Brussels sprouts might not be native to India, or that commonly used there to this day, but their rather strong and earthy flavor is perfectly complemented by Indian spicing. I had some brussels on hand in the fridge that originally I was simply going to steam and slather with some butter and salt and pepper, but when I got to thinking about a side that would compliment some fried dal cakes, I couldn't resist dressing them up with some tomato, tamarind and spices. This dish is ideal served over rice, along with appetizers and a legume main.
I asked my husband to cook me a nice breakfast for my birthday a few weeks ago. He doesn't ordinarily have to cook at all as I take care of pretty much all the food around the house. I don't mind — in fact, I enjoy cooking and frequently find myself looking at recipes when there's no cooking to be done — but I thought that it would be nice to have someone cooking for me for a change.
While he doesn't have a grand imagination in the kitchen, he did come up with the idea of this guacamole omelette and cooked it for me too. So this is actually his dish, but I'm claiming it for my own because he did use my own homemade guacamole recipe. Spicy, tangy and creamy fresh guacamole snuggled up in eggs is absolutely delicious, and easy enough for my husband's talents in the kitchen. Best of all, making a batch of guacamole ahead of time left plenty over after the omelette to snack on.
This succulent mushroom-centered presentation could easily be classified as a salad I suppose. A side dish perhaps, but honestly, the mushroom and spinach steal the show and deserve to serve as the centerpiece of a meal. Nutritional yeast lends a cheesy element to this dish and then there are the robust flavors of sun-dried tomatoes and black olives, complete with the meaty texture of the portobellos. Serve with a creamy vegetable lentil soup and a side of brown rice for a completely satisfying meal.
I will admit that I have a hard time keeping up with all of the different names for Indian dishes, as the cuisine varies so much depending on every region's unique traditions and influences. Indian savories often have me a bit confused, even though I started cooking Indian food soon after adopting a vegetarian diet, and that was over twenty years ago.
One thing I do know is that Indian appetizers have always been one of my favorite aspects of dining out, and since growing keen on experimenting in my own kitchen, there is no match for homemade preparations. With some research and control over the quality of your ingredients and process, eating out will in all likelihood pale in comparison. I now find most of the offerings from local establishments greasy and bland in comparison to homemade. The only drawback is that many breads, patties, balls and fritters can take time and be a bit messy. It really is worth the effort though and oftentimes the savories, such as these chana dal patties complete with some tamarind sauce in this instance, easily make up the main portion of a lighter meal if the temptation to indulge doesn't overwhelm.
Vadas seem to be a new favorite of mine. Popular in South India traditionally, vadas are fried savories usually made with dal and spices that are now popular in many parts of India and beyond. Often disc or doughnut shaped, this popular street food can be eaten for breakfast or as a snack with any variety of chutneys, and are a fine feature of any celebratory meal.