You can rely on Indian cuisine for full flavoured vegetarian food. This veritable veggie feast combines familiar vegetables with more unusual Indian ingredients.
3 medium-sized beetroots, trimmed
½ butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1cm/½in cubes
1½ tbsp ghee
1 white onion, peeled, finely sliced
1½ tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
2-3 fresh small green chillies, chopped (remove seeds for milder taste)
125g/4oz gram flour (also called chickpea flour)
½ tsp asafoetida
bunch fresh coriander, chopped
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
sunflower oil, for deep frying
Place the beetroot in a saucepan, cover with water and boil for 20-30 minutes, or until soft. Peel away the skins, chop into 1cm/½in cubes and set aside. Meanwhile boil the squash until softened and set aside.
Heat the ghee in frying pan and fry the onion with a little salt until soft and golden-brown. In a separate pan toast the cumin, fennel and pomegranate seeds in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Add the chopped chillies, fry for one minute, and then add the softened onions. Stir to combine, and then remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, combine the gram flour, asafoetida, chopped coriander, bicarbonate soda and salt until well combined. Gradually whisk in enough water to form a batter - it should have the consistency of porridge. Fold in the beetroot and squash.
Fill a deep-fat fryer or large saucepan two-thirds full with oil. Test the temperature by adding a little blob of batter – when it rises to the surface the oil is hot enough. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Add dessertspoons of mixture to the oil and gently fry the dumplings for 8-10 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
For the curry, toast the chilli powder, turmeric and ground coriander in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Whisk the gram flour with a dash of water to make a loose paste. Spoon in the yoghurt and whisk until smooth. Add the spice mixture and cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until reduced and thickened. Season to taste with sea salt.
Meanwhile heat the ghee in a frying pan and fry the chopped red chillies, sliced garlic and mustard seeds until the seeds start popping and the garlic is golden-brown. Add to the yoghurt curry and stir until well combined.
Add the dumplings to the curry and reheat gently for 5-10 minutes, being careful not to break up the dumplings. Keep warm until serving.
For the puri bread, mix the flour, salt and carom seeds in a bowl and gradually add warm water until the mixture starts to form a ball. Turn out onto a surface lightly floured with plain flour and knead well for 5-10 minutes, or until smooth. Leave to rest in a warm place for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into 18 small balls, and then shape each ball into a thin disc, approximately 7cm/3in in diameter and 3mm/⅛in thick.
Heat the oil for deep-frying to 180C/350F and fry the puri in batches. As they fry, use a spoon to baste the puri with hot oil, then turn them in the pan, until crispy on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. The puri can be kept warm in the oven before serving.
For the salad, mix all of the ingredients until well combined and season to taste with sea salt.
Serve two or three dumplings per person and cover with the sauce. Add a large spoonful of cachumba salad and two or three crispy puri breads to each plate.
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