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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Menu 9: Potato Pea Curry, Kale Soup, Baingan Bharta, Asparagus with Vegan Hollandaise, Quick and Easy Potato Soup...

Photo credit: Lolo at www.veganyumyum.com
Though I grew up eating Indian food at least five days a week, and only want to eat my mom’s home-cooked Indian food when I visit my parents, I have typically shied away from cooking Indian food…primarily because, despite my mom’s best efforts to train me in the art of spices - I remain challenged in this area, and frankly, intimidated by the personalities of turmeric, cumin, cloves, and asafoetida.

For seemingly irrational reasons, while I lived with the best of personal trainers in Indian cooking for so many years, it’s “easier” for me to cook Indian food when I find recipes for Indian food online – as I have this week. So, with some trial and error, and advice from my mom, I’m now launching my education in Indian cooking with the eggplant-based Baingan Bharta and Potato Pea Curry included in this week’s menu. Enjoy!

This week’s dishes:
Baingan bharta (Eggplant curry)
Potato Pea Curry
Kale Soup
Potato Soup with Asparagus in Hollandaise sauce

This week’s menu:

Dinner: Baingan Bharta with Naan
Cook: Baingan Bharta, Kale Soup

Lunch: Kale Soup
Dinner: Potato Soup with Asparagus
Cook: Potato Soup with Asparagus

Lunch: Baingan Bharta with Naan
Dinner: Kale Soup
Cook: Asparagus (for Wednesday lunch)

Lunch: Potato Soup with Asparagus
Dinner: Baingan Bharta with Naan
Cook: --

Lunch: Kale Soup
Dinner: Potato Pea Curry with Naan
Cook: Potato Pea Curry

Lunch: Potato Pea Curry with Naan

This week’s recipes:

Baingan Bharta:
Baingan Bharta is the only thing I want to order when I go out for north Indian food. In fact, when I call Baluchi’s to order in and give them my phone number, they’ve already begun packing Baingan Bharta into a container for me. So, I decided it was time to learn how to make it on my own.

Once the eggplants are roasted, this dish is very quick to make. One change I made – when I scooped the flesh out of the eggplants, I pulsed it in the food processor until it was a bit smoother. I also included the roasted skin of half an eggplant for some color and additional flavor. Don’t pulse the tomatoes or anything else in the food processor! Just the eggplant and eggplant skins, and then add that to the saucepan.

When it’s all done, it tastes super fresh, and is probably a lot healthier than anything I would order in.

Click here for the Baingan Bharta recipe. You can eat this with rice or naan (Indian bread). This link includes a recipe for homemade naan – I’m going to buy prepared naan at Whole Foods, but may try to make it on my own one of these days.

Kale Soup:
I was looking for a kale dish and found this soup. While it requires 30 – 40 minutes of simmering time, it requires very little prep work. That’s why it’s a great thing to make on Sunday afternoon or evening – you can leave it to simmer while doing other things, and then you have a one-pot meal that is ready for multiple servings over the next few days.

I’d eat this with warm naan bread – brush a bit of olive oil on both sides of the naan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, if you like, and then heat it on a skillet (be sure to flip halfway through) until crisp.

Click here for the Kale Soup recipe.

Quick and Easy Potato Soup:
Think the Kale soup was easy to make? This one’s even faster. And, nicely satisfies the occasional vegan craving for something creamy.

Click here for the Potato Soup recipe.

Asparagus with Vegan Hollandaise sauce:
Asparagus is my go-to vegetable for when I am craving something carb-heavy or starchy (pasta, sandwiches), and feel a need to add something green on the side. So, here I’ve paired it with the potato soup. I think asparagus is great sautéed in some olive oil for two minutes, and sprinkled with salt and pepper…or blanched, with salt and pepper. Here, though, there’s a nice dipping sauce which adds some more flavor.

In the interest of keeping the asparagus freshly cooked, prepare half of the asparagus at a time. You can make the hollandaise sauce all at once, and store it in its own container. But, cook half of the asparagus on Monday night, for Monday night’s dinner, and then prepare the other half on Tuesday night for Wednesday’s lunch.

As for the silken tofu…so, I don’t have another lunch or dinner recipe that would make great use of the rest of the tofu this week – however, silken tofu is an excellent substitute for yogurt in fruit smoothies. So, put the leftover tofu in an airtight container, fill it so that half of the tofu block is covered in water, close, and store in the refrigerator. Use a bit of the tofu each day in a breakfast or post-workout smoothie like this one. If you decide to make the smoothies, though, don’t forget to add bananas, orange juice, and frozen mixed berries to your grocery list!

Click here for the Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce recipe.

Potato Pea Curry:
This is a simple, flavorful dish that can easily be adjusted if you want to include additional veggies – I’m thinking cauliflower, or green beans. Pair this with warm naan, or rice.

Click here for the Potato Pea Curry recipe.

This Week’s Grocery List:
As always, this list is comprehensive for all of the recipes included in this week’s menu. Print it out, cross off what’s already in your pantry and you’re ready to shop!

2 medium eggplants, or 1 large eggplant
1 bunch, cilantro
1 small bunch, kale
1 lb., asparagus
4 tomatoes
4 medium onions
5 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 jalapeno
1 3-inch piece of ginger
1 bulb, garlic
1 lemon

Oils, Spices, and Condiments:
Vegetable Oil
Olive Oil
Cumin powder
Cumin Seeds
Coriander powder
Curry Powder
White Pepper
Vegetable Buillion cubes
Red chilli powder (Cayenne or paprika, works)

Canned and Bottled Goods:
Tamari, or Soy Sauce
Curry Paste

Dry Goods:

2 packages, Naan (each contains 4)
Nutritional Yeast
8 oz. package, Quinoa
8 oz. package, Green Lentils
Raw cashews (if you can buy the loose ones, where you pay by the pound, just get 1/8 of a pound for this week)

1, 14 oz. package, silken tofu
1 quart, soy milk
8 oz. package, frozen peas
1 package, Earth Balance buttery spread


  1. Jules, I love you and your blog! (And now I just sound like a stalker) ;O) I wish I were still there to be reaping the benefits of your wonderful, yummy cooking. xoxoxo

  2. welcome back! i can't wait to try some of these recipes. i'm making samosas tonight from an old moosehead restaurant cookbook. i'll let you know how it turned out before i share! hehe...