Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products and a philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. Any individual who follows the diet or philosophy is known as a vegan. This cultural and lifestyle movement is proving very popular amongst our customers and even staff.
In celebration of World Vegan Month, my colleagues and I wrote food review blogs about the vegan dishes we have cooked and ate. As a meat-eater, having the opportunity to cook and eat vegan dishes intrigues and excites me.
To start, I chose a Vegetable Masala as my first dish- it is easy to prepare and cook- and includes a vegetable I am not fond of but wanted to eat again- Cauliflower. This recipe was from the cookery book Healthy Indian Cooking for Diabetes by Azmina Govindji & Sanjeev Kapoor- in association with Diabetes UK– which can be borrowed from Paddington Library or be bought from Amazon.
Yes, I know this recipe wasn’t taken from a vegan book, but I would say that anyone can enjoy this meal whether you are a curry-lover, vegan or like me; someone wanting to learn a new recipe, have a change from eating meat and want to include more vegetables in my diet.
As I said, I was excited to make this dish- all the ingredients or alternatives were sourced from Tesco, but you can go to any supermarket or local Halal or Asian store that sells what you will need, especially the spices. The preparation time was approximately 30 minutes and the cooking time 40-50minutes. The masala paste had a wonderfully earthy and warm aroma that came from the blender as I lifted the lid. The peel that was left over from the cauliflower could be used in another meal i.e., soup or as a side to the main course, but along with the carrots and ginger peel, it will be given to a colleague so they can add it to their compost heap. So, all in all, the vegetable isn’t going to waste.
Dinner was comforting and delicious; not spicy but creamy due to the coconut milk used instead of water. To serve the Vegetable Masala, I also bought plain rotis. The sauce was thin, which allowed my mum, brother and I to dip the rotis in- you could say, it was like having a soup. If it were thinker, I would have served white basmati or brown rice with it.
I would cook the dish again but reduce the amount of lemon juice added or instead, try it with lime juice as it is a smaller citrus fruit. I would also like to use aubergines and spinach next time and see if that works well with the masala spices. The leftover masala was frozen, so I could use for another meal and because I made plenty, I offered my colleague some as well.
Preparation Time: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Cooking Time: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Spice level: ⭐⭐
I have included the recipe below for you to try at home. Alternately, there is another Indian cookery book called The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia, which can be borrowed through our online resource- the Cloud Library app.
Now, get stuck in and enjoy!
The Ingredients and the alternatives
2 teaspoons olive oil or *pure coconut oil
1 medium sized onion, sliced
500g cauliflower, broken into florets (depending on the size of your cauliflower, you may need more than one)
25g peas (I put a whole tin- 175g- as I like peas)
1 medium sized carrot, diced or 3 small carrots (I preferred having them chopped)
5-6 French beans, chopped (I used a handful- so about 20)
1 teaspoon salt
½ tamarind pulp or *lime juice (I used lemon juice as I couldn’t a lime, but vinegar with a little sugar can do the trick)
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped coriander leaves or *dried coriander leaves (stir in before serving)
200ml of water or coconut milk*
For the Masala
2 tablespoons of grated fresh coconut or desiccated coconut
½ tablespoon ground coriander
½ tablespoon of red chilli powder (All I could find was extra hot chilli powder, so I used ½ teaspoon measurement)
½ tablespoon garam masala powder*
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon minced ginger and garlic
*If you cannot find garam masala powder, there are substitutions- 2 of which are:
1 tablespoon Cumin powder and ¼ teaspoon Allspice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 ½ tablespoon ground cardamom
1 ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
- Grind all the ingredients for the masala, adding water as required, into a fine paste
- Heat the oil in a non-stick Kadai or saucepan and sauté the onion on a medium heat until golden.
- Stir in all the vegetables one by one. Add the salt, 200ml water* and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender.
- Stir in the tamarind* pulp, the masala paste, then simmer for 2 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with plain rotis or whole-wheat rotis.
For more information about Diabetes visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/
For advice or for other health information, visit the Oneyou Westminster website.