Vegan Chicken PEAlau Rice

My Vegan Chicken PEAlau has been a mega hit at home. Even my mother-in-law wants the recipe…which is a first. All the depth and meatiness without the meat! As you’ve guessed by the name of the dish, I have replaced the chicken I usually use to make my pilau with the surprisingly meaty textured plant based Lazy Vegan Pulled Pea Chunks from Sainsbury’s. I cooked the pea chunks with caramelised onions, ginger, whole spices & basmati rice to create a super flavourful one pot dish. It will help turn Veganuary into Vegebruary!

Vegan Chicken PEAlau Rice

Servings: 3 people

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 ginger grated
  • 2 cloves garlic grated (I combined the ginger & garlic & blitzed in a processor)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp tomato pasata
  • 2 green chillies very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • handful fresh coriander
  • 2 handfuls peas I used frozen
  • 180 g Lazy Vegan Natural Chunky Pulled Peaz available in frozen section in Sainsburys
  • 1 cup/180g Basmati rice I used a measuring cup, washed well
  • 2 cups water Again using same measuring cup used for rice

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a pan. When hot, add the cumin, cloves, bay leaves and cardamoms. Once the spices sizzle and splatter, add the onions and 1 tsp salt.
  • Cook the onions for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Then add the ginger and garlic. Cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes until everything is completely soft and golden brown.
  • Now add the tomato puree, pasata and chilli. Mix well then reduce the heat and add the remaining 1 tsp salt as well as all of the dry spice powders. Cook for 20 seconds on a medium heat.
  • Add the fresh coriander, frozen peas as well as the pulled pea chunks and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Taste for salt and chilli at this point and adjust accordingly.
  • Now add the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling add the washed rice. Bring to a boil once again.
  • Now reduce to a simmer and place a lid on top. Cook on a low/medium heat. Keep an eye on the pan and when you see that the water has completely evaporated, turn the heat off. (Place the wooden spoon into the rice and also check to make sure there is no water at the bottom of the pan).
  • Place the lid back on the pan and allow the rice to finish off cooking in its own heat for a further 25 minutes. (Don’t remove the lid before then!).
  • Fork and mix the rice and before serving. Garnish with fresh chillies and coriander. Serve with fresh lime and your favourite yoghurt raita! 

Notes

The wider the pan you use, the better! This will ensure the rice has enough space to cook, yielding perfectly cooked individual grains!

Tandoori Paneer Masala

I love having paneer in the fridge. It’s a goodun’ to just always have in. Home from work, don’t know what to make? Get on that paneer. Paneer is an Indian cheese that’s made from cows milk and is rather excellent at absorbing flavours. It has a wonderful almost meaty texture which makes it perfect for cooking it in curries (obvs), as a stuffing (paneer parathas anyone?) or even as a salad topping (toast paneer cubes in a dry pan until golden & crisp & pop on top of your next salad – you’re welcome). In addition, it’s packed full of protein and surprisingly quick to make. But enough of the paneer ad campaign, let’s get onto the good stuff. 

Today’s recipe is one that transforms this humble cheese into a luxurious, stand out dish. Mopped up with crispy, butter laden naans (I mean if you’re going to do it, do it right), it will not disappoint. This is also a fabulous one to whip out at a dinner party or pot luck. Enjoy. 

For Paneer Marination:
225g paneer, cut into cubes
1 red or green bell pepper, cut into 1cm squares
1 onion, cut into 1 cm squares
4 garlic cloves, grated or minced
2” ginger, grated
½ tsp salt or according to taste
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp lemon/lime juice
4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp gram flour/chickpea flour (optional)
2 tsp sunflower/vegetable oil
For Masala:
4 tbsp oil
2” cinnamon stick
2 black cardamoms (optional), crushed open in a pestle & mortar
3 green cardamoms, crushed open in a pestle & mortar
5 cloves
4 tbsp tomato passata
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp double concentrate tomato purée
2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp salt, or according to taste
3/4 tsp cumin powder
3 tsp kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
4 tbsp cream cheese
Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped

How to:
1) Line a baking tray and pre-heat grill at highest temperature setting. Place all “paneer marination” ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
2) Tip the marinated paneer into the baking tray and spread all over. Cook in grill for 5 minutes until slightly charred. Remove from heat and turn off grill.
3) Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add the cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves and cook for 10 seconds.
4) Now add the tomato passata, purée, ketchup and green chillies and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining spices and cook for 1 minute. Now add the cream cheese a little at a time, mixing continuously until it is completely blended in.
5) Now add the grilled paneer as well as the fresh coriander.
6) Add one cup of water and bring to boil. Place lid on the pan and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Check the salt and chilli adjust to your taste. Enjoy with naan or chapatis.

Keema Mattar

On a day to day basis, I try not to overeat. You know, be conscious of what I’m eating and all that jazz. For the most part, I do alright. But then I have those moments where I lapse. Big time lapse (segue to today’s recipe imminent). One of those times is when keema matter is on the cards for dinner. This is a perfect recipe to cook if you need a hug in a meal. You can mop it up with hot chapatis (my preference), plain basmati rice (the hub’s choice) or even stuff it in a fluffy white bap if you like. If you are trying to keep it light, can even stuff inside iceberg leaves and have lettuce wraps. If you want to elevate it to the next level though (we are talking “ohmygaaaahhh” level ) you need to do two things. One – cook the dish in mustard oil and two – use minced mutton instead of lamb. But like I said, if you can’t source those two things, worry not. It’s still going to taste shamazing. Enjoy! And then come back and tell me how it was 🙂 

Keema Mattar
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 5-6 tbsp mustard oil (you can also use vegetable or sunflower oil)
  2. 2 bay leaves
  3. 3 cloves
  4. 2 green cardamom pods crushed open
  5. 1 black cardamom pod crushed open (optional)
  6. 1 1/2 large onions, cut into rough chunks
  7. 3/4 tsp salt
  8. 2 fresh green chillies
  9. 2" ginger
  10. 3 garlic cloves
  11. 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  12. 1 tsp garam masala
  13. 1/2 tsp paprika
  14. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  15. 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  16. 1/4 tsp chilli powdder
  17. 5 tbsp tomato passata (you can also blitz fresh or tinned plum tomatoes into a paste)
  18. 800g minced mutton/lamb*
  19. 1 small potato, diced into 1cm cubes
  20. 100g peas
  21. Handful fresh coriander with stems, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Coarsely grind onions in a processor and place in a bowl. Now coarsely grind the chilli, ginger and garlic*
  2. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Once hot add the bay leaves, cloves and cardamoms.
  3. When they begin to sizzle in the oil, add the coarsely ground onions. Add 3/4 tsp salt and cook for 3-4 minutes on a medium to high heat.
  4. When they turn translucent and soft, add the ground green chilli, ginger and garlic mixture. Cook for a further 9-10 minutes until everything turns a deep golden brown shade. If it sticks to the pan at any point, add a splash of oil or alternatively water.
  5. Now reduce the heat and add the remaining 1 tsp salt and all the dry spices and mix well. Cook for 20 seconds. Now stir in the tomato passata and cook for 2 minutes. When the oil begins to separate from the masala sauce, add the mince and potatoes and mix together.
  6. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring to boil. Now reduce heat to low/medium setting and place lid on the pan. Allow the mince to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes, then add the peas. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle on fresh coriander and mix.
  8. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly. If you would like the dish to be a little "drier", continue to cook until it has reduced down. Alternatively, if you prefer it "wetter" you can always add little more water than suggested.
Notes
  1. * If you don't have a processor, just finely chop onions and chilli and grate ginger & garlic.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/