Monday, May 26, 2008

Indian Fusion Diner

This is a very tasty meal that easily serves 6. It takes quite a while to make (3.5 hours for my first try) but much of it can be made ahead of time. A great meal to serve to guests, this recipe comes straight from The Voluptuous Vegan. The meal has 6 parts, I make it with 5 because one recipe needs tofu.

Curried Chickpea Tart with Fennel-Cauliflower Sauce
Herbed Coconut Chutney
Wilted Spinach
Roasted Chickpea Nuts
Cardamom-Spiced Basmati

Cooks Notes:
Everything can be made ahead and reheated, except the rice and spinach.
Make the chickpea tart first. While it sets in the refrigerator, make the sauce.
Put the coconut in the oven to crack and the chickpeas to roast.
Make the chutney and finish the sauce.
Twenty minutes before serving, oil the tart and put it in the oven to bake.
Make the rice. Wilt the spinach right before serving.
To serve, place a mound of basmati rice on the plate. Top with a wedge of tart. Pour sauce so that it drapes over the tart. Place a dollop of chutney on top, and sprinkle with chickpeas. Serve the wilted spinach surrounding the dish. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Curried Chickpea Tart

4 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for oiling the pan and brushing the tart
1 onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1 tablespoon curry powder
4 3/4 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
2 teaspoons sea salt

Chickpea flour is available in Indian stores, gourmet markets, and many natural food stores. Always add cold liquids to polenta, never hot, and beat thoroughly before heating to avoid lumps.

Oil a 9-inch tart pan and set aside.

Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until the onions start to brown, about 7 minutes. Add the curry powder and 1/4 cup of the water and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated. Set aside.

Place the chickpea flour, the remaining 4 1/2 cups of water, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a medium pot or saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a boil; do not cover.

Add the salt. Continue to cook, stirring constantly. When the mixture begins to thicken, turn the heat down to medium-low. The heat should be just high enough that the "polenta" bubbles like molten lava. Continue cooking for 20-30 minutes, uncovered, stirring to prevent sticking, until the mixture loses its raw taste. The mix is ready when it pulls away from the side of the pot as you draw your spoon through it. Be sure to cut the tart into serving-size portions, and brush it with oil before placing it in the oven.

When the polenta is ready, turn off the heat and stir in the curried onions. Pour into the oiled tart pan and spread evenly with a a metal spatula. Let sit for an hour or so in the refrigerator to firm. (At this point, you could refrigerate the tart for up to 2 days).

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the tart into serving portions and brush each with oil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tart is heated through and the top has formed a crust.

Fennel-Cauliflower Sauce

4 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 large fennel bulb, or 1 small bulb
1 onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1/2 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets (2 cups)
4 cups water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon ginger juice*
pinch of cayenne pepper

* To make ginger juice grate a piece of ginger and then squeeze juice out of this pulp into a bowl.

Warm 4 teaspoons of oil in a small saucepan. Add the chickpea flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, or until the roux darkens slightly, turning a nutty golden color. Transfer to a small bowl to cool.

Toast the fennel seeds in a dry medium skillet until ragrant. Immediately transfer them to a mortal and pestle or a spice grinder and grind to a powder.

Trim off the stalks and any discolored parts of the fennel bulb. Cut it in half and cut out the hard core. Slice it thin lengthwise; you should have about 2 cups.

Warm the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan or pot. Add the onions and sliced fennel and sauté over medium heat for 7 minutes, or until the onions start to brown. Add the ground fennel seeds and sauté for a couple of minutes more. Add the cauliflower and the water. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Remove 1/2 cup or so of the hot liquid and pour it into the bowl with the reserved roux. Whisk vigorously to dissolve the roux in the hot water, then pour the dissolved roux back into the pot. Simmer, partially covered, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking, for about 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft.

Purée the mixture, using an immersion lender, or purée in small batches in a regular blender. (Hold a towel over the top and do not fill the blender more than half full if you are puréeing while the liquid is hot).

Return the sauce to the pot and add salt to taste. Let the sauce sit for a couple of minutes to absorb the salt, then add the lemon juice, ginger juice, and cayenne. Adjust salt if necessary.

Herbed Coconut Chutney

Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 1-inch piece of peeled ginger, roughly chopped
1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed and blend until smooth. Be patient; allow the ingredients a few minutes to descend into the blender while blending. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.

Chutney keeps well refrigerated for several days.

Wilted Spinach

1 1/2 lbs spinach, tough stems removed

Wash the spinach thoroughly in several changes of cold water.

Transfer the spinach to a large pot and cook over medium heat in just the water clinging to the leaves, stirring frequently or tossing with tongs to push the uncooked leaves to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the leaves have wilted and shrunk and are bright green. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

Roasted Chickpea Nuts

Cardamom-spiced Basmati

1 1/4 cups white basmati rice
1 tablespoon canola or coconut oil
2 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
1 bay leaf

Wash the rice well in a bowl with cold water. Swish the rice around in the water with your fingers, then let the rice settle to the bottom. Any particles or husks will rise to the surface. Tilt the bowl and drain off the water. Repeat once or twice until the water is clear.

Warm the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice and sauté over low heat, stirring constantly, until the grains are dry.

Add the water and stir once to dislodge any rice that might have stuck to the bottom. Add a pinch of salt and the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, and bay leaf. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork. Discard the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and cardamom pods.

recipe from: The Voluptuous Vegan

No comments: