney.
Extract credit: From Gujarat with Love: 100 Authentic Indian Recipes by Vina Patel (Pavilion Books). Image credit to Jonathan Lovekin.
We have two copies of Vina Patel’s From Gujarat With Love –
100 Authentic Indian Vegetarian Recipes to giveaway this month!