30-minute one-pot dal with quick pickled onion

Another dal recipe I hear you say? Look, my tarka dal and hidden veg dal are both delicious, but this recipe is ‘the one’ for when you want something delicious but don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen.

So, before you open UberEats to order dinner tonight, check your pantry. Pretty much every ingredient in this dish is a kitchen pantry staple. And all you need to do is put everything in a saucepan, so it can do it’s thing.

I’ve also done this one in my pressure cooker and it worked a treat. I cooked it for about 4-5 minutes at pressure.

30-minute one-pot dal with quick pickled onion
Serves 4-6

For the dal
1 1/3 cups red split lentils
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp dried diced onion
1 tbsp dried garlic granules
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
4 cups filtered water
400ml coconut milk
Basmati rice, to serve

For the pickled onion
1 large red onion, finely sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lime

To make the dal, add all ingredients to a large saucepan and turn on the heat. Bring to the boil then cook over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes until dal has broken down.

While the dal is cooking, place the onion, lime juice and lime zest in a large bowl. Massage the onion with your hands until the onion starts to soften from the acid in the lime juice, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Serve dal with basmati rice and top with quick pickled onion.


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Pressure cooker Thai red curry

Earlier this year I spent a few days with my parents on the South Coast of NSW. While I was there, I was introduced to the wonderful world of pressure cooking; they had recently bought one for themselves.

Naturally, it didn’t take long until I was the proud owner of a stovetop pressure cooker. The stovetop cooker appealed to me because I can also use it as a giant stock pot, start a pressure cooked meal by sauteing some spices or ingredients, or reduce a pressure cooked sauce after cooking if I have too much liquid leftover.

Since the purchase, I have been using my pressure cooker two to three times a week. It makes for easier and quicker meals and accentuates the flavour. In fact meals that can take over an hour by conventional means can be ready in 15 to 20 minutes. With my work schedule it has certainly made my life easier and provided more ‘me’ time…highly recommended for stews, curries and soups.

Pressure cooker Thai red curry
Serves 4-6

1 tin Maesri panang curry paste
400ml coconut milk
100g firm tofu, cubed
1/2-1 cup vegetable stock
2 large kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 red onion, chopped
1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed
150g green beans, ends trimmed
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, divided
1 tbsp + 1 tbsp coconut sugar, divided
Juice of 2 limes, divided

Add all ingredients into your pressure cooker excluding the 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, 1 tbsp coconut sugar and juice of one lime. Stir to combine.

Turn on the heat and bring to pressure. Once at pressure, turn down the heat slightly and set a timer for one minute. After one minute, remove pot from the heat and release the pressure.

Add remaining 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, 1 tbsp coconut sugar and juice of one lime. Stir through and adjust to taste. Then, serve with rice.

Whole roasted cauliflower

This is the whole roasted cauliflower to end all recipes for roast cauliflower. And the trick is to lightly pre-cook the cauliflower in a magic, white wine-based poaching liquid. Really, there’s not much more to say other than to read on and give it a go.

Whole roasted cauliflower
Serves 4-6 as a side

2 litres filtered water
2 c dry white wine (organic preferred)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Himalayan rock salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coconut sugar
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of lemon thyme (optional)
1 head of cauliflower, outer leaves trimmed

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Put all ingredients excluding the cauliflower in a stock pot and bring to a boil.

Add the cauliflower floret side-down into the pot and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Flip the cauliflower and let simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the cauliflower from the poaching liquid and place base side-down on an oven tray.

Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the surface starts to brown.

Remove from oven and serve in a salad or as a side to virtually anything!

NOTE: You can keep the poaching liquid to pre-cook other vegetables before roasting. Keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 days.

Lebanese socca {gluten-free, vegan}

Lebanese pizza was another favourite of mine growing up. I can remember mum made it for dinner one night and I loved it so much that I asked for ‘the lamb and pine nut pizza’ again, and again, and again. 

After 10 years without Lebanese pizza in my life and after perfecting a good ‘mince’ for my current favourite taco recipe, I knew it would be possible to recreate as vegan. 

While it was definitely a pizza in my memory, I’ve avoided a heavy gluten-free pizza base for this recipe and opted for socca (an ingenious chickpea flour-based flatbread that I’ve been making for years) as the base instead. I love socca for many reasons, but especially because it’s an easy way to add soy-free protein to your plate – and I’m all about that.

Lebanese socca {gluten-free, vegan}
Makes 1 large ‘pizza’

For the ‘mince’
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 packet tempeh
1/2 red onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
1/4 c pine nuts, lightly toasted
Small handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the socca
1 c chickpea flour
1 c filtered water
1 tbsp + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper

To make the socca, add chickpea flour, water, 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to a bowl. Whisk until combined and no lumps remain. Set aside for 30 mins.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees C.

To make the ‘mince’, add pinto beans, tempeh, onion, garlic, cumin, cinnamon and salt and pepper to a food processor. Blitz until combined and resembling small crumbs.

Transfer mixture to a pan on a medium heat and cook a few minutes until it starts to brown and become fragrant. Set aside.

When ready to cook the socca, place cast iron skillet in the pre-heated oven for about 5 minutes.

Carefully remove skillet from oven and add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to base of the pan to coat the surface. Then, pour the batter into the skillet and return it to the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden and crisp.

When the socca has cooked, remove it from the oven. Carefully transfer it to a cutting board and spoon the ‘mince’ over it. Then, scatter it with pine nuts and garnish with parsley. Slice as you see fit and serve with a side salad and hummus.

Asian bean curd rolls {gluten-free, vegan}

There’s a small vegetarian Chinese restaurant in my hometown that made me fall head over heels for tofu skin (also known as yuba). You wouldn’t know it was anything special from the menu name ‘crispy bean curd skin’ but one day my mum ordered it on a whim and after that, a trip to this restaurant wasn’t complete without a plate – or two!

You can buy dried beancurd sheets from Asian supermarkets. For this recipe, you’ll need the sheets, not dried beancurd sticks, which are also available (and also delicious – but more on that later).

You can do a lot with tofu skin, like soaking it in flavourings and deep frying, or filling it with stuffing and pan frying. My love for eating trumps my love for cooking, so nine times out of 10, I’m looking for shortcuts to spend less time in the kitchen.

Which brings me to these seriously tasty tofu skin rolls that sound a lot more complicated than they actually are. Just think of it as a new way to enjoy tofu.

Once cooked, the rolls can be sliced up and added to a buddha bowl, stir fry or even used as a pho topping. Any leftover slices can be stored in the freezer. Just reheat them in a warm pan before eating.

Asian bean curd rolls {gluten-free, vegan}
Makes approx. 2 medium rolls

1 1/2 c filtered water
1/4 c gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into 2-3 pieces
2 cloves
1 whole dried red chilli
1 star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 packet of dried bean curd sheets

Add water, soy sauce, sherry, coconut sugar, ginger, cloves, chilli, star anise and cinnamon to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Let simmer for 10 minutes then strain and let the sauce cool.

Unfold the bean curd sheets. Leaving the sheets on top of each other, roughly cut about 5cm off the edge right around the sheets – try to do this in one go so you have a long offcut from each sheet.

Set aside all the sheets. Group the offcuts together and tie it in a rough knot. Submerge the knot in the sauce for about five minutes to soak.

Place one sheet onto a clean damp tea towel and using tongs, pick up the knot and use it as a brush to coat the entire sheet. Repeat with remaining sheets, returning the knot to the pan as needed to soak up more sauce.

Once all the sheets have been coated, place the knot in the middle of the sheets. Fold the sides in first, then move the knot towards you, to the edge of the sheets, so it can be the centre of the roll. Then, tightly roll the sheets up to form a log.

Cut the log into two pieces (three pieces if this won’t fit in your steamer) and steam for around 15 minutes. Then, remove from steamer and pan fry each roll for three minutes on one side, and three minutes on the other side.

Let cool slightly before slicing into thin pieces. Add to a cooked stir fry, buddha bowl or use as a pho topping.

Vegan baked biryani {gluten-free, soy-free}

This was actually going to be a quinoa biryani, but when I started experimenting with rice, I realised using quinoa would compromise the dish. It just won’t cut it the same way basmati rice does.

I love this biryani because it’s a one pot ‘set and forget’ wonder! All you need to do is start cooking it on the stove then transfer to the oven where it will do it’s thing. A meal this easy feels like cheating.

I recently discovered chat masala at a Indian cooking class I went to and now I’m using it on everything. If you don’t have it, you can omit it.

Vegan-biryani-kale-mary.jpg

Vegan baked biryani {gluten-free, soy-free}
Serves 4-6

1 tbsp cumin seeds
5 green cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
1/2 cinnamon quill
1 dried chilli
1 red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated
2 carrots, diced
200g green beans, ends removed and halved
Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
3 cups basmati rice
Handful toasted cashews
Handful raisins or sultanas
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 tbsp dairy-free butter
Spring onion, to serve
Chat masala, to serve
Homemade chutney, to serve

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Heat some oil in a dutch oven over a medium heat on the stove. Add spices and let cook until fragrant. Then add onion and cook until it becomes translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.

Next, add carrot, green beans, salt and pepper, bay leaf and rice, stir to combine. Then carefully pour in 6 cups of filtered water. Stir, then bring to a boil.

Cover with oven-proof lid or sheet of foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes.

At this point, give it a quick stir to make sure rice isn’t catching on the bottom. If it is, or the rice is getting a bit too dry, add around 1/4 cup water.

Add cashews, raisins, peas and dairy-free butter. Mix through and return to oven, uncovered for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve with finely chopped spring onions, a sprinkle of chat masala and homemade chutney.

Spanish-style vegan meatballs {gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, airfryer}

This dish is one of my all-time favourites. I’ve been making a version of it for almost 10 years. Using an airfryer for the vegan chickpea meatballs does make cooking easier and cleaner, but you can also pan fry them.

Spanish-style-vegan-meatballs-kale-mary

Spanish-style vegan meatballs {gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, airfryer}
Serves 3-4

For the vegan meatballs
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely grated
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp nutmeg, finely grated
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs or rice crumbs

For the sauce
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1/2 cup organic, vegan and preservative-free white wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cans diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch curly parsley, roughly chopped

Add the chickpeas and olive oil to a bowl. Mash with a potato masher until no solid chickpeas remain and mixture starts to emulsify.

Add garlic, lemon zest, thyme, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt and pepper. Mix well to combine before adding the crumbs and giving it another mix.

Mould about half a palm-sized amount of the mixture into balls and set aside. When ready, place in airfryer for 15 minutes at 200 degrees C. You don’t need to preheat it or rotate the balls during cooking.

Next, cook onion and garlic with a little oil on the stove. Deglaze the pan with white wine once onion and garlic starts to brown.

When the white wine has evaporated, add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and salt and pepper. Cook on a gentle heat for around 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir through the parsley, then serve with the chickpea meatballs and some brown rice.