East Indian (and Easy) Dinner

This is my version of an easy, kid-friendly East Indian dinner. Many times children are turned off by highly-spiced foods, these recipes can be adjusted to suit your own family’s preferences, adding more curry and garam masala to taste. A fun way to introduce a bit more exotic fare for any supper of the week. Enjoy!

PS My apologies if the ingredient list looks a bit wonky. I have been having major WordPress edit difficulties this a.m. (anyone else ???) .  Better stop while I’m ahead, out of time too. 🙂   


Tired of the same old, same old fruit salads? Try this colorful and satisfying alternative. The peanuts, sunflower seeds and lentils add protein and crunch!  Makes 8-10 servings as a side dish.  

  ½ C. uncooked red lentils

1 large (red, sweet variety) unpeeled apple, grated or finely diced

1 T. lemon juice

 4 C. precooked brown rice

½ C. raisins 

½ C. unsalted shelled peanuts (opt.)

 ½ C. unsalted (hulled) sunflower seeds 

 ½ C. unsweetened shredded coconut 

1 T. grated fresh ginger root (peeled)  Thoroughly rinse and drain lentils. In a small saucepan, combine lentils with enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 5-10 minutes, just until water is absorbed (don’t overcook or lentils will become mushy). Remove from heat and cool, set asideIn a large bowl,  sprinkle  apple with lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Drizzle each serving with Curry Yogurt Dressing  (see below), just before serving. 

Curry Yogurt Dressing 

 ½ C. plain yogurt

¼ C. light mayonnaise

  ½ -1 T. (good quality) curry powder, to taste

 ½ – 1 T. brown sugar, to taste

2 T. tahini 

 In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste. Dressing should be tart, go easy on the brown sugar.  

Oven-Baked Chappatis

These tasty rounds are similar to pita bread and can be filled with a variety of sweet or savory fillings such as fresh veggies, homemade jams, hummus or anything else you would usually eat between two slices of bread. Makes 8.

 1 C unbleached white flour AND ½ C. whole wheat flour (or use all whole wheat, for a slightly coarser, chewier texture)  

1/3 C. melted butter or margarine

 ½ teas sea salt

1 C. (approx.) buttermilk

Combine flour(s) in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add melted butter and salt and stir to combine. Gradually add just enough buttermilk to form a firm dough. After kneading slightly on a floured board, form into a smooth ball. Allow dough to ‘rest’ for 20-30 minutes on floured board, covered with a slightly dampened dishtowel.  

Preheat oven to 350. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces and roll with your (floured) hands to form balls. On a lightly-floured board, using a rolling pin, roll out each ball to approx. ¼” thickness and approx. 6” in diameter.Place on a greased cookie sheet, allowing a bit of space between rounds.

Bake 10 minutes on one side, turn over and bake 10 more minutes, to brown more evenly .


Easy Vegetable Curry

Looking for something a bit different for dinner?? Don’t let your family ‘write off’ curries until you have tried this one. Quick to make, full of  flavor, texture and colorful too.  Serves 6 generously.

2 T. vegetable oil

1 T. finely diced or shredded fresh ginger root (peeled)

1 medium white onion chopped

3 carrots, thinly sliced in circles

1 C. cauliflower florets

 1 C. sliced green beans (bite-sized)

1medium sweet red pepper, thinly sliced

½ C. chick peas, precooked and drained (if using canned rinse and drain thoroughly)

½ C. raisins

1- 3 T. good quality curry powder ( to taste)

1-2  T. crushed cumin seeds (to taste)

1-2  teas.  garam masala (opt.) (to taste)-adds a wonderful flavor

1/8- ¼ teas. freshly-ground pepper, to taste

1  teas. sea salt (opt.)

1 C. plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream

Garnish: 1 C. coarsely chopped cashews

In a large fry-pan or wok, heat oil over medium heat. Add ginger and sauté 2-3 minutes to release flavor. Add vegetables and raisins and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add spices, cover and steam for 5 minutes over low heat or until all vegetables are cooked but still crunchy, don’t overcook. Remove from heat, stir in yogurt.

Serve immediately with Rice and Red Lentil Salad or basmati rice or couscous ; topped with cashews as a garnish.     Reprinted from : Not Just for Vegetarians, Delicious Homestyle Cooking, the Meatless Way, by Geraldine Hartman. All rights reserved. Photography: Patricia Holdsworth Photography.    

7 responses

  1. Oooooo….Indian food is my fave Geraldine…I love to cook it. However I love to spice it up so I’m afraid kids could never eat my Indian dinners! I have my own versions of most of these recipes except the salad and I’ve never tried homemade chappatis…too lazy and mostly buy them at the Indian market! The salad sounds great though.

  2. Aaaaugh….a spicy lady!!! That’s the great thing about dishes like curry, you can heat it up or cool it down!!! I thought of an incident at one of the local Indian restaurants here, family came in, ordered, parents looked happy with what arrived at the table, the kids spent most of the time squawking…about how spicy the food was. In the end, I don’t think they got too much to eat. Class participants and friends have told me that this curry hits the spot, with their kids too…Hope you give the salad and chappatis a try. Thanks for stopping by. G 🙂

  3. This looks and sounds great! I would love more Indian Vegan Recipes that are EZ. 🙂

  4. email friend Elaine

    Hi, boy after reading your recipes everything sounds so delicious. These recipes are making me wish I had more time at home to sample these new and exciting meals.
    Just a little sprinkle of sweetness – your blog is one of the most interesting and informative reading I have done in a long time. Please don’t stop.

  5. Thanks so much Elaine, you are too kind. I know you have my cookbook and have tried several recipes already, seem to remember that the Broccoli Cheese Bake and Cheddar Muffins are two of your favs., right??? Hope you will continue to try more and let me know how its going, I love to hear feedback from people using my recipes. Maybe a nice pot of soup would help right now??? Hope everyone is feeling better soon!
    BFN, G:)

  6. Beautiful dish, I love a dish that has some spice, this will do it! Of course you can use the picture. Thanks for all of your kind words! T has this summer cold for about 8 days before he decided to share and I am almost to the point of going to bed and staying, I thought maybe I could just ignore it and it would go away… I do not think so! I have told T he does not have to share everything with me! Later….RaeDi

  7. So yummy, Geraldine! This whole meal is right up my alley! Thanks so much for these recipes! 😀

Thanks so much for your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: