Indian Vegetarian Dish


Yellow Dal is comfort food at its best, it is a simple dish but a staple in most Indian homes. Growing up my mum always cooked us Yellow Dal with Rice and it something we devoured. I’m so glad I’ve introduced this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe to my kids. On our meat-free days my boys are content with a bowl of steaming rice and dal.

The yellow split peas is boiled until it’s soft and it is then cooked with a variety of spices. The tempering of the spices is what takes the dal to a whole new level. My favourite way to serve this dish is with rice but you can have it with your favourite bread too.

Everyone has their own method of cooking this dish. I remember my mum spending hours tempering her spices and creating a delicious mix to add to her dal. I must admit I am a lazy cook, for me it’s the easy way out as long as my food still tastes delicious without the added effort I am happy. It is about the flavour after all, right?

We call it yellow dal due to the fact that turmeric is added to it, this is what gives this Yellow Split Pea Dal Recipe a beautiful golden hue. I find my dried beans and peas takes much longer to boil in Johannesburg, due to the high altitude. If you didn’t know this “low air pressure causes boiling water to evaporate more quickly in high altitude”, now you should understand why our dried beans and peas take longer to cook. It’s why I have invested in a pressure cooker, makes life so much more simple.

This recipe makes a great dish for vegetarians and you can make it ahead and freeze. My fussy family will never eat food that’s pre-cooked and frozen but I have frozen cooked dal in the past, heated and served it to them. They didn’t know the difference. My hubby even went to the extent of complimenting me on how delicious the dal was, or should I say “leftover dal”. I hope you get to make a fresh pot of dal and enjoy!

You may want to try some of my other vegetarian recipes from my blog too, here’s the links below: https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/dhall/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/sauteed-okra-lady-fingers/

My friend Sonila makes a delicious Yellow Split Pea Soup, so if you want to try something different check her recipe out at:

https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com/instant-pot-yellow-split-peas-soup-with-spinach/

https://mediterraneanlatinloveaffair.com/instant-pot-yellow-split-peas-soup-with-spinach


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Yellow Split Pea Dhall Recipe
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Instructions
  1. Soak dhall overight or for a few hours. Add the 3 cups of water with the turmeric and boil on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker until it's soft and smooth
  2. Heat butter ghee or oil and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Once it starts bursting add spring onion (optional) curry leaf, chilli and onion and sauté until onion is translucent
  3. Add garlic and fry for a minute
  4. Add the tomato and cook on a low heat until the tomato is cooked
  5. Add the cooked dhall and season with salt, Add more water and bring to a boil, allow it to simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes. Water can be added according to your preference, if you prefer a thick dhall add less water, if you prefer it more liquid then add less water.
  6. Garnish with coriander
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South African Indian Dish

I have no time to try out new recipes so I am sticking to my old time favorites, at least until we move. Nothing beats the comfort of familiar homecooked food when stress levels are high. So if you need some comfort food why not try this Spicy Lamb Kebab Chutney, a typically South African Indian version of meatballs.

The tomato sauce or chutney for this sauce is made from tomatoes with a few simple spices and can be used as a base for many other dishes too. You will see from the recipe that the kebabs are spicy so you don’t need an overly spiced chutney. Feel free to reduce to the amount of chilli and chilli powder according to your preference.

Spicy Lamb Kebab Chutney is also a great make ahead dish. It freezes well so you can cook a big batch and freeze them for those lazy days or if you need a meal in a hurry.In our home we usually serve this lamb dish with Roti or naan bread, you always have to have that bread to dunk into the tomato chutney.

The lamb kebabs can be shallow fried or cooked in the oven but be sure not to overcook them. It just needs a few minutes of cooking on each side, they need to be tender and succulent.My food processor is one of my most loved gadgets in the kitchen, makes life really easy. I used mine to blend the ingredients for the kebabs, I didn’t make mine into a fine paste. I prefer my onion and herbs a little chunky but you can make yours into a smooth paste, especially if you don’t really like tasting the onion

Please do try my recipe and I would love to hear your comments.

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Spicy Lamb Kebab Chutney
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Lamb Kebabs
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Lamb Kebabs
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Instructions
  1. To make the lamb kebabs add one onion, 2 green chillies, ginger/garlic paste, kashmiri chilli powder, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, salt, mint and coriander leaves to a food processor and process until it resembles a rough paste or smooth if your prefer
  2. Chop up the spring onion and add to this mixture. Add mince and egg and mix it well
  3. Divide the mixture into equal sized balls and side aside
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons oil and fry the lamb kebabs and set aside. Be careful not to overcook them.
  5. For the Chutney Heat 2 tablespoons oil and add the onion, chilli and curry leaf
  6. Saute the onion until it's translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute
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Flavourful One-Pot Indian Dish

I guess the next few weeks you will hear my moans about home renovations. I didn’t fully understand the stress that truly goes with it until now. Despite all my running around and making sure we have a smooth transition into our new home I still have to find the time to cook. Curries are truly a life-saver during stressful times, it’s a one-pot dish and can be made ahead. It’s why I thought this Spicy Lamb Rogan Josh with a crunchy carrot salad will work well with my busy schedule.

Living with my neighbours so close by I am sure they must get that aroma of curry at 10am in the morning. They are either cursing me for making them breath in the lingering curry smell or just because they can’t have some. At least I don’t cook a curry everyday or every morning so neighbours please bare with me until the craziness is over. I love sharing though so if my neighbours do stop by, I really don’t mind sharing my Spicy Lamb Rogan Josh.

Indians are great at sharing, nobody leaves our home without eating something or taking a doggy bag home. It’s a trait I have from my parents and I love it. I do hope my kids can still carry that love of sharing in their adult lives. Although my 10year is quite adamant he will not share his food with anybody…….let’s hope that changes.

Rogan Josh uses similar spices to what we use in our Durban Lamb Curry, it is cooked a little differently but both are equally delicious. https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/durban-lamb-curry/

This recipe makes an aromatic dish with succulent lamb as it’s simmered on a low heat for a long time, this also helps develop the depth of flavour. I know lamb has enough fat content but I did trim off all the excess fat from the leg of lamb pieces that I used. I used ghee and a bit of fresh cream for that added richness. It was mainly for the kids, my 10 year old will probably have it for every meal until the pot is empty, he loves any lamb curry that much, so I did splurge a little. I have noticed that the chefs at authentic Indian Restaurants use loads of onion in their dishes so for this one I added a lot more than I usually do.

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Spicy Lamb Rogan Josh
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MAIN COURSES LAMB
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MAIN COURSES LAMB
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Instructions
  1. Roast the cumin, coriander, cinnamon stick, elachie, star aniseed, cloves until fragrant. Remove from heat, cool and grind into a fine powder
  2. Heat the butter ghee and saute onion and curry leaf.
  3. Once onion is translucent add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for a minute
  4. Add the cubes of lamb and mix in the ground spices. Add the masala and chilli powder. Mix it all well and saute for a minute or two.
  5. Add the tomato paste and yogurt. Season with salt. Add a pinch of sugar if the tomato paste is too acidic. If you feel the lamb is drying up too quickly you can add about a 1/4 cup of water or slightly more if required.
  6. Turn the heat down to a low settiing and allow curry to simmer for at least 40 minutes. The lamb should be tender and succulent. Add the garam masala
  7. Add fresh cream if you wish and serve hot
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Cooked the South African way with the addition of Coconut Cream.

Green Bean Curry has always been a popular dish in our home, except that we never cooked it with any sort of cream or milk. This Green Bean Curry with Coconut Cream is a first for me but it was amazing. I have seen recipes for Green Bean curry with coconut milk, cooked the Sri Lankan way. I thought let me follow my usual recipe and just add coconut milk to it and see what it tastes like but only to discover I had no coconut milk. I settled for coconut cream instead.

Surprisingly this Green Bean Curry with Coconut Cream tasted divine, I was a bit sceptical about what it would taste like but I loved it. Will definitely be cooking this dish again. We do cut up our green bean a little differently when using it in a curry, it is sliced thinly and sort of diagonally, I think the reason for this was for quick cooking time. Not sure if there’s another reason but it’s how my mum did it and it works well.

If you want an even more simple green bean recipe then maybe you should try this fried green bean recipe https://itsallaboutthekitchen.coif .za/recipe/fried-green-beans/

You can serve this Green Bean curry with some Basmati rice or roti. I personally prefer it with roti, almost all veggie curries taste delicious with roti. I haven’t yet posted a roti recipe but you can check out my tips on getting perfect rotis https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/roti-making/

Will definitely try and share a recipe soon. The South African way of making roti is definitely not the same as it’s made in India but it’s what we are used to, soft, buttery rotis.

Please do try this recipe. You are most welcome to mail me at any time if you need help with my recipes. I love sharing and I always love to help. It’s great when I hear from people that have tried something that I’ve posted, makes my blogging journey worth it.

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Green Bean Curry with Coconut Milk
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil, add onion, fenugreek seeds, curry leaf and chilli
  2. When onion is translucent add garlic and fry for minute
  3. Add masala,, chilli powder and turmeric. Add a few drops of water and fry for a minute
  4. Add the sliced green beans and season with salt. Simmer on low heat until green beans is cooked
  5. Add the coconut cream and cook until it's heated through. Serve hot
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I have fond memories of this dish growing up, Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin. You must wonder why the name Yellow Potato, well that name comes from the addition of turmeric that turns the potato into a beautiful hue of yellow.

My mum often made us sandwiches topped with this curry and a spread of grated mango pickle/atchar on top. It was the most delicious thing ever. I didn’t think my sandwiches were anything to rave about when I was at school. However, I had a friend that thought I had the most scrumptious food in my lunchbox and couldn’t wait for me to share my mum’s delicious sandwiches with her. Who would have thought sandwiches made with Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin would be such a hit.

Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and has great health benefits, it’s why I love using turmeric in my cooking. The added bonus is that this dish is vegan and the addition of mint adds a new spin to the classic recipe. Mint may not always seem like the perfect herb to pair with potatoes but the flavour is amazing.

The best way to eat this dish is with freshly baked bread. Although my family prefers rice or roti. Do try it with some bread and let me know what you think, it may be an overload of carbs but it’s worth it. If you have some pickle/atchar in your cupboard even better, nothing beats the cumin potatoes with that hint of tanginess.

It’s not even suppertime and I’m already salivating. The best food is made with simple ingredients, it’s why I’m not into gourmet food, takes too much effort with way too many ingredients. I don’t have the time nor the patience for that. I will leave that to the experts. Well if you looking for a quick dinner then this is your recipe. You may also want to try some of my other great potato recipes.

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/old-fashioned-potato-salad/

https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/indian-inspired-fried-potatoes/


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Yellow Potato Curry with Cumin
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil and add cumin seeds
  2. Once the cumin seeds start to burst add the onion, curry leaf and chillies
  3. When the onion is transluscent add the potatoes and turmeric. Season with salt
  4. Saute the potatoes for a minute. Add half cup of water and simmer on a low temperature until potatoes are soft and tender. During the cooking process you can add a little more water if it dries out before the potatoes are cooked
  5. Mix in the mint leaves and serve hot
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I did post another version of my Vegetable Breyani or Biryani previously. However, this South African Vegetable Biryani is a long winded version and I would say more delicious. It is worth all the effort you put into it though.

This flavour-packed rice dish is an absolute favourite amongst vegetarians and goes down a treat even with meat-eaters. I call this South African Vegetable Biryani my “wedding version” as it tastes just like the one that was served at Indian weddings.  Especially if it’s accompanied by Dhall, you can double the recipe here, and a crunchy carrot salad. In South Africa Vegetable Biryani is typically served with dhall, do try it and you will thank me.

My list of spices may seem like a lot but it is these long list of spices that brings this delectable recipe together. South African Vegetable Biryani is a bold and flavorful dish. If it’s too spicy for you then you can always cool it down with some yogurt or raita. Lots of different vegetable can be used to create this dish but I prefer to use firm vegetable. There’s nothing worse than a mushy biryani. You have to be careful not to overcook your rice too.

Cooking the Biryani in the oven for an hour definitely keeps the grains whole and separated. I find that I am more in control of my cooking when it’s cooked in the oven. Biryani can easily scorch on the stovetop, if you not careful and it can be easily overcooked too. Rice is usually half-cooked before being added to the spiced veggies and you can add some turmeric or a little sprinkling of egg-yellow food colouring for the yellow colour. I love the addition of potatoes and you can steam and fry your potatoes. This method keeps the potatoes whole and speeds up the cooking process.


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South African Vegetable Biryani

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Keyword Biryani
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Instructions
  1. Cook the rice together with the elachie, cinnamon stick, some salt and turmeric (only if you not using food colouring) and set aside. If you are using food colouring sprinkle some over the rice but do not mix yet.

  2. Steam potatoes for a few minutes until almost cooked, season with some salt and shallow fry. Set aside

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable or light olive oil. Add the cumin seeds and once it starts to burst add the cinnamon stick, black cardamom, star aniseed. Once fragrant add the bay leaf and onion together with the thyme and curry leaf

  4. Once onion is translucent add the ginger/garlic paste and fry for a minute

  5. Add the ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, soomph, chilli powder and masala. Add a few drops of water and cook for a couple of minutes

  6. Add the vegetable, mix well. Season with salt. Cover and cook on medium heat. After 5 minutes add the mint and tomatoes. If your vegetable is drying up too quickly add some water and lower the temperature until the vegetable is cooked and tender.

  7. Add the rice and potatoes to the veggies. Mix it all together. Add a cup and a half of water. Scatter the cubes of butter over the rice and cook in the oven at 180 degrees celcius for 1 to 1&1/2 hours.


Recipe Notes

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For the vegetable, you can steam it for a few minutes until it's tender or you can cook it from scratch with the spices. I did steam my vegetable before adding to my spices. When adding the food colouring to the rice let is stand for a few minutes before using a fork to mix the colouring into the rice, this way it you will create little specks of colour in the rice. Do not substitute the butter with margarine, the flavour will definitely not be the same.


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Mince Curry with Potatoes was often cooked by my mum when I still lived at home, all of my mums lamb dishes were out of this world, delicious. My kids always rave about her cooking and insist that I cook lamb dishes exactly like “Ma”.

Most South African curries are cooked in a similar way to this Mince Curry with Potatoes, my Durban Lamb Curry is one of them. Although most curries are cooked the same way it’s always about getting the balance of spices right to make an amazing curry. I sometimes mix my own masala but I find a store bought one is so much more convenient, especially if you don’t have all the spices to go into making your own masala. . I must also admit living in Johannesburg is not the same as Durban where you have a spice shop around every corner and sometimes it is a challenge when you run out of spices. However, even store bought masala can ruin your curry if it’s not a great tasting masala. Over the years I’ve tried many different brands and although I try and stick to the one’s I love, I’ve had my fair share of disappointments with this too. So you will find that you may need to change your brand from time to time, I wish store bought masala recipes could be consistent but trust me they never are.

I try and stick to a medium strength masala as I find the extremely hot ones really does ruin the flavours in a curry, I love hot but not so hot that all you can taste is chilli. It’s not that difficult to make your own masala but it is time consuming as I do love roasting and grinding my own fresh spices. I will soon post a recipe for my very own masala.  I use Kashmiri Chilli Powder more for the bright colour it adds to my curries, it’s a South African thing, your curry has to look the right colour.  Anything but a bright red colour is unacceptable by South African Indian standards.

This Mince Curry with Potatoes is spicy, with just the right amount of heat, and mouthwatering. My favourite way to eat it is with fresh, crusty bread and sambals. You can also have an Indian version of a sloppy joe using this cooked mince.

 

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Mince Curry with Potatoes
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a flat pot on medium heat and add cinnamon, bay leaf, star aniseed and black cardamom.
  2. Once it becomes fragrant add curry leaf and onion and sauté until onion is translucent.
  3. Add ginger/garlic paste and sauté for a minute. Add chilli powder, masala, turmeric, fennel, garam masala and cook until it forms a paste, about 2 minutes. Add a few drops of water to prevent scorching.
  4. Add mince meat and potatoes and mix well. Season with salt. Turn the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes
  5. Add grated tomatoes and allow it to simmer until potatoes are soft. During the cooking time you can add a 1/4 cup of water or a little more if you feel the curry is drying out. I don’t usually require too much water.
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Finally, my day is looking brighter after a not so great start this morning.  But I’m going to let bygones be bygones and not talk about my “eventful” morning as I don’t want to jinx my bright and sunny afternoon.

It’s a beautiful sunny, perfect beach kinda day in Johannesburg today. But we not so lucky, there is no beach in this city of gold, we can dream right?  Not really a day for curry, not that it matters much to me  as I can eat curry any day. I must admit I didn’t really plan a menu for today and just whipped a dish with veggies I had in my refrigerator .I rarely mix my veggies unless it is a Veg Breyani, with my picky eaters I think one veggie at a time is enough for they eye.

This is a simple, healthy curry dish. You can add all in one pot and let it simmer away, absolutely no fuss. If you want a richer, creamier curry you can add some cream to it.  I added a little extra masala and chilli powder as I like a bit of heat to my curries but please feel free to tone it down if you prefer a milder curry. I also tried to keep it simple, veg curries are normally uncomplicated in terms of spices and I prefer it this way.  You can use any veggie you prefer, I used carrots, green beans, barlotti beans and my favourite, potatoes. I prefer veggies with a bit of crunch, rather than ones that can get mushy quite quickly.

Can be served with rice or roti.

 

 

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Mixed Veg Curry
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Instructions
  1. Chop up vegetable and set aside.
  2. Heat oil, add cumin seeds. Once seeds start to burst add curry leaf and onion and fry until onion is slightly brown.
  3. Add ginger/garlic paste and fry for a mijnute
  4. Add turmeric, chilli powder and masala. Fry for a minute, add a few drops of water if required. Add tomatoes and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes
  5. Add vegetable, season with salt and cover and simmer on low heat. After 5 minutes add about a cup of water, you may not need a whole cup if you are using veggies that cook quickly. Also consider the potatoes you are using as some cook much softer and faster than others and in this instance may also use less water. You don't want a watery curry, you can always add more water halfway through cooking if required.,
  6. Once vegetable is tender and cooked, add garam masala
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Firstly, I’m not even sure what’s the correct word for this dish anymore, far too confusing for my brain. Pilaf or Pulao is supposed to be a dish with a touch of spice and the rice and curry is mixed together and then cooked. Breyani or Biryani on the other hand is supposed to be a layered dish, a little more spicy than a Pilaf. Even for an Indian this can be much too confusing at times. I love food and I love reading all of the history behind some dishes but at the end of the day if something tastes great, quite frankly does it really matter if it’s a Breyani or a Pilaf.

I tried to keep this dish as simple as I could, it can be a tedious task but so worth it so you really don’t mind putting in a bit of effort. It is great to marinate your chicken overnight but if you don’t have the time to prep in advance it’s perfectly ok not to. I decided to make this on the  spur of the moment so I didn’t have time to prep in advance but it still tasted divine. It is a beautiful piquant dish and so worth the effort put into making it.

I used a cup and a half of rice but you an always increase the quantity to two cups. I also used about 80 grams of butter but you can easily leave out the butter or add less butter. If you not eating Pilaf everyday you can indulge in a little extra butter. It’s also best to roast your spices and grind them yourself, nothing beats freshly ground spices, the aroma is nothing compared to a store bought one.

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Chicken Pilaf/Pulao
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Instructions
  1. Wash rice, season with salt and cook until it's half done. Sprinkle a little food colouring in, cover and set aside. Do not mix in the food colouring immediately. After a few minutes it will give the rice a few different tones, when mixed.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 deg celcius. Boil your potatoes until half cooked, season and shallow fry them, set aside
  3. Heat oil on low heat, add the 2 pieces of cinnamon stick, elachie, star aniseed and bay leaf. Fry until fragrant and add onion, curry leaf, chilli and thyme. Sauté the onion until it is a little brown
  4. Add the ginger/garlic paste. Fry for a minute. Add the chilli powder, masala, ground coriander, cumin, soomph, turmeric, ground cardamom and garam masala. Add a few drops water and fry for a minute, then add the yogurt, mix well
  5. Add the chicken and the mint. Season with salt. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes
  6. Mix the curry, potato and rice together. Place the cubes of butter on top of the rice. Sprinkle a cup of water over the rice and cook in the oven for an hour. You can leave it in for a short while longer if it's not fully cooked and add a few extra drops of water, if required. Once cooked garnish with coriander.
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The only bean I ate whilst growing up was the red speckled beans, I hated anything else in a bean form. My mum cooked these beautiful pink beans and it was called Gadra beans, I have no idea where the name comes from but I discovered on Google that the real name for these white beans with pink hues is Borlotti beans. I remember when I still lived at home going to the market on a Saturday was a real treat, my mum and dad used to visit the Verulam market which is in Kwazulu Natal, where I was raised. They bought the freshest vegetables and although it was cheap, Indians had to always bargain with the farmers. Some still do. I wish I had that trait but I don’t, I’m better at giving away things for free and I suck at bargaining so I won’t even try.

Barlotti beans is not so easily found in the supermarkets in Johannesburg, however Food Lover’s Market and Checkers Hyper do stock loads of vegetables that are consumed by the Indian population. I get really excited when I see the vegetables I grew up eating, I didn’t love these beans but now it has become a firm favourite on my meat free days.

In South Africa there are literally hundreds of variations to cooking any one dish. My mum cooked this dish totally differently to the way my mum-in-law cooks it. My mum created a dish, almost like a dry curry and my mum-in-law cooks it like any other bean curry with potatoes and lots of gravy. I prefer my mum-in-laws method as I get to add my most loved veggie to it, potatoes. Once cooked the beans have a creamy texture and a nutty flavour. It is a good source of protein and can be served with roti or rice.

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Gadra (Borlotti) Bean Curry
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Instructions
  1. Heat ghee on a medium heat and add cinnamon stick and star aniseed. Once fragrant add bay leaf, onion and curry leaf. Saute until onion is slightly brown
  2. Then add the ginger/garlic paste. Fry for a minute and then add all the spices and fry for a further minute. Add a few drops of water if required.
  3. Add the beans, season with salt and mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until all the moisture dries out
  4. Add half cup of water. Cover and cook until beans are soft. You can add a little more water during cooking time if it dries out
  5. Add the potatoes and cook for a few minutes. Add another half cup of water, cover and cook on a low heat. Please note the amount of water required depends on how much gravy you want and also depends on how fast or how soft your potatoes cook. Some potatoes cook really quickly and therefore you have to ensure your beans are soft before adding in the potatoes and be careful not to add too much water. If your potatoes are a more firm and takes longer to cook you may require more water as the longer the cooking time the more the gravy will reduce.
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