I used to wonder if my Indian dishes were up to snuff. It has been so long since I had been to an Indian restaurant, that I have nothing for a comparison. I usually rely on Rob’s opinion, who eats out more than I do. While on my many travels last year, I stumbled upon a highly rated Indian resto that had quite a few vegan options. I helped myself to the vegetarian platter and while I ate it, the only thing I could of was that I could make better Indian food at home. Not that the food was bad; only my curries are much better, if I may say so myself. Rob has taught me well. Furthermore, I can control the level of spiciness and the amount of added oil (no deep-fried belly aches), making dishes that are truly perfect for me.
Another advantage of cooking Indian at home is that you can go totally crazy, too. Crazy in the foodie-sense, of course. Have you ever seen an Indian dish with noodles? Italian meets Indian. Sounds like a perfect description of Joanne, who shared the lovely recipe.
Here, we have spiced zucchini and chickpea meatballs (aka kofta) that are baked, not fried. They are served overtop a tomato-curry sauce. The next question was what to serve this with. You could go with rice to return to the Indian base, but Joanne served it with polenta. I wanted to continue with the Indian spaghetti theme. Therefore, I used zucchini noodles and made a raw almond parmesan topping. Cooked meets raw. Zucchini on zucchini. Craziness, pure craziness, I tell you… but all in a good way. :)
If you think I am just tooting my own horn, I urge you to try our favourite Indian dishes and decide yourself:
Nepalese Mountain Lentil Curry (Dal Bhat)
Split Pea Dal with Ginger and Lime
Indian Lentils with Spinach (Dal Palak)
Plantain, Cabbage and Coconut Curry with Split Pigeon Peas (Indian Cabbage and Plantain Kootu)
Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango (Mango Curry with Toor Dal)
Indian Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Chickpeas (Baingan Bharta with Chickpeas)
Indian Eggplant and Lentil Curry (Dal Bhat Meets Baingan Bharta)
Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew (Aarti’s Indian Summer Stew)
Cauliflower, Spinach and Chickpea Balti
Indian Chickpea and Collard Roulade with a Tomato-Mustard Sauce
Malai Koftas with Chaat Masala
Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras
Zucchini “Meatballs” and Tomato-Curry Sauce with Almond Parmesan (aka Vegan Indian Spaghetti and ‘Meatballs’)
Adapted from Joanne Eats Well with Others, who adapted it from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking
4 medium zucchini, about 2 pounds, divided (or 1.25 lbs zucchini plus pasta)
1/2 tsp salt
1 hot green chili, seeded and minced
2 large onions, peeled and very finely minced (3 tbsp finely minced onion reserved)
1.5 tsp peeled and very finely grated ginger
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
14 oz can of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 cup almond milk (or your choice of nondairy milk)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt, to taste
1/4 cup almond Parmesan (recipe here)
1. Wash, trim and grate half of the zucchinis. Place it into a colander and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Set the colander overtop a bowl and allow to drain for half an hour or more.
2. Preheat your oven to 400F.
3. Using a spatula press out as much liquid as possible, reserving the liquid for your sauce.
4. Combine the dried zucchini with the green chili, 3 tbsp onion, grated ginger, and parsley. Sift the chickpea flour over the vegetable mixture. Mix well and form into 16 balls, approximately 1″ in diameter, squeezing them tight.
5. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush olive oil overtop the zucchini balls. Place on a silpat or parchment paper on a large baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through.
6. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. When hot, add the remainder of the minced onions. Stir and saute for 7-8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn brown at the edges. Add the turmeric, cayenne, ground cumin, and ground coriander, stirring for another 5 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini juice (about 1 cup, adding more water if necessary). Increase heat and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and let the sauce simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the almond milk, garam masala, 1/2 tsp cumin, and salt to taste, stirring to incorporate. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
7. With your 2 remaining zucchini, spiralize them. Or go boil your pasta. Set aside until needed.
8. Meanwhile, prepare your almond Parmesan (recipe here).
9. To serve, plate zucchini noodles, cover with tomato sauce, top with zucchini meatballs and sprinkle with almond Parmesan.