Indian feast!

Indian feast

Edit 12 Nov 2008: I’ve added the recipe for Spinach toran, per a request by neca from Weighty Words. Enjoy!

Yesterday my FIL came over for tea (Amerispeak=supper). I decided to make curry, as it hadn’t been served up at the Thrifty household in a few weeks. I initially only intended to make one or two dishes, plus rice (the best-laid plans, yada, yada…)

I definitely wanted a mushroom dish. My favourite mushroom curry was one for Succulent mountain mushrooms that I’d adapted from one in the book Mangoes and Curry Leaves by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, found via blogs One Hot Stove and trialsnerror. Creamy and flavourful, but not hot. I used an exotic mushroom selection from Sainsbury’s, plus a few white button ‘shrooms. (You can use all white button mushrooms.)

The chard I’d picked from our allotment a few days ago got earmarked for Spinach toran, from an old Indian cookbook that Mr Thrifty had lying around.

Hmmm, needed a protein dish… Very spicy, delicious chickpeas from Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking, yes that would do.

Then I decided to make rice. And parsnip and potato bhajis.

Crikey! What a feast. But it was most delicious, and worth all the work.

Succulent mountain mushrooms

The original recipe calls for yogurt, not sour cream. But I had some Tofutti sour cream to use up, plus this makes it very creamy. You can substitute 5 tablespoons soya yogurt for the sour cream + water.

British American
220g mixed mushrooms 1/2 pound
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1-1/2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon kalonji (nigella) seeds 1/4 teaspoon
1-1/2 teaspoons ginger paste (or minced ginger) 1-1/2 teaspoons
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic paste (or minced garlic) 1-1/2 teaspoons
1 medium onion, halved & thinly sliced 1
1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste 3/4 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 1/2 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/8 teaspoon
3-1/2 tablespoons vegan sour cream + 1-1/2 tablespoons water 3-1/2 tablespoons
220g fresh tomatoes, peeled & finely chopped 1/2 pound

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add fenugreek and kalonji seeds, give it a stir, then add garlic & ginger paste. Saute for 30 seconds.

2. Add onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softened and fragrant (about eight minutes).

3. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for three more minutes.

4. Turn heat to low. Add coriander, salt, cumin, turmeric and cayenne, and mix thoroughly. Add sour cream/water mixture (or yogurt) and mix again. Simmer for a few minutes.

5. Add tomatoes and continue to simmer for an additional five minutes, until they are broken down and have been amalgamated into the sauce.

Can be prepared ahead of time and reheated.

Makes two to four servings, depending on how many other dishes you are serving it with.

Very spicy, delicious chickpeas

This recipe is slightly adapted from one in Eastern Vegetarian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey. I notched down the heat by omitting the fresh hot chilli, but you can add it if you like things spicy. I keep fresh ginger root in the freezer, it’s easy to grate super-fine when frozen and keeps for ages.

As usual, you can start with 110g dried chickpeas and let Stanley cook them.

British American
2-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2-1/2 tablespoons
1 medium onion, very finely chopped 1
4 cloves garlic, minced 4
1-1/2 teaspoons ground coriander 1-1/2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 1/2 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/8 teaspoon
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tomatoes (peel first) 3 tablespoons
400g tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed 14 ounce can
1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds, ground 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon amchoor powder 1/2 teaspoon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon garam masala 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste 1/2 teaspoon
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1-1/2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons very finely grated fresh ginger 2 teaspoons
1/2 fresh hot chilli, minced (optional) 1/2

1. If you need to roast the cumin seeds, do so first while the pan is clean and dry. Simply add whole cumin seeds to a hot, dry pan and toast, stirring, until fragrant (a couple of minutes). Remove from pan and crush in a mortar and pestle.

2. Heat oil in a heavy frypan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring, for eight minutes, until soft.

3. Turn heat to low and add coriander, cumin (not roasted cumin), turmeric and cayenne. Mix thoroughly. Add tomatoes and cook for couple of minutes, until they are amalgamated with the spices. Add drained chickpeas (garbanzos) and 125ml (1/2 cup) water. Mix well.

4. Add ground roasted cumin, amchoor, paprika, garam masala, salt and lemon juice, and mix again. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

5. Uncover and stir in fresh ginger and minced chilli (if using). Continue to cook for another minute.

Can be prepared ahead of time and reheated.

Makes two to four servings, depending on how many other dishes you are serving it with.

Spinach toran

This dish is also delicious made with chard. From Step by Step Indian Cooking by Sharda Gopal.

British American
250g fresh spinach or chard 1/2 pound
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 tablespoon
1/2 small onion, finely chopped 1/2
1/2 fresh chilli, finely chopped 1/2
40g fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped 1-1/2 ounces
40g grated fresh or dessicated coconut 1-1/2 ounces
salt to taste

1. Wash the spinach or chard, discard any discoloured leaves and tough stalks, and shake dry. Chop as finely as possible and leave in a colander to drain.

2. Heat oil in a pan and gently fry the onion and chilli until the onion is transparent.

3. Add spinach or chard and tomato, cover tightly and cook on low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until spinach or chard has wilted.

4. Stir in coconut and add salt to taste.

Makes two to four servings, depending on how many other dishes you are serving it with.


  1. This sounds heavenly! Would you be willing to share your spinach recipe?

  2. Hey neca,
    No problem! Recipe added 🙂

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