I'm not sure if that is entirely true or if that was simply all he could recall eating.
Cookbook author, Anupy Singla is completely responsible for my recent obsession with Indian cooking and my five-year-old's worldly palate. She's an Indian American Mom and former reporter who so, so successfully translates complex Indian flavors to the time constraints of the home cook without dumbing down the dishes one bit. Her recipes are realistic and super flavorful.
They are just so great that I have cooked little else since last March when I impulse checked out her first book, The Indian Slow Cooker, from the library. This book has the highest ratio of delicious to effort of any book I've ever cooked from. When I finally had to return it, I didn't know what to make for dinner. And then her new book, Vegan (!) Indian Cooking appeared, and dinner was back.
This book is a bit more uneven than her first, which though not vegan, is just plain excellent throughout. This one is a little awkwardly organized. Some recipes feel redundant or unnecessary while there are others that I wish were included. I want this to be THE Vegan Indian Cookbook, because I just love her recipes so much, but it's not quite.
Still many of the dishes here make it totally worthwhile to overlook a few faults. We adored her tomato chutney - both left chunky and blended into "masala ketchup." This morning I dolloped it on top of her tofu scramble before rolling the whole thing up in a spinach roti. The boys ate their green tortilla-like flat breads smeared with (vegan) butter and maple syrup and rolled up for easy eating. The baked samosa sticks were almost as fun to make as they were to eat. The dough was easy to work with, and my children didn't even pick the peas out of the filling. They were delicious dipped in the tangy, salty, sweet tamarind-date chutney.
And I meant to make Anupy's spicy sweet aloo tiki for dinner last week. I had planned to put the sweet potato patties on buns with green bean fries on the side. But then the day got away from me, and the boys had tofu and ketchup for dinner and went to bed, and I was left with a quiet house and a bowl of mashed sweet potatoes. I fried the onions and stirred in the spices and peas and chickpea flour. Paul got home from work, and we chatted and had a cocktail while I fried the little orange patties. I opened a jar of Anupy's masala ketchup and a couple beers and we sat and played Scrabble and had a totally pleasant grown-up evening. Thankfully, the aloo tikki turned out way too spicy for the kids so we didn't even save them any.
Anupy Singla's Spicy Sweet Potato Patties (Aloo Tikki)
To make these kid friendly, just omit the cayenne and fresh chiles all together. My notes on the recipe are in parentheses. Otherwise, this is the recipe just as it appears in Vegan Indian Cooking. It's reprinted here with the permission of the publisher.
makes: 10 medium-sized patties
takes: about 30 minutes
- 1 large sweet potato (or white potato), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch (13-mm) dice (about 4 cups [600 g])
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 medium yellow or red onion, peeled and finely diced (1/2 cup [75 g])
- 1 (1-inch [2.5 g]) piece ginger root, peeled and grated or minced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
- 1 cup (145 g) peas, fresh or frozen (defrost first)
- 1 - 2 green Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed, chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup (46 g) gram (chickpea) flour (besan)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, for garnish
- Steam the potato until soft, about 7 minutes. Let it cool. Use your hands or a potato masher to gently break it down. You'll have about 3 cups (630 g) mashed potatoes at this point. (I cooked 4 little sweet potatoes in the microwave, let them cool, and scraped the flesh into a bowl.)
- In a shallow frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. (I'd go medium.)
- Add the cumin and cook until it sizzles and is slightly browned, about 30 seconds.
- Add the onion, ginger root, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and red chile powder. Cook until soft, another 2 to 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool. (I just used a heat-proof spatula to scrape every last bit of the flavorful oil and spices into the potatoes.)
- Once it has cooled, add the mixture to the potatoes, followed by the peas, green chiles, salt, gram flour, and lemon juice.
- Mix well with your hands or large spoon. (I used that same heat-proof spatula.)
- Form the mixture into small patties and set them aside on a tray. (I just made the patties as I fried them, and I found that wetting my hands and using a damp ice cream scoop kept everything from being a complete mess.)
- In a large, heavy pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Cook the patties in batches of 2 to 4, depending on the size of the pan, for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned. (You've got to make sure that gram flour really cooks though or it's not going to taste good, so I turned down the heat a little and cooked the patties a little bit longer per side. On my stove, medium high would get my patties burned in about 45 seconds.)
- Serve hot, garnished with the chopped fresh parsley or cilantro. This patty can be eaten as a sandwich, on a bed of lettuce, or as a fun side to your entree. The mixture will keep for about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. To make the more traditional patty, use regular potatoes in place of sweet potatoes.
Reprinted with permission from Vegan Indian Cooking: 140 Simple and Healthy Vegan Recipes, by Anupy Singla, Agate Surrey, July 2012.