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Cooking at home with Parveen the spice queen Copyright: Other 3rd Party

The other recipe is using something that is a little more of an unusual ingredient – it is not always easy to find but cooked well, is delicious.

I am talking about okra, in my native language we call it bindi, also sometimes called Ladies Fingers (not sure why – no lady I know has fingers like that).

In my opinion Indian food lends itself to vegetarianism extremely well, there is a huge variety of recipes for vegetables, pulses and lentils to choose from.

Cooking at home with Parveen the spice queen Copyright: Other 3rd Party

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When teamed up with hot buttered naan or some fluffy steamed rice, these vegetarian dishes are so satisfying and so tasty that you will happily give meat a miss.

Vegetarian food has evolved so much, we now have a myriad of vegetarian options, in our supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants – gone are the days that the vegetation option used to be the obligatory uninspiring nut cutlet.

For me personally, I love Indian vegetarian dishes, I would happily have an Aloo Gobi, Tarka Daal, Saag Aloo or Chick Peas Masala as oppose to chicken masala.

So, let’s get straight on with the recipes and I hope you try these recipes, to help us all to cope with these trying times.

Stay Safe and Happy Cooking.

SPICY CHILLI EGGS WITH SPINACH AND POTATOES

This simple egg dish is great to cook when you have no time and need something quick, satisfying and best of all easy to make.

I serve them with buttered chapattis but when I am feeling lazy, I have them on toast – just as good!

1 medium onion – thinly sliced

1 medium potato – peeled and thinly sliced

2 tomatoes – sliced or chopped

2 tbsp vegetable cooking oil

1. In a frying pan, add the oil and gently fry the sliced onions and potatoes for 5 minutes. The potatoes are thinly sliced so they should be cooked at the same time as the onions.

2. Add the sliced tomatoes, salt, chilli powder and chilli flakes, cook by gently stirring with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes, the onions should be translucent and the potatoes nearly cooked.

3. Add the spinach and cook for 1 min, it will easily wilt.

4. Add beaten egg mixture into the pan and gently scramble for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Keep 
stirring to make sure that the eggs are thoroughly cooked.

If you want to add a handful of spring onions when you add the coriander, it will add to the taste as well as adding texture. You can make this same recipe without potatoes, just add double the amount of onions, they tend to taste slightly sweeter than this recipe.

I first made okra under my mother’s instruction when I was 15. Mum wanted me to learn to cook the summer before my O-Levels (yes, I am that old, now called GCSEs). Mum had told me when cooking vegetables to soak them after cutting, so that they didn’t discolour. I had taken this on board; I cut the okra and dutifully soaked it. When it was time to take the okra pieces out of the water, I realised I had created an almighty messy gloop! It was a disaster.

Even now when I cook okra, I can see the look of disdain on my mother’s face. I may have come a long way from the under confident, gangly teenager with a mono brow; but every time I make okra, I think of my mum and smile to myself.

Preparation Time: 10minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutess

500g of Okra (ladies fingers)

2 medium sized onions – halved & sliced

2 medium sized white potatoes – cut into 1cm cubes

2 tbsp of fresh coriander (optional)

1. Wash the okra whilst whole. Drain thoroughly, then wipe each individual okra with kitchen paper, ensuring that they are as dry as possible. Trim, top and bottom, then cut each okra into approx 2cm pieces.

2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan, add the Okra and stir fry for 5 minutes on high heat. They should crisp up slightly, drain and set aside. Discard the used oil.

3. In a separate non-stick pan, fry the onions and potatoes on high for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, chilli powder and salt and cook for further 5 minutes and stir periodically.

4. Add the Okra and stir all the ingredients together for 2 – 3 minutes.

5. Add the fresh coriander, cover with a lid and simmer for another 2 – 3 minutes. The potatoes should be soft and the okra should have kept its shape.

No water should be used in the this style of cooking of okra, you don’t want to make the mistake I made when first cooking it.

Water will make the okra ‘slimy’ but there are some cultures that prefer their okra that way. For added flavour and colour, I sometimes dice a red pepper and add to the dish at step 3.

Celebrating Vegetarian Week with Parveen The Spice Queen
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