As if the recipes on Richa Hingle's blog weren't amazing enough (cashew cheeze mozzarella sticks, anyone?), she also released her first cookbook in 2015, Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen. Never before has Indian cooking seemed so approachable. Yes, there's a long list of ingredients. But the instructions are clear and concise, and her amazingly fragrant and flavor-packed dishes come together in way less time than you would think! As this post will show, I haven't been able to put this book down!
Tofu in Spinach Curry (Palak Tofu)...the spiced, crispy tofu contrasts perfectly with a creamy pureed spinach sauce.
Vegetables in Luxurious Royal Sauce (Navratan Korma) allows you to choose your own vegetable combination. I went with zucchini and carrots. In a rich tomato-cashew sauce, any veggie is going to taste delicious.
Vegetables in Smoky Tomato Sauce (Vegetable Jalfrezi) was one of my favorites, with fire-roasted tomatoes, chipotle powder, smoked paprika, and liquid smoke adding layer upon layer of smoky flavor.
Kofta Balls in Nut-Free Cream Sauce (Malai Kofta) is one of my very favorite Indian dishes, and this allergy-friendly take is just as bursting with flavor as any restaurant version I've had. Love it.
For the Vegan Paneer and Spinach in Tomato Sauce (Kadhai Vegan Paneer Palak), I first made Richa's almond and cashew paneer. So good! I could've snacked on the whole tray, but I held myself back, and turned it into dinner.
Worth the self-restraint!
Chicken-Free Balti...I've seen baltis on restaurant menus before, but never a vegetarian version. So it was nice to try something new. Seitan strips are spiced, sauteed, and mixed into a velvety tomato-based sauce.
I served the balti with a couple of sauces, Mint Cilantro Chile Chutney and Tony's favorite, Quick Tamarind Date Chutney.
Broccoli Onion Fritters in Spiced Yogurt...I'm familiar with the use of yogurt as a condiment (i.e. raita) in Indian cooking, but it's such a big part of this dish, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it. But, like everything else I made from this cookbook, I did. One thing that I love about Richa's book is that the traditionally deep-fried items, such as these fritters, are baked, and yet they turn out just as crispy as you'd want them to be.
Cabbage Kofta in Creamy Tomato Sauce (Patta-Gobi Ke Kofte) was challenging, as my kofta mixture didn't want to form into balls. It seemed too moist, and I may not have chopped the cabbage small enough. I ended up just forming it into patties and baking them as directed. They were lovely with the spicy tomato sauce and rice.
Vegetables in Vindaloo Sauce...like the balti, vindaloo was a term I'd seen on menus, but never tried, since it is usually a meat dish. Again, you choose your own veggie combination for this dish. Potatoes, peas and carrots worked well in this spicy/sour, vinegar-based sauce.
All of this is really just scratching the surface of Richa's book. I haven't even gotten to the soups, dals, flatbreads, or desserts yet! One other thing, if you are looking for a new kitchen gadget to spring for, I suggest a spice grinder! I got one on Amazon for under $20 and it's been fun making my own spices. Freshly ground garam masala (Richa includes a recipe for this too, of course) smells heavenly and adds that much more flavor to your meal.