Category Archives: Madhur Jaffrey

Nigerian Kidney Bean Stew with Peanut Sauce

If you have been reading my posts for a while you know that EPC has a lot of favourite meals and generally loves the recipes I post here.  In fact, the meal often has to pass the “husband taste test” before it is deemed blog-worthy.

I have been making Nigerian Kidney Bean Stew for a couple of years and it has certainly become top on EPC’s list.  It is high up on my list too, because it is easy to make and is delicious and satisfying served over brown rice

I am feeling far too relaxed today to do much writing today, so I will keep it short and leave you with this wonderful recipe adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian.

Happy cooking and have a good week.

Nigerian Kidney Bean Stew with Peanut Sauce

2 cans of  red kidney beans, rinsed well and drained
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 medium onion,  finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 398 ml can of tomato sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 generous tablespoons peanut butter
1/3-2/3 teaspoon of salt to taste

  • Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and green pepper and saute until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the cumin and stir to coat the onion mixture
  • Add the tomato sauce, cayenne, lemon juice and 1/2 cup water
  • Stir well and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Remove about 1/2 cup of liquid from the pot and reserve. Add the peanut butter to the reserved liquid and stir to mix. Return to the pot.
  • Add the kidney beans and cook until heated through – about 10 minutes.

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Madhur Jaffrey’s Besan, or Polenta with an Eastern Flair

By the time the end of the workweek roles around the two of us are often too tired to do much of anything other than eat dinner, relax, go for a walk, and then go to bed.  This Friday night we decided to spice it up and head down to Whyte Ave for a short walk and a trip to Chapter’s to browse the bookshelves.

Lucky for me EPC wanted to head over to Planet Organic to pick up a snack from the deli.  That meant we could also pop into Greenwood’s Bookstore (they have a much better vegetarian cookbook selection than the Whyte Ave Chapter’s, at least in my opinion).  Tonight turned out to be my lucky night!

At Greenwood’s I found a copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking discounted 50%!  The front cover was slightly creased at the corner, but other than that it was completely intact.  This cookbook gets such favourable reviews that I had been contemplating picking it up for a few months now, but figured I really could not justify buying yet another cookbook.  However, at 50% off how could I refuse? I was so excited with my new discount purchase that I decided to make Sunday’s dinner from its pages.

While flipping through the Beans and Dried Peas section and I came across an intriguing dish the likes of which I have never seen before.  Madhur coins it a Savory Chickpea Flour Quiche, but take a look at the recipe.

Cook the chickpea flour with onions and seasonings, pour into pan, cool, cut and serve.  The instructions read like polenta, not so unfamiliar after all, so I figure this dish can be coined polenta with an eastern flair.

It turned out fantastic.  EPC and both loved it.   I served it alongside Rasam, which Madhur describes as a tomato, tamarind and dal broth.  This sour spicy soup is one of my favourite South Indian dishes.  Although I really enjoyed the soup, I think that next time I make the Besan (and there will be a next time -it was delicious and not much work at all) I will serve a vegetable curry or two on the side instead.


2 1/2 cups of chickpea flour sifted
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground (I crushed mine with a mortar and pestle)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 -1 teaspoon of cayenne
1 medium onion, sliced in half and then into fine half rings
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 dried curry leaves

2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
1 hot chili, seeded and minced
1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut

  • Put the sifted chickpea flour in bowl.  Slowly add 4 1/2 cups of water, breaking up the lumps as you go.  When all the water has been added, pour the batter through a fine mesh sieve to remove all the lumps.
  • Combine the garlic ginger, cumin, turmeric and cayenne in a small cup with 1/4 cup of water.  Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy 2 1/2 quart pot (I used an enameled Dutch oven) over medium heat.
  • Add the curry leaves and stir.  Then add the onions.
  • Cook the onions for 2-3 minutes, until softened, but not brown.
  • Add the spices in the cup with the water and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  • Add the chickpea flour mixture into the pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Turn the heat to medium low and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the side of the pot.  This should take about 20 minutes
  • Add the salt and lemon juice and mix well.
  • Put the mixture into a 9 X 9 cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle the cilantro, chilies, and coconut and let cool.
  • Slice into 16 squares.

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Ms. Jaffrey’s Madras Curried Tomato Soup

It must appear to you that I have been slacking off at blogging this month.  It’s true.  It is already half way through the month and I have only put up four posts including this one.  I guess that is what happens after a having a month of sure things, courtesy of Lorna Sass, and then moving into the uncharted territory of other cookbooks.

I made a batch of cookies, which are pretty good, but not a recipe I deem worthy of a post and a tempeh jambalaya with similar concerns.  On Easter weekend, I did make an excellent dish but figure it needs a bit of tweaking before it makes an appearance on Cookbook Cooks.  So there you have it.  If everything had worked out a little better, or I had made a better cookie choice, you would be seeing almost double the posts.

Enough about my unposted efforts and on to the meal at hand.

Whenever I use my Madhur Jaffrey World Vegetarian cookbook I always get stuck at the front.

The book starts with beans, dried beans, lentils and nuts and is then subdivided into specific sections such as chickpeas, mung beans or cashews.  Then goes on with the same format for vegetables and grains.  I am sure you can imagine how inclusive, thorough (and thick) this cookbook is.  For example, the soup section doesn’t start until page 575. I think it is clear now why I always get stuck in the first half of the cookbook.

Don’t get me wrong,  it is quite a nice set-up actually.  If you have some swiss chard in the fridge you can flip through the swiss chard section and find such delights as Young Swiss Chard with Sesame Seeds and Swiss Chard with Tomatoes and Chickpeas. On the other hand if you feel like kidney beans there is a wonderful recipe for Nigerian Red Kidney Bean Stew with a Peanut Sauce, which is a personal favourite of mine.  This time when deciding what wonderful recipe to try I started at the back of the cookbook instead, bringing me to the delicious Madras Curried Tomato Soup.

The soup that I served veers quite a bit from the original recipe, but in a good way. I took out the heavy cream and substituted light coconut milk and added a can of lentils to give it more protein.  It tastes great and I think you could even add less water and serve it up over rice if you fancy.  We had it with some store-bought naan bread, which neither of us cared for, but was rescued by a thorough dunking in the thick soup.

Madras Curried Tomato Soup

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons curry powder
28 ounce can diced tomatoes (I used the no salt added variety)
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup  frozen, defrosted peas
1 19 ounce can of lentils
2  tsp salt (you might want to add less if your tomatoes have salt added)
1  can coconut milk (light or original)

  • Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion.  Saute for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
  • Add the curry powder and give a quick stir.
  • Add the canned tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, peas, canned lentils, and 4 cups of water.
  • Bring the soup to boil and then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes
  • Blend the soup in batches in a blender or use an immersion blender
  • Reheat the soup if needed and serve

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Madhur Jaffrey’s Easy Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup

This soup always amazes me.

I have been making it for about 7 years and it is consistently delicious.  I am not amazed that it tastes so good, but rather that it tastes amazing and is extremely easy to put together.  In fact, I cannot think of anything that is this easy to make and gives you such excellent results.

To make this soup you need a garlic press, a grater and time to let it simmer.  No cutting board.  No knife.

Yes, it is that easy.

This recipe was taken from my best friend’s cookbook Simple Indian Cookery by Madhur Jaffrey and adapted to vegetarian.  The loose-leaf paper that she wrote the recipe down on is faded and worn, making the recipe almost illegible, an indication of its popularity.  EPC always requests this recipe, and each time I make it he always wonders why I do not make it more often.

“We can’t eat it every night”, I say.

Tonight I served the soup with store-bought naan bread, but I could have just as easily served it with some brown basmati rice.  The rice takes just about as much time to cook as the soup, so store-bought naan is no easier than the rice, just a nice treat for a change.

On another note.  We have just ordered some new cookbooks from Chapters online.  EPC and I got a couple of Chapter’s gift cards from my parents for Christmas this year and I think my bad habit of cookbook hoarding may have rubbed off on him.

It was quite cute actually, as soon as he saw the gift certificates he knew exactly what book he wanted to order.  I could not believe it, but that book turned out to be a cookbook.  He ordered the second cookbook from our favorite Toronto restaurant Fresh.  I ordered a vegetarian Mexican cookbook for myself and one for the two of us based on the PBS series Delicious TV.

I can’t wait!

The new cookbooks should arrive sometime next week!

Madhur Jaffrey’s Easy Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup

3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of ginger, grated
1 teaspoon of garlic, crushed (about 3 cloves through a garlic press)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne (I use McCormick’s)
1 19-ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed well
1 cup of red split lentils, rinsed well
4 cups of vegetable stock
1/2-1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro/coriander

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat, when hot, add ginger and garlic. Stir for 10 seconds.
  • Add cumin, coriander, curry powder, and cayenne. Stir for 10 seconds.
  • Add chickpeas and stir to coat with spices.
  • Add lentils, vegetable stock, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro.