Hearty Lentil Stew

Lentils are probably that one ingredient almost all of us have in our pantry. They’re not the most attractive looking, but make for a great alternative for meat and are wholesome, nutritious and delicious. 

It’s likely you have all the ingredients on hand for this accidentally vegan recipe. They’re staples in my house – so this hearty stew can be whipped up on a whim. The seasonings here are simple – garlic, herbs, a little cumin and cinnamon, which makes this dish both warm and earthy.

I like to serve it with a slice of sourdough (because I can eat literally anything with sourdough), but you can serve it with rice if you prefer.  And I garnish this hot mess with a generous sprinkle of parmesan or grana padano.

What you will need – (4 large servings)
  1. Red lentils (masoor) – 1 cup (par boiled, 1 whistle in the pressure cooker)
  2. Onion – 1 large (finely chopped)
  3. Carrots – 1 cup, cut into large chunks
  4. Potatoes – 1 cup (cut into large chunks)
  5. Tomato sauce – 1/2 cup (sub with 4 large diced tomatoes)
  6. Garlic – 5-6 cloves (finely chopped)
  7. Veggies – 1 cup
    (add any veg of your choice – mushrooms, zucchini, green beans, broccoli; I had frozen peppers and peas on hand. )
  8. Thyme – few sprigs
    (sub with dried thyme, oregano, rosemary or marjoram; perfect opportunity to use up those pizza seasoning packets you’ve been hoarding)
  9. Smoked Paprika – 2 tsp (sub with 1 tsp red chilli powder and 1 tsp cumin powder)
  10. Cinnamon – 1 tsp (can also use 1 inch stick of whole cinnamon)
  11. Pepper – 1 tsp
  12. Salt – to taste
  13. Olive oil/ghee – 2 tbsp 
  14. Vegetable stock – 3 cups (sub with chicken stock or filtered water)
  15. Red pepper flakes – for garnish (optional)
  16. Parmesan or other hard cheese – 1/4 cup for garnish (optional)
Method –
  1. Par boil or pressure cook lentils with 2 cups water for 1 whistle.
  2. Meanwhile, chop and prep your veggies.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions. Sauté till onions are translucent.
  4. Stir in carrots, potatoes, tomato sauce, salt and spices. Sauté for 2 mins.
    (If you are using fresh tomatoes, add tomatoes, salt and spices before the carrots and potatoes and let them reduce a little bit, about 5-6 mins)
  5. Add partly cooked lentils to the skillet and add vegetable stock and herbs. (In the absence of stock, add leftover water from boiled lentils and/or plain drinking water)
  6. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and let it cook covered for 30-40 mins, stirring every once in a while.
  7. Add veggies and cook for another 7 mins. (I like my veggies to have a little bite. If you prefer them fully cooked, add them a little earlier.)
  8. Adjust seasoning if required. Garnish with fresh herbs, a little drizzle of coconut milk or grated parmesan.
  9. Serve as is or with a side of toasted bread/rice/quinoa.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture and tag it #theslowkitchen on Instagram so I can see!

Vegan Chocolate chip muffins

Baking is my therapeutic answer to all boredom and anxiety related troubles. If this lockdown is making your kids restless, this is a great activity to get them involved in. This simple recipe requires only a few ingredients and is ready in under 30 mins.

These are made with oat flour and are gluten-free. Peanut butter is the only fat in this recipe and is easily replaceable with coconut or sunflower oil. These delicious muffins are great for breakfast or for an afternoon snack.

What you will need –
  1. Ripe bananas – 3 (or 4 if they’re small)
  2. Vegan egg (1 tbsp flaxseed powder mixed with 2.5 tbsp water)
  3. Coconut/brown sugar – 1/2 cup 
  4. Peanut butter – 1/2 cup
  5. Plant milk (almond or oat) – 1/4 cup
  6. Vanilla extract – 1 tsp 
  7. Oat flour – 1 3/4 cups
  8. Baking soda – 1 tsp 
  9. Baking powder – 1 tsp 
  10. Salt – 1/4 tsp 
  11. 1 cup dark/semi-sweet chocolate chips
Method –
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Make vegan egg by mixing ground flaxseed and water. Set aside to thicken for 5 mins.
  • Meanwhile, mash bananas in a large bowl.
  • Add peanut butter, flax-egg, sugar, plant milk and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  • Sieve oat flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl.
  • Add dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients a little at a time. Whisk till fully incorporated.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips. (or try dried cranberries/raisins/fresh blueberries for a fun variation)
  • Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, divide and add batter to each and bake at 180°C for 25 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture and tag it #theslowkitchen on Instagram so I can see!

Shakshouka

Remember this Granola? Remember how I said I don’t enjoy savoury breakfast? Shakshouka is an exception to that statement. Though I usually eat this for lunch, traditionally it’s a breakfast recipe popular all across North Africa and the Middle East.

The only way I enjoy an egg is when the yolk is runny. Boiled eggs with dry grey yolks is the stuff my nightmares are made of. Sunny side up, poached or soft boiled are my limited egg consumption options.

Image by Sara Dubler on Unsplash

This delectable egg recipe is one of my favourites. Addition of a spoonful of Harissa takes it up (many) a notch. If you’re using Harissa, skip the coriander powder, red chilli powder and vinegar.

What you will need –
  1. 6 large eggs
  2. Fresh ripe tomatoes – 5, medium sized, finely chopped
  3. Tomato paste – 3 tbsp (you can also use a packaged version)
  4. Red bell peppers – 2, finely chopped
  5. Olive oil – 3 tbsp
  6. Garlic – 4-5 large cloves, chopped or minced
  7. Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  8. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  9. Smoked paprika – 2 tsp
  10. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  11. Vinegar – 1 tsp (can be substituted with lemon juice)
  12. Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
  13. Salt – to taste
  14. Fresh coriander and red chilli flakes for garnishing (optional but highly recommended)
Method –
  • Heat the oil in a large pan. Add in the tomato paste, peppers, spices, and garlic.
  • Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are softened. 
  • Add in chopped tomatoes, lower the flame and cover with a lid.
  • Stir occasionally, cook for 10 more minutes, until you get a thick sauce. Now add vinegar and combine.
  • Using the back of a spoon, make 6 wells in the sauce. Gently drop an egg into each well.
  • Cover and cook on very low flame for 7-10 minutes, until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny. 
  • Top with garnishes and serve with toasted bread or pita

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture and tag it #theslowkitchen on Instagram so I can see!

Dark chocolate dessert hummus

Dessert Hummus, just like the original, is easy to make in the food processor, rich, silky smooth, and tantalisingly dunk-able. It’s a satiating sweet snack made with whole foods, filled with protein and fibre.⁣ Especially easy and simple to whip up when entertaining a large crowd. ⠀

What you will need –
  1. Cooked chickpeas – 1 1/2 cups (drained)
  2. Tahini – 1/4 cup (try peanut butter for a fun variation)
  3. Honey or maple syrup – 1/4 cup 
  4. Cocoa powder – 1/2 cup  (unsweetened)
  5. Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  6. Salt – 1/4 tsp
  7. Chickpea water – 2-4 tbsp (can also use plain water)
Method –
  • Add chickpeas, tahini, honey or maple syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and 2 tbsp water to a food processor.
  • Blitz to make a paste. Be sure to scrape down the sides of your container to achieve a uniform creamy consistency. Add extra water if required.
  • Taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking.
  • Serve alongside fresh or dried fruit, cheese, homemade crackers or bread.

Store in an airtight container refrigerated for 7 to 10 days.


If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram and use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Baked Falafels

Looking for a straightforward, easy to execute recipe for falafels?

This 7 ingredient, no-deep-frying, flavoursome recipe is just what you might be looking for.

These savoury, garlicky, crusty on the outside, tender on the inside baked falafels are simple and extremely satisfying.

What you will need –
  1. Boiled/canned Chickpeas – 425-450 gms (drained)
  2. Fresh Coriander – 1/2 cup (Chopped)
  3. Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  4. Garlic – 3-4 cloves
  5. Lemon juice – 2 tbsp
  6. Oat flour – 3-4 tbsp
  7. Salt and Pepper
  8. Olive oil for brushing/pan frying
Toppings, accompaniments and sauces (optional)
  • Hummus
  • Yogurt & tahina dip
  • Tomato
  • Pickled vegetables – beetroot, carrots, onions
  • Lettuce, spinach or other leafy greens of your choice
  • Whole wheat Pita or chapatis 
Method –
  • Add coriander, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper to a food processor and mix to combine.
  • Add chickpeas and pulse to incorporate but leave it slightly chunky. Texture is key.
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl and add oat flour to make a loose, soft dough.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
  • Divide the dough to form 10-12 equal sized patties, about 1 inch thick.
    (Roll into balls using wet hands and then flatten to make coins.)
  • Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and put in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
  • Preheat oven to 180 °C. Brush with olive oil and bake patties for a total of 30-40 minutes, flipping once after 15 mins.
    (You can also pan fry these patties for 5-6 mins or till golden brown on each side using 2tbsp of olive oil. )
  • Serve warm wrapped in a pita or chapatis and desired sauces / toppings. You can also serve them with a salad and use yogurt-tahina sauce as dressing.
Storage notes :

These patties can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for about 4 days and frozen for up to a month.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture and tag it #theslowkitchen on Instagram so I can see!

Homemade Tomato Paste

If you’ve been wondering how you’ll get through self isolation with your close to none cooking skills or you’re just looking to minimise your time in the kitchen, here’s one tomato paste you can make, freeze and use for an array of recipes.

2 kilograms of fresh tomatoes. One hour. A jar full of freezer friendly paste. It’s go time.

What you will need –
  1. Tomatoes – 2 kgs, (deseeded, chopped)
  2. Garlic – 7-8 cloves
  3. Rosemary – 1 sprig
  4. Ghee/peanut oil – 2 tbsp
  5. Salt
Method –
  • Wash, deseed and chop tomatoes
  • To a large baking tray, add tomatoes, ghee/oil, salt, garlic and rosemary. Stir well to combine
  • Roast at 200 degree celsius for 40 mins
  • Let cool and blend to make a smooth paste
  • Store in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze for up to a month

Here are some ways you can use this tomato paste/sauce

  • Blend it with some vegetable stock to make a quick sauce or soup
  • Use as the base for shakshouka (breakfast baked eggs)
  • Cook with lentil and beans to make a wholesome stew
  • Add finely chopped mushrooms or minced meat and cheese to make quick bolognese
  • Use as base for meatballs, cabbage rolls, chicken thighs, sautéed veggies
  • Mix with red wine for a robust gravy with grilled chicken/vegetables
  • Add butter and cream to make 30 min butter chicken
  • Use as pizza sauce or for calzones or lasagnas

You can also find me on Instagram for more easy recipes.

Creamy, smooth and easy hummus

Making exceptional hummus at home is one of those pleasures with a high payoff that is so worth fitting into your regular cooking program.

Chickpeas are nutrient dense, providing protein, dietary fibre, folate, amino acids and a few minerals. It’s definitely worth consuming often and homemade hummus can be kept refrigerated for up to a week.

This is a Hummus bi Tahina, otherwise known as the “classic” flavour recipe. I urge you to think of this as a blank canvas and experiment. Add any ingredient of your choice to make variations of this recipe.

Some ideas to get you going :
Pesto, beetroot, avocado, sweet potato, roasted red peppers, pumpkin, mint, sundried tomatoes.

If you don’t have chickpeas on hand, you can easily substitute them with white, fava or black beans. You can also use jackfruit seeds to make hummus.

Hummus bi tahina
What you will need?
  1. Boiled/canned chickpeas – 2 cups (drained)
  2. Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  3. Tahina – 1tbsp (optional)
  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tbsp
  5. Fresh coriander – few sprigs (about 1/4 cup chopped)
  6. Garlic – 2 large cloves
  7. Cumin Powder – 3/4 tsp
  8. Salt
  9. Chickpea water – 5-6 tbsp (to thin down the hummus if needed)
Method –
  • Add all ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. If needed, add additional water to achieve the right consistency.
  • Serve with fresh vegetable sticks, crackers or pita. This also goes really well with baked falafels.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture and tag it #theslowkitchen on Instagram so I can see!

Vegetable stock from produce scraps

We live in the second most populated country which is home to the largest undernourished population in the world. About 40% of the food produced in India is wasted or lost at different levels – from harvesting, transporting, processing, packaging and consuming. Wastage of food is not only indicative of hunger, climate change or pollution, but also of many other economic pitfalls such as inflation.⁣

Each time you throw away food, you’re stealing from the poor and hungry. And you are ignoring and insulting the efforts put in producing that food. ⁣

While most food wastage in India happens before it is packaged because of infrastructural loopholes, that does not mean you can’t or shouldn’t do anything to prevent wastage on an individual level.

This vegetable broth is made entirely from vegetable scraps that you would otherwise throw, is super simple to make, adds tons of flavour to your dishes and can be kept in the fridge for a week or frozen for up to 3 months.

What you will need –

  1. Vegetable scraps – 4 cups
  2. Peppercorns – 1 tsp
  3. Bay leaf – 2, torn
  4. Fennel – 2 tsp, crushed
  5. Cinnamon – 2 inch stick
  6. Garlic – 1 whole head, cut into two
  7. Onion – 1 medium sized, quartered
  8. Light oil – 1tsp

Through the week, I wash, coarsely chop and save roots, stalks, leaves, ends, and peels from vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, spring onions, capsicum/bell peppers, eggplant and mushrooms. Gourd skins, beet greens, corn cobs and herbs like coriander, rosemary, thyme and basil are also good additions.

Store scraps in a jar in the freezer and make this stock whenever that jar is full.

Not every vegetable is destined to turn into stock and you’re better off tossing them in the compost bin instead. Potatoes can make the whole stock starchy and gummy. Zucchini and beans may leave a bitter aftertaste. And beets can make the stock red (which I don’t mind sometimes). Broccoli, radish and cauliflower can be added but be careful with the quantities as their flavours can get overpowering.

To pack a massive punch of flavour add the rind from hard cheese like parmesan. This is optional.

Method –

  1. Heat a large pot over medium flame and add oil, quartered onions and garlic. Do not stir. You’re looking to slightly char the onions and garlic. This should take about 2 mins.
  2. Add all the other ingredients and let them sweat for about 4-5 mins.
  3. Add enough water to cover all the vegetables.
  4. Set the flame on medium high, once you begin to see little bubbles around the edges and it’s only just beginning to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer.
  5. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for an hour.
  6. Strain with a fine sieve and store.

I like to divide this stock into smaller portions and freeze it.
Use it to make soups, pulao, risotto, stews, add to curries or even uplift regular boiled rice, quinoa or any other grain. You’ll have enough for weeks to come.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Fully customisable home made granola

We’re all prone to stressful, rushed mornings and in the midst of all the madness, breakfast often gets neglected or perhaps skipped altogether. I find the idea of starting my day on a savoury note rather unsavoury. I simply can’t resist the siren song of sugar in the mornings (strictly natural unrefined sugar). The easiest way to not skip breakfast is to make it ahead of time.

Quick oats or instant oats are old-fashioned oats that go through further processing to decrease cooking time. They’re partially cooked by steaming and then rolled even thinner than old-fashioned oats. They cook within a few minutes and have a mild flavour. The soft, mushy texture has an uncanny baby-puke like mouthfeel that I just can’t get past.

Steel-cut oats are most closely related to the original, unprocessed oat groat. They’re made by chopping oat groats into tiny pieces using large steel blades. They have a coarser, chewier texture and nuttier flavour than rolled or quick oats. But they also take longer to prepare, with average cooking times varying 20–40 minutes.

I bulk buy steel cut oats and make a large batch of this super easy “Clear out the pantry” Granola. Its sweetened with honey, gets the crispness from peanut butter and is completely customisable. With just 10 mins of active involvement and 30 mins of the oven doing its thing, the granola ready to eat and lasts about 3 weeks.

Compare that to 10 mins on average per day for a month and quick oats don’t seem so quick anymore, do they? Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Better food choices are always out there. We just need to look for them.

What you will need?
  1. Rolled oats – 1 1/2 cups
  2. Steel-cut oats – 1 1/2 cups
  3. Flax seeds – 1/4 cup
  4. Pumpkin seeds – 1/4 cup
  5. Chia seeds – 1/4 cup
  6. Sunflower seeds – 1/4 cup
  7. Almonds, chopped – 1 cup
  8. Peanut butter – 1/2 cup
  9. Honey – 1/2 cup
  10. Cranberries or any other dried fruit – as desired
Method –
  • Add oats, chopped almonds, nuts and seeds to a large bowl. Set aside
  • Mix honey and peanut butter to make a smooth, runny paste. (Add a little water if needed)
  • Add the honey-peanut butter mix to the bowl of oats and nuts. Stir well to combine.
  • Transfer mix to a lined baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree celsius for 30-45 mins (or till the top is slightly browned). Be sure to take the tray out and turn it every 15 mins.
  • Let cool and break into chunks. Mix with your choice of dried fruit.
  • To serve, add in some fresh fruit, yogurt, smoothie or good ol’ milk and breakfast is ready in a jiffy.

Stores well in an airtight jar for up to 3 weeks.

For customisation –

You can use rolled oats or steel cut oats or both.
And add whatever nuts and seeds you currently have in your pantry.
Honey can be substituted with maple syrup or liquid jaggery.

Ensure a nut-seed to oat ratio of 2:4
Ensure a wet to dry ingredient ratio of 1:5


Some of my other favourite homemade granola flavours are dark chocolate and espresso, rose, lavender, cinnamon and chocolate-coconut.


If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture and tag it #theslowkitchen on Instagram so I can see!