Sago Fritters

These sago fritters disappear fast. Crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, they are great as appetizers or a tea time snack.

These fritters are called vadas in India and they are made for special occasions and during festival times. It is made as an offering to the deity along with other sweets and fruits. There are many types of vadas and India being such a diverse culture, each region boasts of their own type of vadas. And there is no one recipe for each type of vada. The same thing may be made differently in each home.

It’s better to use the whole lentil for this vada but the split lentils can also be used.

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The most important thing is to grind the dal with only a few tablespoons of water. The mixture has to be thick. It’s also very important to make the fritters immediately after grinding the dal. It can be eaten plain or served with coconut chutney.

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This recipe makes around 40 fritters approximately.

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PREP: 2 hours COOK TIME: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 11/2 cups whole black gram lentils (urad dal)
  • ½ cup sago
  • 2-3 green chillies, minced
  • ¼ cup curry leaves, chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander. Chopped finely
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

Wash and soak the lentils for two hours. Wash and soak the sago for one hour.

Drain the lentils and grind with only about 2 tablespoons of water into a thick paste. Add salt and set aside.

Drain the sago and set aside.

Add the chopped green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and coriander to the ground mixture and mix gently. Add the sago and mix well.

Heat the vegetable oil until it is very hot. Drop a little of the mixture into the oil to check if it starts to cook and change colour. Make small balls of the dough with wet hands and drop them gently into the oil a few at a time. When they turn golden brown, flip them over and cook on the other side as well. Drain on absorbent paper and repeat until all the mixture has been used up. Serve hot.

Mixed Lentil Pancakes

This is a complete balanced nutritious meal by itself. It’s also vegan, like many vegetarian dishes in India and really delicious.

Lentils contain lysine while rice contains sulphur based amino acids missing in lentils. Therefore, a combination of rice and lentils makes it a complete protein, supplying the body with the essential amino acids that it requires. In fact, rice and dal is a great food for weight loss.

The Indian word for this preparation is called ‘Adai’. The mixture has to be very thick and it should not be ground fine – rather like semolina. The mixture should not easily fall off the spoon. And the pancakes are quite thick. It will take some time to cook through and hence the heat should be low.

I have included the Indian names of the lentils also, in case you want to purchase them from an Indian grocery store.

The best accompaniment for this is the coconut chutney that I had shared earlier with the Split Mung Pancakes. It’s best to have this for breakfast (if you have the time to soak the lentils) or for lunch. I like them golden brown at the edges and on the inside. The addition of raw rice makes them crunchy.

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PREP: 11/2 hours+10 minutes COOK TIME: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw rice
  • 1 cup boiled rice
  • ½ cup split pigeon peas (Toor dal)
  • ½ cup yellow split peas (Channa dal)
  • ½ cup split black gram dal (Urad dal)
  • ¼ cup split mung dal (Mung dal)
  • 10 dry red chillis
  • 1 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 3 tbsp curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

Wash the rice and lentils. Soak the raw rice, boiled rice, pigeon peas, chickpeas and black gram dal with just enough water to cover them for 11/2 hours.

Soak the split mung dal separately in a little water.

Grind the rice and dal mixture with the red chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and cumin to a coarse paste. Do not add too much water. Add the soaked mung and salt. Mix well.

Heat a frying pan and spoon about a cup of the batter. Spread it into a thick pancake – the batter will be difficult to spread. It cannot be spread thin. Use a little vegetable oil to pour around the edges and cover the pancake. When the edges are golden brown, flip the pancake and cook on the other side until it turns golden brown. Serve hot with coconut chutney. This recipe makes about 8–10 pancakes.

Tofu Loaf

Very quick and easy – this tofu recipe is one of my favourites. It’s healthy, vegan and tastes delicious. This recipe has been adapted from the original one by Louise Hagler.

Mashed potatoes goes very well with this dish. It’s great to have at anytime of the day. It’s also ideal for packed lunches and perfect for picnics.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 45-50- minutes SERVES: 6

Ingredients

  • 400 gms tofu, mashed
  • ¼ cup flax seed powder
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Marmite/Vegemite
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Combine all the ingredients together and press the tofu mixture into an oiled loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes until it becomes browned. Cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Garnish with ketchup and coriander. It’s also good sliced and fried for sandwiches the next day.

Vegan Zucchini Frittata

I made this frittata for my daughter who’s turned vegan for some years now. A light and tasty dish – it’s ideal for a light summer lunch or supper. It can also be served cold. A refreshing tomato salad would be perfect to go with it.

The oatmeal gives this frittata a moistness and the addition of some spices and herbs makes it delicious. The vegan cheese works wonderfully well on this frittata.

You can also substitute the zucchini with other vegetables such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Mushrooms or a combination of mixed vegetables.

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PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 50 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchinis, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4th cup chickpea flour
  • 3/4th cup oatmeal
  • ½ tsp asafoetida powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup greek yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2/3rd cup vegan cheese (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Grease a round 8” pan or line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Grind the oatmeal in a food processor or blender. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the cumin seeds. Add the garlic, onions and green chillies. When the onions are transparent, add the spinach and salt. Do not cook the spinach. Mix well and remove immediately. Set aside.

Mix the chickpea flour with the ground oatmeal and add the asafoetida, turmeric, chilli powder, baking soda and yoghurt. Add salt to taste and enough water to make a thick batter as for pancakes. Add the fresh coriander and the spinach mixture to this batter and mix well.

Line the zucchini slices in the buttered pan and spoon in the prepared batter on top. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out almost clean. Sprinkle the cheese on top (if using) and grill until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and let it sit in the pan for 30 minutes. Invert gently on to a serving plate.