Sunday, 16 November 2014

Almond Masala Stew

Almond Masala Stew with a chapatti and a bit of plain yogurt

Are you frantically hungry and wanting something delicious in a big hurry?  Within fifteen minutes you can be munching on this vegan delight, or perhaps vegetarian, if you add a little butter or cream. Spicy, filling and healthy, it will warm you completely on a cold winter’s day.

The only hitch is that the basis of the stew is my Emergency Masala Tomato Sauce, which you really should have in large quantities in your freezer.  Failing that, I suppose you could make a facsimile with a jarred tomato sauce that you doctor up by frying onions and  garam masala, then dumping in the sauce to heat through.  But don't get me started on factory foods...

You can serve this with rice, but start beforehand, because this almond recipe will be done before the rice is cooked.

½ cup almonds
2 cups emergency masala tomato sauce (frozen is ok)
1 bunch of spinach leaves (or a box of frozen) (optional)
1 small splash of water, if needed
1 tablespoon whipping cream or butter (so optional!)

Toasting almonds takes just a couple of minutes.
Toss the almonds into a blender and buzz for about thirty seconds.  A combination of powder and bits will provide the right taste and texture.

Put a non-stick sauce pan on medium high heat.  Add the almonds.  (I later use that almond powder left in the blender for warm almond and cardamom milk, but that’s another recipe.) Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the almonds around for a couple of minutes to ensure they get toasty and golden, then add the sauce. 

If the sauce is frozen, keep the heat high, and stir and flip over occasionally to help thaw.  You may want to add a couple of spoons of water if there’s a danger of the almonds burning if the sauce isn’t melting fast enough.  If you’re using frozen spinach, add it while tomato is still frozen.

Keep the tomato sauce boiling till it’s reduced and somewhat thick.  If fresh spinach is desired, add it late in the process to keep it green. Spinach takes less than five minutes to heat through and soften up slightly.  If you’re going to indulge in cream or butter, add just before serving, giving it just time to warm through.

Fifteen minutes later and you’ll be experiencing heaven.  This makes a great breakfast, lunch or light supper.  If you haven’t started a batch of Emergency Masala Tomato Sauce, do it now!  Recipe for butter chicken will be coming along soon, and you’ll need it for that too! 
Another time I omitted the spinach but served it with kerela, curd and a chapatti. Another delicious lunch for me!

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