Day 23 – Indian feast (well, almost)

Leave a comment

June 23, 2009 by missmegany

Finally back to normal with not spending too much, it was my turn to cook and from our Riverford box we had two red onions, 2/3 a bag of spinach (which is now a week old) and a medium sized kohlrabi. Before our box arrives tomorrow, pickings were awfully slim. One of the drawbacks of breaking down the cost to a set amount per person, per day.

I thought about making a kohlrabi salad, something nice and summery, since kohlrabi is really refreshing and crisp anyway. Unfortunately the only one I found (that wasn’t a coleslaw type thing) used apples and dates–neither of which we have, and both of which are fairly pricey. Luckily, I found an Indian recipe. One sprouting potato leftover from Sunnyfields at the farmers market and our spinach from Riverford gave me another dish, and that recipe suggested tarka dahl (one of Mac’s favourites to get at Indian restaurants). AND it was all fairly cheap! Three dishes, plus rice, for less than 60p a serving. Not bad.

What was organic/local?
Organic – oatmeal, [leftovers for lunch: risotto rice, plum tomatoes, veg bouillon, haricot beans,] kohlrabi, red lentils, red onion, potato, spinach
Local – [rapeseed oil and cooking cheese plus herbs from the garden from leftovers] garlic, spinach, potato

Monji Kalia (Kohlrabi stew)
For half a recipe (4 very small portions) made without milk and yogurt, 15p total, 4p per portion

I had to cut the recipe in half because we only had 400g of kohlrabi. Also, we didn’t have any yogurt or milk, so I had to leave it out. Considering how spicy it ended up being (not too hot, but a bit hotter than I’d usually have), I wish I’d had some. It still tasted fine without, though.

1 kg (2.2 lb) Kohlrabi (ganth gobhi) (Riverford)
1 1/4 cups (250 ml) 8 fl oz Vegetable oil (used the recycled oil we keep for frying… kohlrabi maybe absorbed 10p worth?)
4 Cloves (laung) (oops. I forgot!)
2 Black cardamom (badi elaichi), crushed (2p)
a pinch Asafbetida (hing) (I’ve yet to buy this…)
1 cup (250 ml) 8 fl oz Water
1 tsp (2 g) Turmeric (haldi) powder (less than 1p)
1 tsp (2 g) Ginger powder (sonth) (2p)
1 tbsp (5 g) Aniseed (saunf) powder (missed this too…)
1/2 tsp (1 g) Garam masala (less than 1p)
Salt to taste 2 tbsp (60 g) 2 oz Yoghurt (dahi) (skipped)
2 tbsp (30 ml) l fl oz Milk (skipped)
3 Green cardamom (choti elaichi) (we used green instead of black earlier in the recipe)

1. Wash, peel and cut the kohlrabi into 1 inch cubes.
2. Heat the oil and fry the kohlrabi until golden. Drain and keep aside.
3. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a deep pot; add cloves, black cardamom, and asafoetida. Fry a little and then add water. Cover to prevent the oil from spattering.
4. Add the kohlrabi, turmeric powder, ginger powder, aniseed powder, garam masala, and salt. Cook on high heat for 10 minutes.
5. Add the milk and yoghurt (whisked together), stirring constantly till it comes to the boil. Cook for S minutes and then remove from heat.
6. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small pan, saute the cardamom and add to the pot. Serve hot.

Tarka Dhal
£1.67 total – If 5 servings, 33p

The Dhal
300g red lentils (masoor dhal) (1.08)
40g ghee (I used 2tsp rapeseed oil and 2Tbsp veg oil) (10p + 6p)
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced (I only used onion for the tarka, not the dhal)
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced (4p)
1.5 tsp turmeric (1p)
1 tsp ground black pepper (oops…I forgot. skipped)
Salt to taste
750mL water
1 dried red chilli-do not split (4p–I’m guessing)

The Tarka
1 tbsp sesame seed oil (skipped–I used one more veg oil)
1 tbsp vegetable oil (3p)
1 tsp mustard seed (optional) (3p)
1 tsp cumin seed (2p)
1 tsp coriander seed (1p)
8 curry leaves (optional)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced (18p)
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced (Riverford)
2 long dry red chillies (7p–I’m guessing)
1 tsp aswain or lovage seed (skipped. I don’t know what either are!)

1. Wash and sift the dhal (lentils) thoroughly to remove husk and stone. Drain.
2. Heat ghee in heavy pan and fry onion and garlic gently until softened
3. Add turmeric, salt, pepper and dhal. Stir gently to coat all dhal
4. Add water and chillies. Boil, covered, for 20-30 minutes until lentils are cooked and resemble a medium custard in consistency. You may need to add extra water to maintain consistency. Do not let them dry out. When cooked to your liking set aside in a serving dish in a warm place, preferably with a cover.
5. To make the tarka, heat the oil until it smokes and throw in the mustard and reduce heat a bit.
6. When mustard crackles add chillies and fry for 30 seconds, constantly turning. Mind your eyes as the fumes will be pungent.
7. Add rest of tarka ingredients except lovage and keep energetically stir frying until garlic is blackening or chillies are blackening whichever is first.
8. Add aswain or lovage, remove from heat and keep stirring for 10 seconds.
9. Pour mixture over lentils and cover. Serve hot.

The use of mustard and curry leaf is a South Indian variation. Try this recipe with and without the optional ingredients. When you’ve got the hang of it, try the recipe with other types of dhal and with mixes of dhal. I like a mix of masoor, toovar, urid and pearl barley. (masoor is sweet, toovar is meaty, urid is bitter and pearl barley adds bite.)

Saag Aloo
56p total for 4 small portions (we definitely did NOT have 500g of spinach, and I would ideally have wanted more potatoes). That’s 14p each.

60g / 2¼oz butter or ghee (used 2Tbsp veg oil – 6p)
5cm / 2in piece root ginger, peeled and grated (our ginger disappeared. We probably had 1/2 inch – 5p)
4 garlic cloves, chopped (18p)
2 onions, chopped (skipped)
2 green chillies, chopped (used 1 dried – 4p?)
200g / 7oz floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 5cm / 2in pieces (probably 300g? 28p)
1 tsp ground cumin (2p)
1 tsp ground coriander (1p)
½ tsp turmeric (less than 1p)
¼ tsp salt (less than 1p)
500g / 1lb 2oz spinach leaves, rinsed and chopped (you can also use frozen spinach, defrosted) (Riverford)
pinch garam masala

Melt butter or ghee in large saucepan over medium heat. Fry ginger, garlic, onions and chillies, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
Add potatoes and continue stirring for 5 minutes. Then add cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt. Continue frying and stirring for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. I found that everything really stuck to the base of the pan unless I stirred non-stop. If this happens, add a little vegetable oil rather than more butter.
Throw in the spinach at the very end. You want it to stay nice and fresh, so take the saucepan off the heat after you’ve stirred it in, as it will continue to cook for a while with the heat from the potatoes.
Sprinkle garam masala over and serve hot.

Plus, all of this was served with plan basmati rice (we have a 5kg bag in our airing cupboard, so that’s never an issue!)
(24p for 1cup… probably enough for 4. 6p)

Breakfast: oatmeal with 1tsp honey and a pinch of cinnamon, 11p PLUS Megan then had 30g raisins (7p) with 10g of peanut butter (2p)
Riverford: 77p
Lunch: Leftover risotto 34p
Dinner: fried kohlrabi (4p), tarka dahl (33p), saag aloo (14p) over rice (6p). 57p total for 3 different Indian dishes. Not bad! Plus Mac had two pieces of bread with pate before he went off to a meeting at 7 because we were too slow in finishing cooking (oops) (30p).

Total: Megan £1.88, Mac £2.09

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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


Less and Less and More is all about enjoying more, all whilst worrying about less. Whether enjoying better health because you eat less junk, having more time for friends and family because you spend less time on acquiring, or lots of other big and little things that we want more of, I look at examples of people doing more.


Less and Less and More

Finding more in our gardens, our plates, our communities

%d bloggers like this: