Vegetarian Delights cooking class


What a fun weekend we all had..         

Special thanks to Joel who took all these amazing pictures !! He is awesome with the camera .. He makes my food look so much better..:)

He is a big fan of Freaky Curry and a well wisher. Thanks Joel !!

Our “vegetarian” class

This was our first ever all vegetarian cooking class and what a great turnout !!

We started a bit early and I was surprised to see all of our “students” ready to go as they arrived !!

We also had Ted bring bagels for us !! A lot of bagels.. 🙂

I made some green juice (spinach, kiwi, pear and watermelon) which I shared with all.

There were some skeptic sips but they all turned to second servings pretty soon which is always good 🙂

We all got settled in with our bagels (lotsa bagels !)  coffee and green juice and got right to work !
Went over the menu as usual and talked about the motivation behind it.

A moment of truth here: I really spent a lot of time on this menu. Like more than the usual amount.


1. It was all vegetarian.. We in America still see vegetarianism as being something different. Something exotic and something as a “pop trend”. It’s like when you think of the word, people think you wear hemp skirts and do yoga all the time. When we talk to people about being a vegetarian, it’s almost seen as an unnatural thing but in fact did you know that vegetarianism is rather common than you would think. Anyway, so I wanted the menu to reflect that, we weren’t doing anything radically different but something very natural.

2. To create vegetarian entrees and not sides which they normally are,  can be a difficult task. I wanted to make sure that the dish had enough starch, proteins and enough “everything” to satisfy the taste buds and our dietary needs.

3. I had carnivores coming to the class !! ha-ha.. well some of them.. I had a “tame the lion and make him eat grass” kind of a deal going on 🙂

So anyway, this was the menu for the class. 

Masala Chole (chickpeas) sliders with mint yogurt sauce and pickled red onions. 
To serve 2-3
1 Cup of cooked chickpeas (Drained and rinsed if using canned product)
2 Carrots peeled, washed and roughly chopped
1 medium white onion peeled and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
Pulse all the above in a food processor till a paste is formed. Look below for the texture. It’ll be a little gritty but all the ingredients should be incorporated well. 
Eric was in charge of the food processor !! He did a great job !! 
Adding homemade garam masala to our chole/chickpeas mixture
Season with salt, pepper and all spice (Garam masala) according to your preference. 
If the mixture is a little too soggy, add a Tbsp or two of cornstarch and mix well. 
Make patties (like burgers) and shallow fry in a pan on medium heat in some OO (about 3-4 Tbsp). Cook for almost 3-4 minutes on one side and flip . Cook the second side the same way. 
You might/will have to add more oil and cook the rest of the patties that way. Let the oil heat before you add more patties. If you add them in cold oil, they’ll get soggy and won’t have the crispy exterior. 
Drain on paper towels. 

Pickled red onions

2 Large red onions (peeled and sliced thin)
1/4-1/2 cup of your choice of vinegar (Preference: White vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar)
1/2 Tbsp of whole peppercorns (Black or pink or both)
Touch of salt and sugar

Cover the onions with water in a shallow pan. Cook the onions for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat till semi soft. (All we are doing is removing the “raw” smell and the bite from the onions.)

Drain the water and add the vinegar to the onions. Add the seasonings. Cook for another 5-6 minutes.
Let it rest and bring the onions to room temperature. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill in the fridge before serving. These can last in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks. 

Here is Dharmesh (our newbie and a religious follower of FC !! and a great friend) understanding the concept of why we are cooking the onions just a bit instead of browning them for the pickle.

Mint yogurt sauce (Mint raita)

1/2 cup of plain yogurt (Plain, unflavored, homemade or Greek yogurt will work best)
2-3 Tbsp of mint leaves chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the above and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving. 
To assemble the sliders, I always toast little Hawaiian rolls or potato rolls with a touch of butter. Sandwich a chickpeas patty in the bread and use the yogurt sauce as mayo/spread. Top with the pickled red onions. 

Erin approves!!

 Quinoa and lentils pilaf topped with tangy feta

To serve 3-4 
1 Cup of raw quinoa
2 cloves of garlic smashed
1 cup of mixed veggies (Zucchini, onions, peppers, carrots)
1.5 – 2 cups of broth (Water will work as well)
1 Cup of cooked lentils 
( Rinse and drain the lentils and boil in 3 cups of water with a couple of bay leaves and cloves to add some flavor. Season with salt.)
2- 3 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
1/2 cup of feta chopped in small chunks
1/2 cup of roasted corn (optional)
Salt and pepper
Sautee the garlic in about a Tbsp of OO for a couple of minutes in a shallow pan. Add the veggies and stir for another couple of minutes. Add the quinoa and stir. Add about 1.5 cups of broth (or water) and cover the pan. Season with salt and pepper. You can add more broth if you like the quinoa a little softer and less granular. Cook for about 12-15 minutes till the grains grow little “tails”  🙂
Remove from heat and let it rest. 
Layer the quinoa and the lentils in a serving dish. Garnish with the roasted corn, parsely and feta. 
Serve warm, at room temperature or cold !! 
Perfect as an entree or a side dish. 

Poblano stuffed with rice, beans and queso fresco
 served with avocado sour cream and mango salsa

 “Sweet looking” spicy Poblano peppers 
Found these in the farmers market the other day and I fell in love !! Beautiful, shiny, dark green and oh so succulent looking.. They have some heat but they taste almost smoky when baked or grilled. DELISH !!

Here is Sakshi cutting the peppers with gloves on !! Smart woman 🙂 We love her spirit in class !!

Removing the seeds and the ribs from the peppers help reduce the heat a lot. Using gloves is recommended. (Personal experience) 🙂 Wash in cold water and wipe clean with paper towels after.. 
Filling: (Enough for 2-3 big sized peppers)
1 cup of cooked white/ brown/ wild rice
1 cup of cooked black beans (Drained and rinsed if using canned product)
1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1/2 cup of chopped red onions
2 cloves of garlic smashed
1/2 cup of queso fresco crumbled
smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the above and stuff the peppers. Use gloves or a spoon. Top with some more queso fresco and arrange in a baking dish lightly sprayed with OO. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes till the skin on the peppers wilt down a bit. 
Top with monterey jack cheese and baked another 5 minutes till the cheese melts if you like the ooyee gooyee feeling !! 
Serve warm with mango salsa and the avocado sour cream.
Mango Salsa
1 Cup of mango chopped (without the seed)
1 Avocado chopped ( no seed please ;))
2 Tbsp cilantro chopped
1/2 medium white onion chopped
Juice of half a lime
Salt and pepper
Mix all the above and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
You can also serve this with chips or as topping on tacos, sandwiches and burgers !!

Avocado Sour Cream
1 cup of sour cream
1 avocado (Remove the seed please)
Juice of a lime
Salt and pepper
Mash all the above and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 
You can also serve this with chips or as topping on tacos, sandwiches and burgers !!

What a fun class !!!

Ami and Mallory catching up 😉 Love these ladies !! They are a treat to cook with

Our another newbie ! Shilpa deep in thought over some stuffed Poblano peppers 😉

This class was definitely for her !! She had been trying to attend our classes for sooo long but due to life and family commitments, she couldn’t. So glad she came !!

Special thanks to all our friends who came out and cooked with me !! Love love love you guys !! 

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