How to know you found a keeper in your boyfriend: he buys you recipe books on special occasions. Last year for my birthday, shortly after I went vegan, Liam bought me “A Vegan Taste of Mexico” by Linda Majzlik. Mexican food is some of my absolute favourite – IMO burritos are on par with tea for being a decent mood fixer and there’s nothing quite like a decent plate of nachos. This recipe book takes on all the typical flavours of Mexican food but vegan-ises them so you end up with dishes like aubergine enchiladas with red pepper sauce (bloody delightful) and mango salsa (also bloody delightful).
And then for Christmas this year, I ended up with a Vegan Taste of India from the same series. I do love a good curry, and I have some very fond memories of trying a million different sides in various places. Indian food is, unfortunately, something I’ve always been rather rubbish at cooking (aside from when I used to make kashmiri, which was always excellent but yet to be veganised). This recipe makes cooking it simple – there’s salads and sides and breads galore: essentially everything you need to create a proper feast, vegan style.
I’ve been reading through looking for some inspiration recently and some dishes in there are literally so simple they probably wouldn’t go well for a whole recipe post alone, but I had marked off a handful to try together.
Imagine my delight when Liam said he was working tonight? He hates Indian food/chilli/garlic and so this dish is basically a nightmare for him. Time for an Indian inspired vegan feast.
The only downside to this book is that there’s a bunch of ingredients I can’t get hold of locally. Short of ordering from Amazon, things like mustard seeds, tamarind paste and some of the spices are particularly hard to find. Thankfully there are alternatives, and so long as you have the essentials you’ll be all good.
My Indian Inspired Vegan Treats
As a treat to myself I made garlic potatoes – a side I know and love from my ex managers leaving party and I had the best diced garlic potatoes. I didn’t bother dicing them this time, just made chip-type shapes and still wish I’d made more.
I also threw together what the book describes as “Mushroom Masala” but I feel it would be insulting to call what I ended up with a masala. It was a curry though, spicy and smooth and creamy and everything you want a curry to be – so we’ll go with that.
And lastly I put together the spinach and tomatoes from the recipe. I’ve eaten this a hundred time already and no Indian inspired vegan feast is truly a feast without this side. It’s a super refreshing, light side in contrast with such a rich main and it works perfectly. I used fresh tomatoes that cooked down rather than the canned tomatoes that the book recommends, and being the rebel without a cause that I am, I also used frozen spinach because I forgot to buy fresh.
That’s the beauty of this recipe though, you can throw just about whatever you have in the cupboards together to make them and they still turn out tasty.
If you’re looking to spend a night similar to mine (buried under a blanket eating leftover spinach and watching old Pretty Little Liars with your dog) – all three recipes are down below. I’ve scaled them down a little bit so they’re more portion-appropriate. I will, however, point out that it’s near on impossible for me to make a decent amount of spinach and tomatoes without there being enough to feed about six. Sorry.