ROAST BUTTERNUT & QUINOA SALAD

When I tried quinoa nearly a decade ago, to be perfectly honest I didn’t like it. I felt it was chalky and the appearance wasn’t appetizing. I am now converted – I believe that locally grown organic red quinoa is tasty and yummy. You will love this salad as it is another great one pot dish that has all the nutrients you need.

Roast Butternut and Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS

800g butternut, skin on cut into a small 2cm by 1cm pieces

400g tin of chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 cup organic red quinoa

1 red pepper, cored and finely diced

50g red onion, finely diced

Arals of 1 pomegranate

2 tablespoons sunflower oil, plus 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon sumac

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QABOOLI – KICHADI WITH OOMPH

This is a Mughal influenced dish kind of like a kichadi and there are several variations. This is my take and is more of a rice salad than a kichadi. It is really easy to put together and the perfect one pot dish. The meaning of qabooli means acceptable or palatable and this dish certainly lives up to that expectation. Another easy and tasty one pot dish!

Qabooli

INGREDIENTS

250g Basmati rice

400g tinned brown lentils, drained and rinsed well

400g tinned Beluga lentils, drained and rinsed well

50g shallots, finely diced

1 medium sized red onion, finely diced

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MUSHROOM PIE

Pies (the meat kind I mean) could very easily be the national dish of New Zealand. I don’t know how true this statistic is, but on an average every New Zealander eats 17 pies a year. I don’t know who is eating our family’s share!!! I have never come across a vegetarian pie that looks good enough to make me want to try. So I have been on a quest to develop a vegetarian pie that is bursting with flavour and I think I have just the recipe for you.

This mushroom pie is so delicious and using dried as well as fresh mushrooms makes it yummy and flavourful. This is great as a family meal or you could do individual ones as a first course for a dinner party. I used store bought butter puff pastry (Edmonds) but you could just as easily make your own with a bit of planning.

Mushroom pie

INGREDIENTS

750g butter puff pastry

5-10g dried mushrooms (like porcini)

125ml boiling water

60g butter

1 leek, finely sliced into half moons

1 small carrot, finely diced

1 stick celery, finely diced

1 sprig thyme

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ASIAN FLAVOURED PRAWN CAKES

All through South East Asia as well as in India, little patties or cakes are made from minced sea food be it fish, prawns or a combination. These are most often served as a snack or an appetizer. They are so moreish I often tell myself I should have made more!! Three are never enough!!

When you make with fish, use any firm white fish fillets. I often buy a big pack of prawn meat offcuts from the freezer section and use the off cuts to make these cakes.

Asian Flavoured Prawn Cakes

INGREDIENTS

400g prawn meat

2 shallots, finely chopped

A handful of coriander leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped

2 green chillies, chopped

1 tsp mayonnaise

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BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS

Quesadillas are very popular with kids and adults alike. They are easy to put together and we love these vegetarian options for a quick weekend lunch. You can use a flat grilled sandwich press or do it old school, in a pan. If you use the pan method, use a spatula to press down firmly.

Bean quesadillas

INGREDIENTS

2 x 400g canned black beans, drained and rinsed well

100g red onions finely chopped

100g corn kernels

150g grated melting cheese

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MURG SAAGWALA – CHICKEN & SPINACH INDIAN STYLE

I know there are several variations of this dish but I tried to create a creamy one without using cream. In some variations, I notice that the spinach loses its vibrancy and can be gritty so I created the dish where part of the spinach is pureed and the rest is added in the end.  In India, Saag will often be made from mustard greens, silverbeet or other greens but I’ve used spinach. You can adjust the number of green chillies based on how hot they are and also your heat tolerance. The curry is not meant to be hot – kind of flavourful and spicy with a touch of chilli heat.

Murg Saagwala

INGREDIENTS

400g chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

200g fresh spinach

200g onions, finely chopped

2 medium sized tomatoes

3 tablespoons oil

2 cardamom pods

5-6 cm piece of cinnamon

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

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GROWER’S PIE

I’ve made variations of a vegetarian shepherd’s pie for a long time now. The kids loved the idea of a shepherd’s pie albeit vegetarian. I have modified the recipe over the years and this version is filling, satisfying and absolutely scrumptious even though I say so myself. I also stopped calling it shepherd’s pie and started calling it grower’s pie to reflect the meatless nature of this pie.

Grower’s pie

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

400g tin of lentils

400g tin of beluga lentils

400g tin of kidney beans, drained, rinsed and mashed

200g onion, finely chopped

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MATTAR PANEER – PEAS & PANEER IN TOMATO SAUCE

Back in the day, I used to make my own paneer (it kind of resembles and tastes like ricotta) and it used to be quite the ritual of weighing the paneer down overnight with a tower of cans. Now like everyone else, I use store bought paneer.

Paneer is versatile because it absorbs the flavours of whatever sauce you are using. Mattar is peas in Hindi so this dish is peas with paneer in a thick tomato sauce. It is really nice with rotis, puris or any flatbread.

Mattar Paneer

INGREDIENTS

300g paneer

450g peas (frozen is fine)

150g onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons ghee

5cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

2-3 plump cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

½-1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon cumin seed powder

2 teaspoons coriander powder

60ml cream

Salt to taste

For the sauce

100g onion, chopped

100g carrot, peeled and chopped

300g tinned tomatoes

1 red chilli

1 tablespoon oil

METHOD

To prepare the sauce heat the oil in a small saucepan. Fry the onions and carrots for 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and chilli and 200ml water. Let it come up to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Once cool enough blitz in a food processor or a stick blender. Set aside.

Heat the ghee in a kadai or sauté pan. Fry the onions on low heat for 12-15 minutes until they are pale brown.

Pound the ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Toss this paste into the onions and continue frying for 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric, chilli powder, and cumin and coriander powders. Keep frying and when it starts sticking to the bottom of pan, add a couple of tablespoons of water. Fry the spice off for a couple of minutes.

Tip the sauce into the kadai and season with salt. Cover with a lid and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, cut the paneer block into 16-20 pieces. Soak in warm water.

Soak frozen peas in water and change the water a couple of times. This way when you add to the sauce, they will retain their bright green colour.

At the end of cooking time, add the peas and paneer. Cook for a couple of minutes before stirring in the cream. Continue on the heat for a further minute or so.

Remove from heat and serve immediately. Serves 6.

CREAMY MUSHROOM MASALA

This was a dish I used to make on a regular basis when the kids were younger. It’s a mild and creamy curry popular with adults and kids alike. My good friend Mini, asked if I could send her the recipe – I realized I hadn’t prepared this in over ten years! It was my concoction, so I recreated the recipe and my son vouched that it tastes like what it used to.

Please do try as I am sure it will become one of your favourites too.

Creamy Mushroom masala

INGREDIENTS

500g mushrooms

250g onion, divided

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

2 tablespoons ghee

½ teaspoon caraway seeds or shah jeera

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

½ teaspoon chilli powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

60ml cream

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves to garnish

1 teaspoon liquid honey

1 tablespoon oil

1 clove

1 fresh red chilli, slit in half, optional

2 tomatoes (I used tinned tomatoes)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3-4 roots and stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped

METHOD

Chop 100g of the onion and finely dice the remaining and set aside. To make the sauce, heat oil in a saucepan, add the clove and let it fry gently. Toss in the red chilli and chopped onion and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and half cup water. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Blitz using a stick blender and when cool enough sieve the sauce through a fine sieve and set aside.

Wipe the mushrooms and if too large, cut in halves or quarters. Heat the ghee in a kadai and add the caraway seeds. When they splutter, toss the garlic and then the finely chopped onion. After frying for two minutes, add the mushrooms. Mix well so mushrooms are coated in the onion mix. Cover with a lid and let sizzle on medium high heat for a couple of minutes. Stir in the garam masala, turmeric and chilli powder along with salt. Cover and cook for a few more minutes. When you see water in the kadai, remove the lid and evaporate most of the water.

Stir in the prepared tomato sauce along with the honey. Let it simmer gently for 4 or 5 minutes. Pour in the cream. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cook for a further minute and turn off the heat.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rice and roti.

Serves 4