This Phool Makhana Curry, or lotus seed curry, is made of puffy, crispy lotus seeds and green peas in a creamy sauce of cashew nuts, tomatoes, and spices. A vegan, gluten-free, soy-free recipe.
So it's time to say goodbye to another year, time to make new resolutions, time to lose weight, time to read more books, time to take longer walks with the dogs, time to cook more delicious vegan food, and yes-- time to blog more.
This past year's been a rocky road for Holy Cow! She turned three in November, which seemed like a pretty big milestone considering I have rarely stuck to any one project for that long. But there were obstacles that kept me from giving her as much attention as I should have-- I was juggling a new job, the long and arduous road to recovery that followed Lucy's diagnosis with osteosarcoma, Freddie's slow decline as he struggles with cancer, and two repeated mishaps with the camera that made it impossible to post, along with about two dozen other things.
But for those of you who've missed seeing me online, I have good news: I am going to be around much more-- perhaps more than you'd like-- in 2011. Because I've missed you even more.
So here I am, with the final post of 2010-- a creamy, delicious, almost incredibly exquisite curry made with an ingredient that may not be familiar to some of you: lotus seeds, or phool makhana.
Lotus seeds are a wonderful treat and you can buy them at any Indian grocery store here in the United States. When I started to cook with them, I discovered they make a wonderful meat substitute. The seeds, dalmatian-like with a creamy color mottled with black specks, are puffy and light. You would usually cook them by frying or roasting them first in a little oil which makes them rather crispy and delicious and subtly flavorful-- almost a wonderful snack in their own right. But an even more delicious treat is to dunk them in a spicy curry which changes their texture to slightly chewy.
I use a paste of cashews to make the makhana curry creamy, but coconut milk would work too although, of course, it would alter the flavor.
This is a great recipe for winter-- it's healthy but you practically don't need any fresh ingredients. Even the peas are frozen, and everything else came from the pantry.
For those of you who were expecting my vegan custard tart post, sorry, but I am going to undertake that project only after Desi gets his camera back from the repair shop-- heaven knows why it's taking them that long! The pictures for today's post were taken on my phone which, although not a great substitute for the real thing, makes a pretty decent picture, especially in the very talented Desi's hands.
More Vegan Curry Recipes
Creamy Phool Makhana Curry (Lotus Seed Curry)
- 2 cups phool makhana or lotus seeds (they keep in the pantry forever)
- 1 cup green peas
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 3 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 heaping tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ to 1 tsp cayenne (use less for less heat, more for more)
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 cup tomato puree
- ¼ cup kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
- ⅓ cup cashews
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
- Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet and add the lotus seeds. Stir-fry them, stirring constantly, until they turn golden-brown and crisp. You don't want them to blacken.
- Put the lotus seeds in a bowl and set aside.
- Make a paste with the cashews and 1 cup of water and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a skillet (if you used a cast-iron one to roast the lotus seeds, replace it with a nonstick or stainless steel one for the rest of the recipe. You're using tomato in the recipe and acidic ingredients don't react happily to cast iron).
- Add the onion and saute over medium heat until it turns transparent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a few seconds.
- Add the powdered spices and saute another 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato puree and mix thoroughly. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes darken and the oil begins to express itself.
- Add the lotus seeds, the frozen green peas, and the kasoori methi. Give it all a good stir and add a cup of water.
- Once the curry comes to a boil, add the cashew paste and salt to taste. If the curry is too thick, add some water. I like my curry rather thick-- perfect to scoop up with an oven-fresh naan.
- Spritz in a few drops of lemon juice for some added complexity. Garnish with chopped coriander.