Jackfruit Biryani

I went to Texas to visit family in August and came back with four of my siblings’ cookbooks on loan. After a barely getting five green beans from my garden all summer, I’ve had a miraculous end-of-season glut of green beans this year. So this recipe for jackfruit biryani was the first from the group I decided to try. It’s from East Meets Vegan by Shasha Gill.

I had to do quite a bit of modification since I’m avoiding many types of nuts and all fruit at the moment. I replaced the cashews with 1/2 and 1/2 pine nuts and walnuts. Both were good. I left out the raisins and instead added a tsp of sugar to the cooking onions. That worked out really well and I didn’t really miss the dried fruit. I also used regular yogurt instead of vegan yogurt and swapped out bell pepper for the carrot, since that’s what I had.

The flavor of the dish was good and the jackfruit was a very unique aspect. But the consistency was wrong. The picture from the cookbook shoes a nice fluffy biryani with individuated pieces of rice. But my version came out very wet and mushy. More like a sticky rice compote than a biryani. I’m not sure why this happened, but next time I’d halve the vegetable stock. Also, next time I’d pull the cardamom pods out of the rice before combining it with the curry. Worth trying again with some tweaking I think.

Masoor Dal

I have a very old, well-loved 1981 copy of Madhur Jeffry’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking. The pages are yellow and a whole chunk of the book has come unbound. Yet, it’s such a standby for me that I’d never think of replacing it. This week I wanted to make masoor dal and turned to Madhur Jeffry. Her very simple recipe for massor dal on page 96 did not disappoint. The recipe only contains 8 ingredients but the result was so interesting and full of flavor I would never have known.

The original version is meant to be made on the stove, but I adapted it to go in my slow cooker. Instead of adding the ginger an tumeric immediately after the lentils started boiling, I let the lentil cook in my slow cooker for an hour before adding them. In total the lentils were in my slow cooker for about 4 hours. Instead of turning off the heat before adding the fried cumin seeds and dried red pepper in asefetida, I left the slow cooker on for another 10 minutes after adding them. I’ll be making this again.

1 cup massor dal

1 quarter-sized slice of fresh ginger

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp vegetable oil

pinch of asafetida

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 whole, hot dried peppers

Zucchini Kofta

I’m pretty tired of zucchini. It’s the end of summer and I’ve been eating them all season. But my garden isn’t quite done yet so I’m looking for something interesting to do with them. I love malai kofta, so when I saw a recipe for Zucchini Kofta on page 148 of Indian Vegetarian Cooking at Your House I was intrigued. But I’ve never found a recipe in this cookbook that really worked, so I commenced with caution.

In the end the results were mixed. The results were delicious but the ratio of kofta to sauce was very off. I ended up only making half of the kofta and still didn’t have enough sauce for them. I’m going to try making this again, but will really mess with the sauce recipe. I’d also like to try baking the kofta instead of frying them.