The morning after.

So I’m on attempt three with this post. WordPress does not like “The morning after” either, it seems.

Last night, being Friday, was our usual Friday night gaming session, which has been running for about five years now. People drop over around seven, I feed everyone, then we play some game or other – rpgs or board games mostly, but also card games and other bits and pieces. It’s really good fun and rounds off the week nicely. There are usually six of us, which is also a great number for most games.

While there may be six people, I generally cook for ten as at least half the group seem to have hollow legs. There’s one vegan, me, two will-eat-anything omnis (including HusBeast), one more fussy omni (I think this is the only time in the week he really eats veggies that aren’t on a pizza), one high level coeliac and one allergic-to-dairy-and-eggs. Simple vegan, analog-free food is the easiest and tastiest for all.

pots

A huge pot of chana masala bubbling away on the hob, and a pan of coconut toasting. Off to the right is my beloved rice cooker. When it finishes I fluff the rice up and just before serving mix through the coconut. Deeee-licious.

To go with this I make my carrot salad. The recipe may seem a little slapdash, but it’s really a “to taste” recipe. To make it, you’ll need

Carrots. I advise organic – it’s well worth it here. I used 500g for six people.

Fresh ginger root – big-thumb sized piece.

Sliced almonds – a good handful. Don’t go overboard though. They should be tasty surprises among the carrots, not the dominating taste.

Fresh coriander

Fresh red chilli

1 lemon

First off, toast the almonds in a hot, dry frying pan. Keep an eye on them though as they really can go from pale and boring to burnt and unuseable in a few seconds.

prep for salad

 

Chop the lemon in half for juicing (this one was about the size of a big lime) and peel the ginger root. Grate the carrots. I’d recommend breaking out the food processor if one’s available. If not, use the most coarse side of your grater and grate directly into the serving bowl to preserve the carrotty juices. Once that’s done, deal with the chilli.

If you’re a little wary of spice, use a big chilli as they tend to be much milder – some of the tiny ones would blow your head off! This recipe doesn’t use the chilli for heat either, just flavour, so take the chilli, chop off the stem, split it lengthways and then peel out the membrane and seeds. I’d advise doing this directly over the bin/compost bag, especially if there are little people or furbabies at home as it stops bits going astray in between chopping board and bin. Slice the chilli very finely.

lemonfaced

Grate the ginger directly onto the carrot in the serving bowl, again to preserve any juice that will try to escape. I use a microplane for this as it makes short work of any stringy bits. Move the grater around as you go. It makes mixing easier later.

microplane

Squeeze the lemon all over, sprinkle the chilli on and then ignore for ten minutes while you get on with some stirring. Don’t be tempted to add salt!

Just before serving, chop the coriander and sprinkle on.

ready to mix

I love the colours!

Add the almonds and then stick your hands in and mix away, trying to get as even a blend as possible. By this point, you’ll have become painfully aware of any papercuts you may have. It’s worth it, I promise.

tahdah

Taah daah! From scratch toasted coconut rice, chana masala and carrot salad. Dee-licious.

This salad is really versatile, which is one of the things I love about it. If I’m making a very mild curry I might up the chilli or coriander. If I’m making something with lots of coconut milk that’s really creamy, I’ll add a little more lemon as a foil for the fat. It goes very nicely with almost all curries or Indian dishes and if there are leftovers they’re great in a wrap or pitta with hummus and a few raisins!

No leftovers today though…time for a rummage in the presses!

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8 responses »

  1. That’s a good looking plate – chana masala is like vegan crack I think! And totally agree on the carrots – a simple carrot salad makes me very happy. I lived in France for a bit and they’re totally masters of it! It’s so pleasing for so little effort – apart from losing a few chunks of skin on the grater!

    • This was only my second time making the chana masala – it’s so good! Local Indian place makes it but it’s only meh. A bit too greasy for my liking.

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