So, we’re getting to the end of the first week since I consciously made the decision to be vegetarian. I’ve not eaten any meat at all, despite a myriad of experiences causing trouble since last Friday. It was last thursday that I was talking to the Boy and reached a decision in my head about not eating meat, and that evening we went out for curry for one of his friend’s birthday. I generally haven’t eaten meat around the Boy since we started hanging out, and that hasn’t been a problem, but when we talked about it, and about his 8-ish years of being vegetarian, I think we could definitely have argued there, potentially. I’ve never been a militant meat-eater, and I’ve been veggie on and off over the years, and I think the main reason why I decided to do this now was because when we talked about vegetarianism and meat-eating, I couldn’t come up with a counter argument. Cutting meat out of my diet entirely shouldn’t be THAT difficult since I don’t eat much of it really. I like meat, but I also know that now I’ve set my mind to it, I want to stick to vegetarianism. I’m good at vegetarian cooking, and I find it more interesting that meat cooking. It’s so easy to cook meat and two veg type meals all the time, to have that model as a back up plan for any meal, and honestly its boring, and it’s not really the healthiest thing to be doing. I genuinely enjoy the challenge of being veggie.
SO, last thursday we went for Indian food in Brick lane, in a restaurant called Monsoon. There was a big group of us, with a large number of vegetarians, and although I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone yet, I had already pretty much made up my mind about not eating meat for good by that point. The Boy and I um-ed and ah-ed over the menu for ages. Pretty much everyone did, as we all got distracted by the giant bottles of Mongoose beer, and a pile of ridiculous trashy metal cds that the birthday boy had been given. Eventually I, the Boy, and almost every other vegetarian with us ordered a vegetable thali. I don’t normally like Indian food, or at least I’m picky about it, and since I don’t eat it much, I’m never quite sure what to pick when I’m in restaurants. The vegetable thali was perfect though. I’m a huge chickpea fan, and the fact that it had chana masala sealed the deal for me. Also there were PILES of it, huge amounts of food, which for someone who hadn’t eaten all day (yeah…bad habit there), was heaven. I can’t remember what else was in it, but it was pretty magical, and a really freakin’ great way to start on the veggie road. No regrets there.
Now, I know I said I’d post recipes, so here is one from happyherbivore.com which is an amazing site with a massive database of vegetarian and vegan recipes. This one is for Chana Palak Masala, since I was getting so dreamy over chickpeas:
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
- 12 ounces peeled whole tomatoes (canned)
- 15 ounces chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 12 ounces baby spinach, fresh
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp mild curry powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- a dash of red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
- 1 tsp garam masala
In a large pot, saute onions and garlic in 1/4 cup of water. Once onions are translucent, add spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes with their juices and broth. Cover and cook over medium heat until spinach cooks down and is deep green. Uncover and break tomatoes apart using a spatula or spoon. Add all spices except garam masala, also add lemon juice if using. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 garam masala and cook for 2 more minutes more. Taste, adding additional garam masala if desired plus salt and pepper if needed. Turn heat off and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Serve with whole wheat roti, naan or tortillas.
All credit for that goes to happy herbivore.com. Here’s the link to the original: http://happyherbivore.com/recipe/chana-palak-masala/
I’d really recommend checking their recipes out!