The Vegetarian


Rice is one of the easiest dishes to make, it stores well, and is very versatile. It can be served with curries or stir-fries, or even added to soups to make them more filling. If you choose a healthy variety it can be very nutritious.

The healthiest varieties include Basmati and Doongara for a low glycaemic index. In general Brown rice, red rice, wild rice is better than white rice, and long grains are better than short grains. However, it is not always that straightforward. The following website has the most complete listing of rice glycaemic indices I have found:

Keep in mind that glycaemic index is not the only determinant of the "healthiness" of a food. Brown rices, red rices and wild rices also tend to have more vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Cooking rice is simplest if you have a rice-cooker, and in general if you are going to eat rice quite regularly a rice-cooker is essential. Having a rice-cooker means that you can set it and walk away to prepare something else. While the rice is cooking you can have the rest of your meal prepared and easily have a great meal prepared in 30minutes.

However, if you do not have a rice-cooker try this method for cooking rice.

Wash 2 cups of rice and place in pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to the boil, and then turn down to a slow simmer and cover with a lid. A glass (transparent) lid makes the process easier still. The rice will need at least 20 minutes, when the grains appear cooked and the water all absorbed, let it stand for a further 10 minutes with the lid on - this helps the rice to fluff up and come away from the sides of the pot. Finally, use a wooden chopstick to stir the rice and break it up before serving.

Rice will keep for a couple of days in the fridge after cooking, and can easily be microwaved after sprinkling with a little water to bring it back to its original fluffiness. It cannot be kept warm for more than a few hours or it will spoil - it develops a rancid smell, and the moist areas become sticky to touch.

Tips for particular rices:
Old rice - the older the rice the more water it absorbs in cooking.
Basmati rice - requires more water than other rices, usually use about 1/2 cup extra compared to other rices
Red rice - commonly used in Sri Lanka, may be quite fibrous in texture so mix half and half with a white rice when first trialling. Be careful you may have to check for stones in this rice.

While the rice is cooking... boil an egg, cook a quick lentil curry, add some frozen peas or some salad sprouts (alfalfa etc)... and you've got a meal in 30minutes.


-follow the link for the recipe.

Zucchini & Carrot Pakora

Pakoras are the well-known Indian deep-fried fritter. This recipe is easily adapted for any vegetable, and any combination of spices (try cumin, coriander and fennel for a more Indian flavour) can be used depending on your own taste preferences. I like to shred or grate the vegetables, but the usual recipes use slices or small pieces of the vegetables.

1 zucchini grated coarsely

1 carrot grated coarsely

2 spring onions, finely sliced.

handful of besan flour

1/2 teaspoon of allspice

1/2 teaspoon of curry powder

salt and pepper

Mix the zucchini, carrot, spring onion, allspice and curry powder together. Add besan flour a little at a time until you have a sticky dough holding the vegetables together. This is best done with your hand rather than a spoon. Add the flour slowly and sift if it is lumpy so that you don't have lumps in the mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shallow fry tablespoons of the mixture at a time, turning until golden brown on both sides. Note the usually pakora is deep-fried but I find this is usually unnecessary with grated vegetables.

Drain on some paper towels and serve with a tomato salsa or tomato chutney.



Stir-fried Leaves

This recipe can be used with a variety of different leaves. Try with sweet potato leaves, kankung (chinese water spinach) and silver beet leaves.

Follow the link above for the recipe.

 Quick Stir-fried Cabbage with mustard

Not many people really like cabbage... but I promise this recipe is possibly the quickest dish I have ever invented, and it is still healthy and tasty. Cabbage is usually quick to prepare because the leaves require so little cleaning! - if the outer leaves need cleaning and you are time-poor, you can just throw them out rather than cleaning them. Dunk the rest in some water and do a quick check for insects.

2 teaspoons of olive oil
1/4 of a cabbage - sliced into 1/2 centimetre strips
1/2 an onion - thinly sliced
1/2 a tablespoon of masterfoods whole grain mustard - (If you cannot find the masterfoods mustard then try other brands, or use mustard seeds)

+/- 1 tomato diced.
+/- 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
+/- handful of curry leaves
+/- red chilli flakes to taste
salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick wok, add the cabbage and onion. Stir continuously until the cabbage has a translucent glossy appearance, add the mustard (and other ingredients - though these are not essential), and salt and stir until mixed through. Taste test a piece of cabbage, add more salt and taste test again.

Note: you must use a large wok; if there is not enough surface area in the wok the cabbage tends to boil and goes mushy instead of frying. If you only have a small frying pan, then halve or quarter the recipe, make less at a time!

If you use mustard seeds rather than the bottled variety, you should add some curry powder to enhance the flavour, and consider adding some diced tomato at the end.

-note how little moisture should be present in the pan while cooking.

 Coconut roti

-follow the link for the recipe

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