Thursday, 31 October 2013

Nepal Month - Vegan Nepalese Recipes

Months go by so fast these days! It's already the end of October and the end of Nepalese food month, have you enjoyed it? I've loved everything that I've cooked and shared with you this month - and, as usual, didn't get the time to try and share all the things I wanted to. It was lovely to get a chance to use the fenugreek seeds that I have lying around and don't use often enough, they were in almost every dish I made for Nepalese/Nepali. The recipes I found were a fantastic mix of influences - Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern - which made for a really fascinating country to cook for. I love Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines and in exploring Nepal I found dishes I had never had anything quite like before - which is why I love these world food challenges so much!

Ingredients of the month - chilli, fenugreek, pistachios, sesame seeds


Tomato Achar
This spicy paste is perfect spread on your rotti or as an accompaniment to your dinner. You can adjust the chilli to suit any papate, although I like mine quite hot! It seems like every family has their own unique way of making tomato achar, but here it my attempt. Authentic or not - it was definitely delicious! Check out the recipe here.

A delectable Nepalese flatbread. Perfect to pair with your Tomato Achar - this slightly spiced potato roti is perfect to accompany your curry, salad or just cover it with chutney or pickle and eat to your heart's content. Don't let the idea of making 'bread' deter you, it's one of the easiest think you could make! Check out the recipe here.

Vegetable Momo with Chilli Sesame Dipping Sauce
No look into Nepalese cuisine would be complete without momo! The perfect example of Nepalese cuisine - a fusion of Chinese and Indian styles of cooking with plenty of chilli. These dumplings are like a Chinese steamed bun but filled with delicious curried vegetables and with a spicy sesame chilli dipping sauce that packs a punch. They're a recipe for when you've got a bit of time, but they're worth it. Grab a couple of friends or family and make these together, it's always more fun to cook with friends :) Check out the recipe here.

Chilli Grapefruit and Orange Salad
Perfect to combine with your hot curries and your rotti - this grapefruit and orange salad is incredibly fresh, light and healthy. It's a perfect accompaniment on a summer day to almost any meal. Check out the recipe here.

Saag Tarkari - Greens Curry
This is quite a simple dish, but the flavour combination is quite special. Don't think of the obligatory pile of tasteless "greens" on the side of your plate when you were a kid, these side greens pack a flavour punch. This would traditionally be made using taro leaves or mustard greens, I made mine using kale and brussels sprouts leaves from my garden. You could really use any greens you like though, it's a very versatile recipe! Check out the recipe here. 

Sesame Chilli Potatoes
A dish of fried potatoes in creamy, spicy tahini style sauce? Sounds like my idea of heaven, and I have it say it was pretty fantastic. Perfect as a side dish, a contribution to a gathering or just to eat out of the pan with a fork as comfort food - these potatoes have got you covered for almost anything. Check out the recipe here.


Semolina Halva (Sooji Haluwa)
This delicious dessert is so quick and easy to make that it's perfect for a weekday dessert or sweet treat, or an exotic option for an event or a family gathering. Packed with juicy golden raisins and three different types of nuts, your sweet tooth will be very satisfied! Check out the recipe here.

Which one did you think looked the best this month? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Cooking!
~ Keely :)

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Sesame & Chilli Fried Potatoes

I'd sound like a broken record if I told you again how much I adore tahini - if you've ever read this blog before then you probably know it already! So I won't. Wait, I just did. Oh well.....

It's hard to pass up the opportunity to make fried potatoes of any variety - and these ones in particular. In this recipe you make a bit of a home made tahini with toasted sesame seeds and spices, fry it up with some potatoes & chillies and then sit back and eat it straight out of the pan with a fork. Or serve it up on nice plates to dinner guests - it's your choice!

500g potatoes
1/2 cup unhulled sesame seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 green chillis, chopped
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder (just leave this out if you don't have any)
Juice of 1 lemon

To Make
1. Peel the potatoes and chop into wedges, keeping them all roughly the same size. Boil in water until just tender. Drain and set aside.
2. In a dry (preferably non stick) frypan, toast the sesame seeds until golden. Transfer to a food processor and blitz into a powder.
3. Heat the oil in a large (preferably non stick!) frypan, and add the chillies and fenugreek seeds. Fry until the fenugreek is golden brown and then add the spices and fry for a further 15 seconds. Then add the sesame seed powder and stir well, to make a paste.
4. Add the drained potatoes and toss well to coat in the sesame chilli paste.Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. The potatoes should be cooked through, but not starting to break up yet.
5. Add the lemon juice, stir through and remove from the heat. Serve.

This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Nepal!
Check out my other Nepali/Nepalese recipe posts:

Monday, 28 October 2013

Saag Tarkari (Easy Greens Curry) - using Brussels Sprouts Leaves & Kale

I love my veggie garden - I love planning what to plant, sowing the seeds, watching it grow and especially eating the spoils! But I'm not an amazing gardener; I don't have the experience, time or the money to have an incredibly productive garden. But each year I get better and better, I get more practice and I learn a bit of what works and what doesn't work (I learn a lot of the latter). Winter veggies are a challenge on my patience, because they grow so slowly! Last year I planted out a whole host of excited winter veggies. But I planted them too late in the season and didn't really water them enough, so I got virtually no rewards for my effort!

This year I had learnt my lesson (partly) and I made a better go of it. I planted (most) of them out nice and early, paid attention to the soil quality and made sure they got plenty of water. I planted out a whole variety of exciting winter vegetables and then I went overseas for 6 weeks (charging a friend with the duty of watering them!) and hoped that when I came back I would have lots of delicious vegetables to enjoy. Well - I did a little better this year!!

I got 2 lovely purple cauliflowers (although they were more like purple broccoli, but I wasn't complaining!), big bunches of Tuscan Cabbage (Cavolo Nero) and purple curly kale (both of which are still growing happily in my garden), lots of broad beans and some lovely English spinach. Not a bad haul, considering I neglected it for most of winter. I didn't have so much luck with some of my other veggies though - my broccoli were so small they were more like broccolini (we ate them anyway, of course) and I had no luck at all with my brussel's sprouts. It was very sad - but I know now to plant them much, much earlier! The plants themselves grew beautifully though and I had huge leafy plants - just no sprouts! As I pulled them up out of the ground I felt that it was a shame to let them go to waste, and they're essentially just like cabbage so I wrapped them up and put them in my fridge until I could decide what to do with them.

I'm sure you can see where I'm heading with this :) When reading up on Nepali dishes I came across a curry which is made with taro leaves or mustard greens, cooked up with chilli and spices in a simple but delicious dish. I don't have taro leaves or mustard greens - but I did have those brussels sprouts leaves bundled up in the fridge! I combined them with tasty curly green kale to make this dish of greens. You can use whatever greens you can get your hands on - spinach, chard, cavolo nero, kale, mustard greens, even Asian veggies like gai lan, choy sum and bok choy. It was delicious with the brussels sprouts leaves, so if you ever grow your own, don't let the leaves go to waste.

1 bunch kale
1 bunch brussels sprouts leaves (substitute any of the other greens listed above)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2-3 tbsp lemon juice (you can do this to taste)

To Make
1. Wash the greens and tear or chop into medium sized pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a large frypan or wok. Add the chilli, garlic and fenugreek seeds and fry until the seeds are golden brown.
3. Add the turmeric and fry for another 15 seconds. Then add the greens and stir fry until they are just wilted (about 6-8 minutes should do it). Remove from the heat and stir through the lemon juice.
4. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 as a side dish.

This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Nepal!
Check out my other Nepali/Nepalese recipe posts:

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Chilli Grapefruit & Orange Salad

I'm growing to love fresh juicy and tangy citrus in savoury salads! It's not something I've ever done much of before, but one of the wonderful things about exploring foods from all over the world is that I'm discovering and trying new things constantly. Last month I made a sensational Orange & Olive Salad with Cumin for Egyptian food month. I fell so much in love with that salad that I jumped at the chance to make another citrus filled salad this month for Nepal. It was delicious - and a perfect fresh accompaniment to all the spicy dishes and curries from this month.

Chilli Grapefruit & Orange Salad

2 ruby grapefruits
3 oranges
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 cup plain [vegan] yoghourt

To Make
1. Peel the grapefruits and oranges and slice into segments. Reserve in a small bowl any juice that comes out onto your chopping board as you slice them.
2. Combine the grapefruit, orange, chilli and coriander in a bowl and toss to combine. Mix the sugar, turmeric and salt with the reserved citrus juices together in the bowl and add to the salad.
3. Heat the oil in a pan and toast the fenugreek seeds until just browned. Add to the salad and toss well.
4. Serve with a dollop of yoghourt and fresh coriander to garnish.

Serves 4.

This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Nepal!
Check out my other Nepali/Nepalese recipe posts:

Friday, 25 October 2013

Nepalese Vegetable Momo with Chilli Sesame Dipping Sauce

Nepalese Food Month has been a bit sporadic this month, but I've still got plenty of recipes to share with you - so you might be seeing quite a few go up between now and the end of the month. The good news is that the dreadful weather they were predicting for the fires has been milder than they expected. The temperatures have been moderate and today there is no wind at all. It's a relief, even though the fires are still burning and the fire fighters are working hard!

It leaves me a little more time for posting, though, so I'm bringing you a special recipe today. People who have spent time in South China or Tibet may have heard of Momo - steamed buns/dumplings filled with vegetables or meat. This recipe is a great example of Nepalese food - it's that mixture of Chinese and Indian influences. These very Chinese style steamed dumplings are filled with a very non Chinese filling of curried vegetables and then dipped in a delicious Sichuan style chilli sesame sauce. It's fantastic fusion, and honestly I've never eaten anything like it before. It's like a dumpling meets a samosa and they fall in love and have babies - momo babies.

Enough chatter - lets get the recipe going!

Nepali Vegetable Momo 


4 cups plain white flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Water, as necessary

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 cups vegetables, diced into small squares (I used carrot, celery, peas, potatoes and cabbage)
1 cup water (or more, as necessary)
1 tbsp flour
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander

To Make
1. Start with the filling - heat the oil in a large frypan and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Once the onions are softened and translucent add the fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds and fry for a further 15 seconds or so until they are golden brown.
2. Add the garam masala and turmeric and fry for another 30 seconds, until the spices are fragrant. Then add the vegetables and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked through. If all the water cooks off before the vegetables are cooked, just add more.
3. Once the vegetables are cooked, add another 1/4 cup water and bring back to a simmer. Add the tbsp flour and the fresh coriander and stir until the mixture is thick and no liquid remains. Set the filling aside to cool.
4. While the filling is cooling make the dumpling dough and the dipping sauce.
5. To make the dough - combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the oil and a bit of water and start to mix with your hands. Add just enough water so that a dough forms, it should be enough water that all the flour sticks together in a ball, but not so much that the ball of dough sticks to your fingers when you knead it. If you've added too much water and it's too sticky, just add a bit more flour until you get the right consistency.
6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for 10 minutes (set the timer on your oven, to make sure you don't under estimate the time). Return to the bowl and cover, let it stand for at least 20 minutes. While it is resting you can make the dipping sauce (recipe below).
7. Once the filling is completely cool, it's time to make the dumplings. Flour a work bench and pull off walnut sized pieces of dough. Roll into a ball and then roll out with a rolling pin to form a circle about 3-4 inches in diameter. Place a tablespoon of vegetable filling in the centre of the circle.
8. Grab the four "sides" of the circle and bring them together in the middle, pinch together so they hold. You'll now have four "loops" of dough sticking out each side, fold the each of these loops in on themselves towards the centre to form a pleat. Pinch the top together well so that they don't split open during steaming. (NOTE - this is how I did it, but use any method you like to make little pleats in the dumplings as you fold them up).
9. Once each dumpling is made, place it straight into a lightly oiled bamboo steamer (I placed mine straight onto the lightly oiled serving plate and then steamed them in my wok). Repeat with the remaining dough and filling (makes 23-25 dumplings).
10. Just before serving, steam the dumplings for 10 minutes and serve hot with the chilli sesame dipping sauce.

Chilli Sesame Momo Dipping Sauce

4 tbsp sesame seeds
6 dried red chillis
2 tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp fresh coriander
1/4 cup water

To Make
1. Heat a dry non stick frypan or wok over a medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and toast for about 1 minute, stirring often, until lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. In the same dry pan, place the dried red chillis and the whole tomatoes and heat for about 2-3 minutes, turning ever so often to ensure even roasting. Remove from the pan and set aside with the sesame seeds.
3. Combine the sesame seeds, chillis, tomatoes, crushed garlic, coriander and water in a food processor and blend for a minute into a sauce.

This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Nepal!
Check out my other Nepali/Nepalese recipe posts:

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Semolina Halva (Sooji Haluwa)

My best intentions for posting this month have been made insignificant by what is happening in my area of the world at the moment - which is why you haven't heard much from me lately! In the area I live there are currently 4 serious bush fires, a couple of which are burning out of control. Although we live in an area prone to fires, this year the fire season has begun badly - and it's only spring! The hot, dry, windy weather we are having now coupled with the fact that we had an unseasonably warm winter leading up to this has lead to terrifying bushfire conditions. Thousands of hectares of bushland has been burnt and many, many people have lost their homes, their cars, their possessions and, in some cases, their beloved pets. Fortunately there has been no known deaths in my area, which seems miraculous.

Today it has been predicted that the weather will be "as bad as it gets" for bush fires. Hot, dry weather with winds of up to 100km. This could potentially be disastrous for the spread of the fires that are already burning. All the schools and childcare centres have been closed for the next few days, hospitals and nursing homes have been evacuated or relocated and people are being urged to leave their homes if they are not prepared. It's a daunting situation!

We have been spending our days preparing our house and getting our plans in order. I feel that we are *pretty well* prepared now, so I've managed to find time to sit down and share a post with you. Today I will be hovering around with my sprinklers at the ready and hoping for the best. My thoughts and best wishes to all the thousands of other people across Australia that are facing similar situations (there are currently more than 60 fires currently burning in NSW alone, although a lot of these fires are being controlled and contained by our wonderful fire fighters).

So what delicious treats can we wheel out to distract us from natural disasters? How about some delicious Nepalese Sooji Haluwa? This is a really easy halva recipe, made with semolina and crammed full of tasty nuts and plump golden raisins.

Nepalese Sooji Haluwa (Semolina Halva)

1/3 cup vegan margarine
1 cup semolina
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups of almond, oat or rice milk
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
2 tbsp chopped cashews (about 10 or so)
2 tbsp chopped pistachios (plus more to garnish)
1/3 cup almonds, chopped roughly
Agave nectar, to garnish (or, if you are not a vegan, you can use honey which would be traditionally used)

To Make
1. Heat the margarine in a medium saucepan until melted. Add the semolina and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the semolina starts to turn brown.
2. Add the sugar and stir it through, followed by the milk, raisins, cardamom and coconut.
3. Bring to a simmer and then add the cashews, pistachios and almonds. Turn the heat right down and cook over a low heat until all the milk is absorbed into the semolina.
4. Transfer to a serving bowl. You can eat it hot or cold. Before serving sprinkle with fresh chopped pistachios and drizzle with agave nectar (or honey).

Serves 6.

This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Nepal!
Check out my other Nepali/Nepalese recipe posts:

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Nepalese Potato Roti (Aloo Roti)

I adore roti! I never knew how easy it was to make my own roti until I went to Sri Lanka and had the most delicious and fun cooking class at Unawatuna. It was so easy to make the delicious coconut roti that Karuna taught us that it's become a firm favourite at home. So, I never pass up the chance to make more roti - and different varieties always make me a little excited inside. This is Aloo or Aalu (potato) roti that I made for Nepal month is a great addition to my roti repertoire. Flavoured lightly with chilli, spices fresh coriander, it is delicious to mop up your curry or slather with some tomato achar or any other chutney or pickle.

Nepalese Potato Roti

3 large potatoes
1 green chilli, seeds and placenta removed
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups wholemeal flour
Oil for frying

To Make
1. Peel and chop potatoes. Boil until well cooked then drain and mash finely. Allow to cool.
2. Once the potatoes have cooled, add the chilli, garlic, coriander, cumin and salt and stir well to combine.
3. Add the flour and stir well to combine. Take small handfuls of this dough and place on a floured surface. Use your fingers to flatten into a disk about 1 cm thick. Use a small bowl to cut out the roti into evenly shaped circles (this keeps them all the same size).
4. Heat a small amount of oil in a non stick pan. Fry the roti for a few minutes on each side on a medium heat, until they become golden brown and crispy on the outside. Keep warm as you cook the remaining roti. Serve warm with tomato achar.

Makes 10 roti (may vary depending on the size of the bowl you use to cut them into circles).

This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Nepal!
Check out my other Nepali/Nepalese recipe posts:

Monday, 14 October 2013

Nepalese Tomato Achar

I know it's been a bit quiet here for the past couple of weeks but after such a mammoth posting month last month for VeganMofo I just had to take a bit of a break..... and that break accidentally stretched out to 2 weeks. Oops!

I'd like to take a moment to thank all the awesome readers who have taken the time to suggest countries for me to feature in my World Food Challenge - you guys are awesome! I know have enough countries on my list to last me until this time next year (wow! So much deliciousness coming your way). Don't let that stop you if you want to suggest a country though! Especially if it's a country you don't know anything about. Just pull out a map - you may find countries you've never even heard of. If you'd like to suggest a country to be featured just jump on over to the world food challenge post and tell me about it!

But that is enough of that - what about the featured country for this month? Well, I may not have been posting much over the last 2 weeks but I have been doing a lot of COOKING! Which is the most important thing, right? :) This month's featured country is Nepal, and even though I'm a bit late starting the posts this month, don't fear - there are still a lot of Nepalese delights coming your way!

Nepalese or Nepali cuisine is a fun and interesting one. It's got influences from both Indian and Chinese/Tibetan cuisines, has some interesting dishes which combine elements of both (very different) cuisines. That means there is lots of curry and rice - but also spicy noodles and even dumplings. I think you'll enjoy this month!

I'm starting out with an easy and simple dish though - Tomato Achar. "Achar" is usually translated as "pickle", although the various "achar" dishes are not actually pickles. They're closer to spicy sauces or chutneys, and there are a lot of different types. You can make achar out of just about anything - tomato, onion, chilli, ginger, mango, mint, greens, - so many things really. I've chosen to do a tomato one because it seems to be a really popular one. Having said that, like any ubiquitous ethnic dish there are dozens of different ways to can make it! A quick search on the internet will reveal to you heaps of different methods and different things you can add to it.

Nepalese Tomato Achar

2 large tomatoes
3 red chillis
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1-2 tbsp fresh chopped coriander

To Make
1. Heat a non stick frypan or wok over a medium to low heat. Once the pan is hot add the whole tomatoes to the dry pan. Roast them in the dry pan over a medium to low heat, turning as necessary, until the skins are slightly wrinkled and split. Add the chillis to the dry pan and roast for a further few minutes.
2. Remove the tomatoes and chillis from the pan. Roughly chop the tomatoes and chop the chillis a bit more finely.
3. Heat the oil in the pan and add the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, ginger and garlic. Fry until the fenugreek seeds are just browning. Add the cumin, coriander, tomatoes and chillis.
4. Cook over a medium to low heat until there is no liquid left, and the achar is like a thick paste. Stir through the fresh coriander and serve.

You can also add lemon juice if you want to make it tangy.
Serve with rotti, bread or dolloped on your curries. Also great spread on burgers and wraps.

This month I'm featuring lots of recipes from Nepal!
Check out my other Nepali/Nepalese recipe posts: