I've been craving Indian food lately. The phenomenon began a couple weekends ago with homemade baigan bharta, prepared specifically vegan by a dear friend's equally dear, generous, incredibly sweet mother. It was this friend's mother's homemade Indian food--cooked using the ingredients and methods from the woman's traditional upbringing--that first introduced me to this cuisine several years ago. I liked it then and have grown to love it.
Although I could have simply used one of my Indian cookbooks for tonight's dinner, I ended up cooking entrees from Taymer Mason's Caribbean Vegan. I hadn't used that particular cookbook in awhile, despite enjoying everything I've made from it so far. Several of the recipes are for dishes featuring distinctly Indian influence, but with an island touch--an interesting and delightful fusion of flavors and cultures. Confronted by so many tempting options, I decided to make Lentil Stew. The simple dish came together easily and deliciously, using standard brown lentils, curry powder, and a handful of other ingredients.
For variety, I cooked up a second dish from Caribbean Vegan: Curried Potatoes and Pumpkin. Normally, a single entree would suffice, but I happened to have plenty of yellow potatoes and winter squash in my kitchen. The call for prepared mustard also intrigued me, so I simply had to try the recipe. It turned out a little soupy, so I simply removed some of the liquid and cooked the rest down a bit longer than the time suggested, until it thickened into a more stew-like consistency. The creamy potato, sweet squash, and warm spices made for a hearty, comforting dish.
I served the curries with blanched spinach (I need my greens) and roti. Although I learned how to make roti from another Indian ex-roommate, I opted to refresh my memory by using the instruction provided in The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia, M.S., R.D. Steamed rice would have been the simplest side--I had leftovers in the fridge and could make a new batch with my eyes closed--but I don't mind having some extra bread on hand, either. And I really wanted to use the roti-atta I purchased earlier this week. Yes, I'm a carbohydrate fiend and food nerd.
I made more than enough food for one meal, so there is a good amount leftover. I'm not complaining.