I'm a Punjabi-Canadian, agnostic Sikh, feminist, left-leaning, aspiring vegan, law student. My interests include: food, Bollywood, Desiness, politics, literature, and stationery. Currently, I'm going through a lot of self-exploration & embracing a fluid/flexible moral code.
- Comrade Jas
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Today has been such a fabulous day - hopefully an indication of how awesome March will be! The big picture is of my vegan gulab jamuns. Mmm, I’m really enjoying being vegan. The food adventures have been amazing and I think I may be getting the hang of cooking. Alright, let me start from the beginning of today.

I had my favourite class this morning: torts. It was brilliant as always - and once again I ran for the bus to make sure I would be on time (although, I don’t think I actually needed to run this time, so maybe I was just overcompensating). 

After class, chatting with people somehow led me to break my water bottle. It was quite the kerfuffle and one of my first thoughts was whether I should be concerned about liability for hurting someone with the broken plastic pieces…#lawschoolbrain

I had a radical law meeting. Apparently my cynicism was/is at a point that I wasn’t permitted to be the one leading a discussion on “what’s missing from the law school?” Somehow, I ended up remarking “but many of my friends are law schools” #badjokes

I hadn’t packed a proper lunch (I had half a dragonfruit), so I went home instead of attending my next class (sometimes one needs a break). I had burger buns (that’s what I had at home) with vegan cream cheese. It’s Tofutti brand, herbs and chives flavour. I actually found it quite good, but I wish there was a herb and garlic flavour, which is my favourite. I think if I just sprinkled garlic powder on the plain flavour, I would be super happy.

I also had a smoothie with it! My god, I’ve used up half of a fairly large tin of almond butter, almost entirely in smoothies. At least it is good almond butter made from just dry roasted almonds, no other ingredients. And almonds contain calcium & protein & happiness.

After this quite yummy lunch, I went to the beach with my awesome friend & her puppies (see this post). It was so much fun! I’m absolutely in love with Victoria, it’s such a delightful city and the ocean is so fabulous. On our walk there, we paused at this taco stand and I had a vegan taco! It was so delicious, but next time I’m going with the spiciest instead of second spiciest #drool.

My friend said she thinks she should plan her hang-outs with me to include food every 10-15 minutes because I’m a total food addict - she noted how she’s seen me looking at pictures of food on Tumblr *WHILE* eating food. The decision to going vegan has somehow exacerbated this tendency, probably because I’ve been trying harder to cook.

I had such a great vegan brownie from Bubby’s Kitchen. It was so moist and delectable.

My dinner plans were to hang out with one of my vegan friends and make dinner together. It was so much fun! We made aloo gobi sabji (potato and cauliflower sabji). The cauliflower was small, so it ended up being mostly potato. But it was quite delicious - I was struck by how yummy it was. We had it with some roti (Indian flatbread) that my mom had packed with me to Victoria out of the freezer (it contained some spinach and daikon, god I love daikon).

Best part of the food today: vegan gulab jamuns. My god, these are amazing! I found two streams of recipes veganizing gulab jamuns: one set tried to replace milk powder with soy milk powder but the one I chose tried to emulate the outcome but used totally different ingredients. Check it out here. It was honestly better than any non-vegan gulab jamuns that I have had (and I have had quite a few, I love them) - who would have thought? But I think the key is that it’s made using ground up almonds (fabulous) and I used coconut milk instead of almond milk/water which probably gave it an awesome kick - also there were pistachios in the centres. Apparently, veganizing can potentially mean more deliciousness. How revolutionary! My friend couldn’t even imagine how gulab jamuns could not be vegan (she hadn’t had non-vegan ones). I’ll need to give some to other people to try to verify deliciousness - maybe have this recipe peer-reviewed…#academicbrain 

The one thing I’m going to do different next time is probably purchase cardamom powder or de-shell it before grinding because I ground up cardamoms and the shells didn’t grind up completely so there was some pieces remaining. I would also use a deeper pan for the syrup because I couldn’t properly soak the gulab jamuns (they were still super yummy). I think the remaining ones that I put in the fridge may actually be more fully soaked up for tomorrow. I’m also going to coat them with shredded coconut.

Gah! I’m so happy right now! And I’ve been menstruating, which usually isn’t a fun time for me but I haven’t had cramps or discomfort this time around. It’s amazing! I’m not sure why exactly I feel so fabulous. Obviously, I’ve made a number of diet changes recently (i.e. going vegan or eating spoonfuls of almond butter). It may just be Victoria weather. It’s so awesome.

Well, I’m so tired, time for bed. <3 

My attempt at veganizing mataar paneer: curried chickpeas, peas, and tofu.

It was such a gong show trying to cook this (I’m a total failure of a cook apparently - I live tweeted it…). But it turned out meh. The chickpeas were dried & undercooked…but the peas were overcooked as a result. I fail…

I suppose at least it is edible. That and I have peach cider to make me happy. 

I’m having gulab jamun cravings and while my vegan pledge doesn’t start until Friday, my latest reflections on the subject make my stomach churn when I consider the “confectionization” of cow milk. I won’t bother getting into the details, but essentially I need to find a vegan way of satisfying my gulab jamun cravings.

I’ve found two recipes:

I’m leaning towards the latter one, mostly because oats in gulab jamuns seems so odd. But, I thought I would canvass to see if people have suggestions/ideas/recommendations/want to make me some gulab jamuns?

Vegan chai: Take 2. It’s absolute deliciousness now! 

I was talking to a friend about how it was bitter and over brewed last time, he came up with a great suggestion that really made this perfect.

These directions yielded exactly one cup of tea (cup being the cup I use to drink tea, not the measurement unit & this is what I refer to throughout the post when I say cup). 

First, I boiled the cardamom pods (broken up or crushed) and fennel seed in quite a bit of water. I put in 1.5 cups of water and let it boil until it was a greenish colour. The smell was amazing! At this step, you could also include cinnamon but I think I wouldn’t include fennel then (they don’t go very well together in my experience with chai).

Second, I added the almond milk and a tea bag (orange pekoe, black tea). I then let it boil until it was a nice brownish colour. I made sure to remove the tea bag without delay so it would not be bitter. This is different from cow milk, in that I would always put the tea bag in well before putting the milk in.

Following this approach was perfection. This is probably one of the best cups of chai I have ever had. Success! 

Pro-tip: keep stirring the chai even when its in your cup, it prevents this strange film from forming on top of it. 

Aside: yes the picture looks almost identical, but the taste is far superior.

Vegan chai! I swapped out milk for almond milk this week. I will learn to love it - or at least like it.

Chai Punjabi-style recipe: boil a black tea bag (I prefer Orange Pekoe) with cardamom pods that you have opened up or crushed until it turns a redish-black colour, then add milk until it begins to boil over, add sugar to taste and drink. I also added fennel seed for flavour during the first step.

The one thing I noticed about using almond milk is that it boils more like water than it does like milk. Generally, I can tell the chai is ready when the milk starts to boil over. But because my almond milk just kept boiling the way water does, I let it brew too long. This made the chai bitter. I will definitely watch it better next time so it doesn’t get bitter. Otherwise, it tasted just as delicious as chai always does.

Aside: aren’t my red snowflake PJs awesome? 

Homemade samosas! Yes, I have an amazing mother who takes time out to make delicious samosas.

The dough is made from flour, canola oil, celery seeds, cumin seed, and a small amount of water. My mom then rolled it out, cut out strips, stuffed with filling, and closed into your triangular-esque samosa shape.

The filling is mashed potatoes with various spices. She made it with the perfect zing of spice, it’s fantastic. Also, the thing that made these samosas the best is she put in fresh cilantro (which I absolutely adore).

The best part is I get to take a bunch to Victoria with me! Yay! And they contain no dairy, so vegan-friendly. 

Choley bhature (curried chickpeas/garbanzo beans & deep-fried roti). 

This is my absolute favourite! And I know I may (do) use the word favourite perhaps too loosely when it comes to food. But seriously, choley bhature are my #1 Favourite Food! I normally try to eat a reasonable amount instead of stuffing myself (surprising, I know, especially considering the pictures) but I totally over-ate & I put too much on plate so I didn’t even finish it.

Fun fact: I always put ketchup in my choley because it adds this lovely sweet & tangy flavour. And yes, I know, ketchup is horrible for you. But I’m eating deep-fried roti, so maybe it’s not a concern.

Gulab jamun.

These are made from a dough with flour and milk solids that have been deep-fried. Sometimes food colouring is added to make the inside a nice pink colour. They are then soaked in syrup.

These are too much deliciousness! 

My grandma got these gorgeous Indian outfits from India. I’ve been wanting this colour of green for a while, so I’m super happy that she picked it out. Also, the detailing is in purple, which I adore. I look forward to wearing them to a cousin’s wedding this summer!