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10 vegan recipes for January cheer

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Gone are the bumper packs of Celebrations and generous slabs of Stilton - January is a time when we all back off and attempt to cleanse our palettes (and our stomachs, for that matter). But you don't necessarily need to slave over a wheatgrass and kale juice regime to kick-start that detox. With the help of chefs from the BITE Food Festival and food blogger Margie Broadhead of madebymargie.com, we've put together some tasty vegan recipes that are both healthy and filling. From Indian dishes such as aloo ghobi and saag aloo to black bean tacos and tofu popcorn, grab some culinary inspiration to cheer in January:

1. Potato, chickpea and cashew salad

Aloo Channa Caju Chaat

From Mr Todiwala’s Bombay by Cyrus Todiwala (Hardie Grant, £25). Cyrus will be at BITE Food Festival bitefoodfestival.com. Photography: Helen Cathcart

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  • 100g chickpeas (garbanzos) or a 400g can, well drained
  • rock salt, to taste
  • 2 large potatoes, scrubbed
  • 100g broken cashew nuts, or whole, broken or chopped into pieces
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large beef tomato
  • 1 smallish red onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 heaped tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 1–2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chaat masala powder, or to taste
  • juice of lime (about 1 tsp)

Method:

1. If using raw dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in cold water then boil in water until tender. Chickpeas will take from anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour to soften. They should not be firm as that can give you an upset tummy. Boiling chickpeas can take a long time even after soaking, as it is essential that they are thoroughly cooked. A pressure cooker is much faster. Add a little salt then drain thoroughly. Alternatively, drain the can of chickpeas in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain again.

2. Boil the potatoes in their skins until tender when pierced. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, peel then cut into 5mm dice and put in a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 120˚C/250˚F/gas . Mix the cashew nuts with the vegetable oil until they are all coated and spread out on a baking tray (please do not add more oil even if you think it is not enough, a teaspoon is adequate). Gently roast in the oven until lightly coloured. Remove, leave to cool, then add to the potatoes.

3. Cut the tomato in quarters then remove the pulp with a teaspoon and reserve for use in a soup or sauce. Finely dice the flesh (you need about 3 heaped tablespoons). Add to the nuts and potato.

4. Add all the remaining ingredients, toss together gently, add salt to taste and more chilli, chaat masala or lime juice, if desired. Serve in a bowl to share, or plate individually and serve as a starter with hot pooris, as an accompaniment to another starter or as a side dish with a meal. Please note that this dish does not keep well in the refrigerator once it has all been mixed, so only combine at the very last minute, when ready to serve.

2. Aloo Ghobi

From Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs (Headline £12), Urban Rajah and Indunil Sanchi will be hosting the Great Indian Food Feast at the BITE Food Festival in the Cotswolds from 1 to 9 February - bitefoodfestival.com, urbanrajah.com, cotswoldhouse.com

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main):

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, cut into smallish cubes
  • 1 medium cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-size florets
  • 75ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Half a lemon

For the spice paste:

  • 2.5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and blended to make a paste with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 4 tbsp water

Method:

1. Combine all the spice paste ingredients in a bowl.

2. Heat the oil over a medium heat and test the heat by throwing in a single cumin seed. If it fizzes and pops then the oil is ready. Add the rest of the cumin, the mustard seeds, asafoetida (if you have some) and chillies, stirring for just a few seconds. Now add the spice mix and stir for a minute or two until the mix separates a little from the oil. Slide in the potatoes (aloo) and cauliflower (ghobi), adding the water and salt, and mix well, covering everything with everything. Cover and cook over a medium heat for 15–20 minutes until the vegetables have yielded their starchy stiffness and become tender. Check the aloo ghobi during this time and, if it’s sticking to the pan, add a touch more water. Just before serving, squish the juice of half a lemon over the aloo ghobi and mix well, making sure you don’t crush the contents.

3. Tear into this recipe armed only with fresh flatbread.

3. Black bean tacos

From food blogger Margie Broadhead, madebymargie.co.uk

These are seriously easy to make, and are seriously delicious.

I would recommend buying cooked black beans in the can as this whole dish can be whipped up in a minutes. You can of course use the dried ones but you will need to soak them over night and cook them for about 50 minutes until meltingly tender.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 cans cooked black beans
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ lemon juice
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 large handful of cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • soy crème fraiche
  • handful of coriander
  • 12 mini tortilla wraps

Method:

1. Drain your beans and pop them into a pan, add a generous drizzle of olive oil and 1 crushed clove of garlic.

2. Peel and mash the avocado using a fork and squeeze on the lemon juice and 1 clove of crushed garlic, pop into a bowl, season and set aside.

3. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half and mix with the diced red onion and a handful of chopped coriander and a pinch of salt. This can also be put into a bowl and set aside.

4. To serve spread your guacamole onto a tortilla wrap, layer up with the tomato salsa, a pile of black beans and a dollop of soy crème fraiche and dig in.

- If you don’t fancy the wrap, these can also be loaded into gem lettuce hearts. Totally guilt free and surprisingly filling because of all the bean protein.

4. Mixed Sabzi

From Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs (Headline £12), Urban Rajah and Indunil Sanchi will be hosting the Great Indian Food Feast at the BITE Food Festival in the Cotswolds from 1 to 9 February - bitefoodfestival.com, urbanrajah.com, cotswoldhouse.com

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into batons
  • 200g green beans, chopped into 2cm lengths
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 peppers, whatever colour you prefer, chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 100g tomato purée
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 150ml water
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
  • squeeze of fresh lemon

Method:

1. Steam the carrots, beans, potatoes and peppers for 6 minutes until the vegetables have become al dente. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium temperature and fry the cumin seeds until they splutter. Now drop in the onions, chilli, turmeric powder, ginger and garlic paste, and sauté until the onions become opaque. Add the tomatoes and purée, garam masala, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, sugar and salt, and stir well. Add 100ml water, turn the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes until the consistency has thickened. Now introduce the vegetables to the pan, add the remaining water and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes have softened, the sauce is clinging to the sabzi and the oil has risen to the surface of the vegetables.

2. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and squish a lemon over this dish just before serving.

5. Soya bean and chickpea falafel wraps

From food blogger Margie Broadhead, madebymargie.co.uk

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 400g frozen soya beans
  • 400g canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon harissa
  • 1 bunch coriander
  • 1 tbsp of flour
  • 1 tbsp garam masala

Method:

1. First, cook the soya beans in boiling water until lovely and tender, drain and pop into a food processor. Add the chickpeas and the remaining ingredients. Blitz until smooth, but stop before it resembles houmous.

2. Now shape into 12 roughly equal sized balls. Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook falafel until the are gorgeously golden and crispy.

3. To serve:

  • 1 red onion, sliced and marinated in 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar for 10 mins
  • 4 pickled beetroot, sliced
  • 1 avocado chopped and marinated with lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove and salt and pepper
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Soy sour cream
  • 4 tortilla wraps

Layer the tortilla wraps up with all the goodies and wait for the ooh and aahs to erupt from your guests.

6. Ladies’ Fingers

From Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs (Headline £12), Urban Rajah and Indunil Sanchi will be hosting the Great Indian Food Feast at the BITE Food Festival in the Cotswolds from 1 to 9 February - bitefoodfestival.com, urbanrajah.com, cotswoldhouse.com

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 7.5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
  • 400g okra, washed, dried, topped and tailed
  • 2 fat tomatoes, chopped, retaining seeds and skin
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

1. This spiced okra is so straightforward it’s laughable. Over a medium heat, warm the oil and then pop in the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the cumin seeds for a minute, then slide in the onions and garlic. Let the onions soften until opaque, then drop in the chillies and ground coriander, and stir for a couple of minutes, coating everything with everything. Now add the ginger and push around the pan vigorously. The aroma will assault you, and when it does, it’s time to introduce the okra. Like ladies’ fingers, they’re delicate and need to be treated with care. So gently push them around the pan for around 2 minutes until they turn a deeper shade of green, then add the tomatoes for sharpness, season with salt and pepper and cook over a high heat for a further 5–6 minutes. The bhindi should feel on the verge of al dente, but not stringy.

2. Tuck in with a Chapatti or two.

7. Tofu popcorn

From food blogger Margie Broadhead, madebymargie.co.uk

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 396g tofu, I used a pack of Cauldron Original Tofu
  • 40g cornflour
  • 40g polenta
  • 1 tsp of dried herbs
  • generous sprinkle of salt
  • pepper

Method:

1. Press tofu for about 10 minutes. Drain tofu, wrap in paper towels or clean tea towel, and place heavy items on top to press. I use a couple of heavy chopping boards with some tins on top. Mix your polenta, cornflour, herbs and spices, salt and pepper in a bowl.

2. Break or cut your tofu into chunks and pop them into the polenta mix - make sure they are coated all over.

3. Heat some oil in a saucepan and when sizzling carefully put your chunks in and fry until lovely and golden – about 6-8 mins.

4. Remove from the pan and serve with a little bowl of soy sauce with sliced spring onion and sprinkle of sesame seeds or serve with a side salad and sweet chilli sauce.

8. Bayside Baingan

From Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs (Headline £12), Urban Rajah and Indunil Sanchi will be hosting the Great Indian Food Feast at the BITE Food Festival in the Cotswolds from 1 to 9 February - bitefoodfestival.com, urbanrajah.com, cotswoldhouse.com

Ingredients (serves 2 as a main):

  • 2 fat aubergines
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 250ml chopped tinned tomatoes
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Panch puran
  • half a lemon

Method:

1. First dice the aubergines. Fry the onion in the oil in a largish pan on a low to medium heat until soft and brown. Add the aubergines and cook until they’re soft and have yielded a little moisture.

2. With the back of a cooking spoon (I use a wooden one), crush these little baingan cubes until they’ve splayed out a little. Now add the turmeric, chilli powder, tomatoes, salt, sugar (and panch puran, if using).

3. Mix it up thoroughly. After 15 minutes, the edges of the pan should be sizzling a little with the activity of the ingredients and starting to crackle.

4. Keep stirring, and taste a little, seasoning further if required. Just before serving, add the juice of half a lemon.

9. Saag Aloo

From Urban Rajah’s Curry Memoirs (Headline £12), Urban Rajah and Indunil Sanchi will be hosting the Great Indian Food Feast at the BITE Food Festival in the Cotswolds from 1 to 9 February - bitefoodfestival.com, urbanrajah.com, cotswoldhouse.com

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 4cm fresh root ginger, peeled
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 50ml water
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-sized chunks
  • 240g tinned spinach with its juices
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • salt

Method:

1. Using a frying pan, heat the oil to a medium temperature and fry the cumin seeds until they start sizzling, then add the onion, cooking until translucent. Pop in the garlic and chillies and grate in the ginger. Don’t let the ingredients stick to the pan. As soon as it starts to brown, introduce the ground cumin and coriander. Stir and cover everything with the powdered spices – the ingredients will dry up a little so add the water and potatoes, cooking for 3–4 minutes until they become opaque.

2. Now the hard part … add the tinned spinach and all its juices. Stir regularly and lower the heat, cooking for 10–12 minutes until the potatoes have started to crumble around the edges or you can pierce a chunk with a fork. Spoon in the garam masala and salt to taste, mix thoroughly and simmer for a couple more minutes. The potatoes should be crumbly, yellow and peeping through the dark green mere.

10. Avocado and radish crispbreads

From food blogger Margie Broadhead, madebymargie.co.uk

This is barely a recipe, but it is an absolutely delicious afternoon snack that I wanted to share with you.

Spread some vegan mayonnaise onto a crispbread (or a piece of toast), and layer on half an avocado. Top with a few thiny sliced radishes and sprinkle with sea salt.

You won’t believe how good these are!

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