As I write this post, I am reflecting on how much my cooking has transformed since I started sharing recipes here, in my blog. It is not a big bang evolution as such, but I have started to consciously cook somewhat healthy and good - to - eat dishes. Earlier also, I was inspired by cookery shows on televisions and recipes featured in cookbooks. But reading a blog and trying dishes has given me more confidence that a recipe shared will work.
Just about few days ago, two friends Jayashree and Vidhya messaged me of having tried and liked recipes I had shared. That was very humbling and a wonderful feeling. Both of you made my day!
The recipe here today is what I watched on television on a Sunday morning and very inspired that I tried it out as soon as the show went off air. This was few months ago, and as you guessed right, it was Sanjeev Kapoor making onion and garlic free dishes. I had all the ingredients on hand that morning and made this for lunch.
Later, Harini the Sunshine mom shared the home-made vegan cashew yoghurt, which influenced me to try it. I set the yoghurt following her recipe and I had a rich and very wonderful yoghurt. To eat it with simple rice would have been a treat, but considering the cost of cashews, I dared not.
I used it in dishes where yoghurt was called for. They turned out richer with the cashew nuts.
I have marinated my potatoes in this yoghurt, cooked some rich gravies and most awesome biriyani with cashew, almond and peanut yoghurt in these past few months.
The other day, I made this gravy dish cutting out the yoghurt and the cashew paste called for in the recipe.
Thanks to two talented chefs, I have a vegan, no onions, no garlic side dish that works wonderful with my whole wheat naans.
Partly adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's Khana Kazana. Find the recipe here .
Sunshinemom's vegan cashew yoghurt from her blog Tongue Ticklers.
Ingredients and method to set cashew yoghurt:
25 pieces whole good quality cashew nuts
3/4 cup warm water
10 fresh chilli crowns
Soak the cashew nuts in very hot water for about 20 minutes.
Drain and grind to a smooth paste adding about 2 tablespoons of water gradually.
Transfer this to a ceramic bowl. Add the rest of the warm water to the paste and mix well.
Wash the chillis and pat them dry. Remove the crowns and drop them in the prepared cashew milk.
Cover and allow the yoghurt to set for few hours.
Remove the chilli crowns and the yoghurt is ready for use.
Note: Chillis have to be fresh for them to attract bacteria from the air.
I placed the bowl inside my oven after having baked something. That supplied warmth for the yoghurt to set. The yoghurt set in about 6 hours.
This quantity gives about 200ml yoghurt.
2 medium carrots cut in medium size cubes
10 french beans cut fine
1/4 cup shelled peas
10 cauliflower florets cut medium
(Any other vegetable that is suitable to be cooked in a yoghurt based gravy will work fine)
2 medium tomatoes blanched and pureed
2 green chillis chopped fine
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons peanuts roasted and powdered
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chilli powder
2 teaspoons garam masala powder
1/3 cup cashew yoghurt
Salt as required
2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander leaves
Place all the vegetables in a microwave steamer and steam for 5 minutes on maximum power.
Add the turmeric powder and salt to the steamed vegetables.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds. Allow them to crackle. Drop the chopped green chillis in.
Add the steamed vegetables and saute' for a few minutes.
Whisk the roasted peanut powder to the cashew yoghurt.
To the vegetables in the cooking pan add the coriander powder, garam masala powder and the red chilli powder.
Pour the pureed tomatoes and allow to cook further.
Finally add the cashew yoghurt, reduce the heat to the lowest and simmer the gravy for about 5 minutes, adding some more water. Stir continuously to avoid burning.
Remove from the stove. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Serve hot with naan, rotis or phulkas.
The addition of cashew nuts gives the dish a very creamy texture. You may choose to reduce the quantity of yoghurt used to have a slightly dry, less of gravy dish. I have made it more gravy based as we like it thus.
I shall share other recipes where I have used such non-milk based yoghurt dishes. Depending on the nuts you use, the taste differs. The peanut yoghurt gives you a whiff of peanut oil while the almonds are very rich as are the cashews. I have not tried the soy yoghurt so far. I guess that soy yoghurt would make a very protein rich base for gravies.
Hope you enjoy the dish!