This recipe was my first assignment in the Daring Cook's Challenge. Every month, a challenge is assigned and cooks and food bloggers all try their hands at what might be something completely new and unfamiliar.
This month, the challenge, assigned by Debyi of The Healthy Vegan Kitchen, was a wonderful vegan Indian dish composed of spelt flour pancakes (dosas), a chickpea curry, and a coconut and tomato sauce to finish. I admit that I grumbled about having to go out and buy soy milk, but the meal was delicious and will definitely become one of my go-to special dinners.
The amounts here will feed at least five hungry people (we were only three and have enough left over for lunch and dinner for two!), but the chickpea filling freezes well and the dosas are actually quite easy to make, so a little extra wouldn't go amiss.
First, for the Chickpea Filling, you need:
5 cloves garlic, crushed and minced.
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1 largish carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced (red, yellow or orange are fine too)
2 medium hot banana chilies, minced (I couldn't find any hot peppers so I omitted them. Still yum.)
2 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP coarse sea salt (remember that if you use fine, you should use less!)
1 TBSP turmeric
4 cups cooked or canned chick peas (about 2 cans)
½ cup (one small can) tomato paste
1.Heat 1 TBS canola oil in a large saucepan over medium to low heat. Saute the onion and the spices with the carrot until the onions are softened. Then add the garlic and peppers and continue to cook until soft, stirring occasionally.
2.Mash the chickpeas by hand, with a hand blender like I did, or in a food processor. They don't have to be completely mashed - I left a bunch (maybe a third) whole to make a better texture.
Add the chickpeas and tomato paste to the saucepan, stirring until heated through. At this point mine was a bit dry, so I added about 3/4 c water - you may wish to do this also.
Second, make your coconut sauce:
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
½ ground cumin
¾ tsp coarse sea salt
3 TBSP curry powder (mild or hot - whatever you like!)
3 TBSP spelt flour (you can use whole wheat flour if you can't find spelt)
3 cups vegetable broth (you can use chicken if you don't mind it no longer being vegan!)
2 cups coconut milk
3 large tomatoes, diced
2. Add the spices, cooking for 1 minute more. Add the flour and cook for 1 additional minute.
3. Gradually stir in the vegetable broth to prevent lumps. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the coconut milk and tomatoes, stirring occasionally.
4. Let it simmer for half an hour.
At this point, you are ready to start your pancakes. For the Dosas, you need:
1 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat, or gluten free)
½ tsp regular salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp curry powder
½ cup soy milk (or almond, or rice, etc.)
¾ cup water
cooking spray, if needed (I needed.)
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Slowly add the soy milk and water, whisking until smooth.
2.Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray your pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, if needed. It's important that the pan is hot enough - you will end up with sad pancakes if your pan is not hot. We had a few sad pancakes, but they were eaten anyways, so I guess they weren't that sad! :)
3.Ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the center of your pan in a circular motion until it is a thin, round pancake. (If you have made crepes before, it is the same technique.) When bubbles appear on the surface and it no longer looks wet, flip it over and cook for a few seconds. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter. Makes 8 pancakes. (We ended up with about 12 pancakes, but they were on the smaller side.)
I arranged the pancakes on a plate and served the chickpeas and the coconut sauce separately so that people could assemble their own. The basic idea is that the chickpea filling goes inside the dosa like a burrito, and then the sauce either can go on top, enchilada style, or inside before you wrap it up. You could even dip, I suppose. Either way, this was a popular dinner in my house and I am very excited to have expanded my cooking skills! Look for another Daring Cook post next month at this time!