Meatless Monday: Lentil Balls in Peanut Sauce.

This recipe is similar to this one with a few differences when it comes to flavour.

I used whole masoor dal, which we call “kamande” in my mother tongue as it’s an easily available, affordable and tasty source of protein that holds its shape well and blends well with whichever spices you choose to cook it with. In this case I used a store bought mixed spices blend.

It contains cinnamon, coriander seeds, nutmeg, cardamoms, cloves, ginger and bay leaves.
Our ingredients are 2 cups of already boiled lentils, salt, pepper, one grated raw potato, a pinch of paprika, a tsp of the mixed spice blend, a pinch of turmeric, some garlic powder and 2tbsp of all purpose flour. You can also use breadcrumbs.
Mix well in a bowl and roll into little balls.
Fry the balls in hot oil. Do it in batches to ensure even browning and crispiness.
It never hurts to taste one and check for seasoning.
In a large sauce pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and sauté one chopped onion till soft.
Add one tbsp of the mixed spice blend and let it cook before adding two chopped tomatoes and a tbsp of tomato paste. Mix well, lower the heat and cover. Let the tomato mixture cook down till the tomatoes are mushy and the oil leaves the side of the pan.

As the tomatoes cook, add two tablespoons of good quality peanut butter in a cup of cold water. Mix well till the peanut butter is completely dissolved.

Add the peanut butter solution to the tomato sauce and mix well. Let cook a bit and if it’s too thick just add some water. Ensure it doesn’t burn.

Tip: When seasoning keep in mind how salty or sweet the peanut butter you are using is, as you do not want your dish to be too salty.

Add the lentil balls into the peanut and tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for about ten minutes till the balls are heated through. Keep the heat low throughout so the sauce does not burn and stick to the bottom of the pot.
You will know it is ready when the sauce is thickened and the balls are heated through. Garnish with coriander leaves.
It’s best served with some steamed rice that will balance out the rich and creamy flavour of the sauce.

If you are looking for a decadent, tasty, finger licking vegetarian recipe, this is it. The kids and anyone else you make this for will love it.

The “meatless meatballs” hold their shape really well and the grated potato and breadcrumbs help maintain their crispiness. The lentils are full of flavour and have a meaty texture that will please the palate.

Vegetables are not boring and this is one way to jazz them up when feeling indulgent. Go on and give this recipe a try.

Colorful, tasty and filling just the way I like it. 😋

Perfect for #meatlessmonday right?

Meatless Monday: Couscous and Lentil Balls.

Today’s Meatless Monday recipe does look like it has meat right? But it does not. These are brown lentils fried then simmered in a creamy sauce that the kids will confuse for meatballs before eating them. It is an easy and delicious meal that is perfect with rice, chapati or in this case couscous.

Let’s get started shall we?

Ingredients: 2 cupsBoiled brown lentils also known as whole masoor dal (kamande), one onion chopped, 1 tbsp grated onion, two grated tomatoes, coriander stalks, grated ginger and garlic (about 1 tbsp), one large grated potato, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground cumin and 1 tbsp ground mixed spices. 1/2 cup of cashew cream (not in picture)
In a large bowl, add the lentils, grated potato, salt and pepper, the turmeric and half the cumin, ginger garlic and mixed spices, and 2 tbsp of all purpose flour.
Get the kids to help you form the mixture into balls.
Something like this.
Next, deep fry the balls until a golden brown colour.
It doesn’t hurt to taste one to check if cooked through and also the seasoning. Just don’t get carried away as they are really delicious and good enough to snack on them on their own.

Before we get started on the sauce, you can soak a cup of roasted cashew nuts in a cup of water. Let soak for a few hours then drain the water. Blend the drained cashews with half a cup of water, a tsp of lemon juice, some salt and pepper and paprika till its a smooth cream. Set aside.

Now we can begin on the sauce,

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds.
Add your onion, remaining garlic ginger paste and the coriander stalks, mix well and let cook for a while.
Add your grated tomatoes, and cover and let them cook down to a thickish sauce.
Add your cashew cream and 1/2 a cup of water, cover and let simmer for about 10 minutes, then add your carrots and French beans.
Add your balls. Cover and let simmer for another 6-10 minutes till they are heated through and the sauce is thick to your liking.
Check your seasoning and they are ready to serve.

You can now prepare your couscous. It is a great alternative to rice, easy prepare and you can spice it anyway you wish. Just follow the instructions on how to prepare it as written on the pack.

Remember to fluff with a fork before serving and squeeze some lemon juice too.
Our meal is now ready to serve, looks good doesn’t it?

Masoor dal is easy to make, flavourful, and is rich in iron and protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamins A, C and E and easy on your pocket too.

Couscous is rich in selenium, and a great immune system booster. It also has fibre, antioxidants and low carb; so not so bad for your waistline 🙂

A great meal; filling, delicious and laden with vegetables that are all good for you.

Try and let me know what you think?

Weekend Cuisine: Naan bread and Creamy Lentils.

It’s the weekend, the weather is not all that and your favorite Indian restaurant is still closed. Fret not! Here is another comfort food recipe you can try out that will please your taste buds!

I used brown lentils, I like their earthy taste and they go well with many dishes. rice, chapati, naan even potatoes and coconut too. We call them ‘ndengu kamande’ back home. They are loved by many as they are versatile, cheap, easily available and you do not have to spend hours sorting or soaking them as they also cook quite fast.

First, boil your lentils until ready. About 25 minutes on the stove top. I overdid mine a little bit. Do not get distracted people!

Heat 3 tbsp of ghee in a pan, add some cumin seeds, bay leaf and a cinnamon stick, do not let them burn please.
Next add your two grated onions. Once soft, add 1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste, some ground coriander seeds about a tsp, and mix well till the raw smell goes away.

You can now add your ground spices here. Other that usual salt and pepper, I added a teaspoon of dhana jeera powder, 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric, and a tsp of garam masala. Reduce heat and mix well so they do not burn. Add your chopped tomatoes and mix well and cover. Let them cook till a mushy paste. Then add your lentils, some butter, some water to cover and let simmer for an hour on low heat.

Let them cook low and slow. It takes time; that is why it is perfect for weekend cooking.

As the lentils cook, you can get started on your naan bread. I used this recipe from Food Wishes on YouTube.

The kids were quite happy to help in rolling and brushing the butter on the naan.

Because I love potatoes too much, I decided to make some fenugreek potatoes on the side.

Ingredients for the potato side dish.
Peel, chop and boil your potatoes with some salt, and a touch of turmeric and garlic powder.
Heat some oil in a pan, add some cumin seeds, once they sputter, add your finely chopped onion and mix well. Add your now cooled potatoes and mix well. Remember to check on your seasoning.
Add a tbsp of kasuri methi (dry crushed fenugreek leaves) and now ready to serve. I like mine a bit browned. Garnish with the chopped coriander.

Back to our curry, do not neglect it, keep checking to make sure it doesn’t not burn at the bottom. Check on seasoning then add some full cream, or natural yoghurt, about 3 tbsp, fold well and switch off the heat. Garnish with coriander.

Doesn’t it look luscious?

This is one decadent meal that will have you licking your fingers!

Final plate: Creamy lentil curry, garlic naan and fenugreek potatoes.