Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Beef" Rendang and Gajar Matar

Mock meat isn't something that features regularly in my kitchen but a trip to Global Green Vegetarian last weekend tempted me to purchase a couple of items. After a good hard think about what to use these products in, I decided on something that I used to enjoy as an omni which seems pretty difficult to achieve with vegies or legumes - "Beef" Rendang.

I knew just the source for it, my old faithful "Curry and Chilli cookbook"!!! After perusing the recipe which was made with 1kg of beef, it was clear that I would need to halve the rest of the ingredients in order for this to work with 300g of mock "beef". A couple of other minor adjustments were made to the recipe, instead of 250ml coconut milk I opted to use a small 165ml tin of light coconut milk as overpowering coconut flavours do not sit very well with me. In the middle of cooking the curry, I realised that I had tamarind pulp rather than concentrate so based on some quick googling doubled the amount stated.

A mock meat curry and rice couldn't make up our whole meal so I scanned through another favourite Indian cookbook given to me many years ago by my mother in law when I was going through an obsessive Indian phase. Curry used to be on the menu at least 2-3 times a week, these days my styles of cooking are a lot more diverse although I still love spicy stuff.

Flicking through "The Food of India" brought me to an old favourite, Gajar Matar (carrots and peas). It was the perfect choice for this week as my pea loathing son has been staying with his grandma for school holidays. This recipe has never been made as per the book due to the fact that it calls for 1/2 cup oil and 3 teaspoons of salt. There is no way I would use that much oil or salt, 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt has always worked for me. It has been a while since I last made it so I forgot how spicy it was (and that's coming from a chilli nut).

The whole meal was deliciously spicy and the two dishes worked well together, served with some rice and pappadums.

Pictured below are the "beef" chunks used in the recipe. I was surprised that they only contained 5 ingredients and nothing that sounded too dodgy: Soybean fiber, Chinese mushroom stem, vegetable oil, salt and vegetarian seasonings.

On a sad note, when linking to Global Green their facebook page states that the store opposite the Vic Market closed on the 18th Jan and has relocated to Braybrook :(

"Beef" Rendang (Adapted from "Curry and Chilli cookbook")

1 brown onion, chopped roughly
2 cloves garlic
1 green chilli, seeded and chopped roughly
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1 x 165g tin light coconut milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon chilli powder
1 strip of lemon rind
300g packet of "beef" chunks
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons tamarind pulp

Place the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and a tablespoon or 2 of the coconut milk into a food processor or blender and process until a paste is formed.

Heat the oil in the medium-large sized saucepan, add the paste and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, chilli powder and stir until well combined and fragrant. Place the "beef" chunks, lemon rind and the rest of the coconut milk in the saucepan and mix well. Bring to the boil and simmer on very low heat for about 20-30 minutes until the curry is almost dry .

Finally add the lemon juice, brown sugar and tamarind and stir until heated through.

Gajar Matar (Adapted from "The Food of India")

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 large carrots, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder (omit if you don't like very spicy food)
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon garam masala

Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan, then add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook on medium heat for a few minutes until the onion has softened.

Add the cumin seeds and turmeric and when the seeds begin to sizzle, put the carrots in and stir through for 2 minutes. Add the ground coriander, cumin, salt, chilli powder (if using) and water and simmer, covered for about 10 minutes on low heat.

Stir through the frozen peas and cover for a few more minutes or until the carrots and peas are tender. Finally mix in the garam masala and serve.

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