Vegan Richa

Vegan Richa has a fantastic recipe blog that eased me into really loving Indian food. Last year when she announced she was looking for recipe testers for her new book Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, I quickly volunteered.

From May through October, I regularly tested Richa’s recipes. From dals and deserts to flatbreads and snacks, Brian and I were treated to some incredible food. Sometimes, when I knew I should be trying a new recipe, I would make one I already tested because I loved it so much. There are quite a few recipes in her book that I’ve already made multiple times.

So for all those blog posts when I didn’t post what we ate last night, it was because I was testing recipes.

One note, when I first started testing for Richa, I picked out recipes that had ingredients that were easy to find, or that I already had on hand. After a few months, I finally stocked my “Indian pantry” with Richa’s guidance (she explains ingredients at the beginning of the book) and a world of flavor opened up for me.

Dinner Last Night:
Masala Lentils from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. This dish is FANTASTIC! It wasn’t one of the recipes I tested, I just picked it out for dinner last night and it proved AGAIN how good Richa is. This dish is phenomenal, and I’m already looking forward to left-overs for lunch. Lucky for you, she’s allowed me to share the recipe with you (below)!

One other note. As a tester, I had to use the exact measurements in a recipe. I learned that my instincts weren’t always right and to trust Richa. If she says 3/4 teaspoon salt, that’s what it should be. Testers were allowed to lighten up the heat, (below I did 1/2 T sriracha and put the bottle on the table in case Brain wanted more) but otherwise stick to her measurements, she always nails it.

Masala Lentils
Sabut Masoor
Prep: 20 minutes | Active: 25 minutes | Inactive: 20 minutes | Serves 4

If you want to impress someone with a dal, make it this one. Don’t be afraid of the number of spices—it is quite simple to make. The spices and garlic are blended to a paste and fried in the oil. A hot sauce (chiles, garlic, and vinegar) in the tadka is another secret to getting the right flavor profile. Serve this as a part of a meal, or with rice or naan or other flatbread. (Recipe from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen Copyright © 2015 by Richa Hingle. Used by permission Vegan Heritage Press, LLC.)

3/4 cup brown lentils, washed and drained
2 cups water
2 to 3 teaspoons safflower or other neutral oil
1/2 cup finely chopped red or white onion
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves or 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon vegan butter (optional)

1. Combine the lentils with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Partially cover and cook over medium heat until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. 2. While the lentils are cooking, make the tempering. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
3. In a blender, combine the garlic, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, fenugreek, paprika, nutmeg, black pepper, sriracha, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend to combine well. Add this paste to the onions in the skillet. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, and cook until the tomatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Mash the larger tomato pieces.
4. Add the tempering to the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Garnish with cilantro and vegan butter, if using, and serve hot.

2015 Cost of Camping:
Through Thursday 6/18 – $93
84 night paid camping
82 nights free camping
166 days this year
Total spent: $1497.07
Daily average cost: $9.02

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  • Reply Marvad June 16, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I am enjoying reading about your travels. I follow the vegan recipes you post. You are one of a few vegan RVers!

    My husband Bob and I have been Esselstyn vegans-no-oil for 3 years. It is a challenge finding whole food plant based vegan recipes with no oil. We learned about Vegan Richa from THE HAPPY HEALTHY LIBRARY facebook page. We also have been testing some of the recipes on her blog. We just got Vegan Richa’s new cookbook this week. This cookbook has some oil, but it is easily left out. I will have to try the Masala Lentils (page 98) next. Thanks for the tip.

    I want to use this cook book to put together several (red, green, brown dals) with rice and naan for our “paleo” kids and grandkids. This cook book has all the recipes in one place. Richa is from Seattle… where we live! We just finished teaching Spring Quarter and are taking off in our Ford 450 and Host Cascade camper for a couple weeks. Best of travels to you too!

  • Reply Pam Wright June 16, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    So glad you are finally able to share!! Do you remember what the stew/soup you made for us that night we had fisrt had dinner together? It was from the cookbook. That was wonderful!

    • Reply Leigh June 17, 2015 at 7:07 am

      Did it have chickpeas and spinach? I’m guessing it was Chickpea Spinach Stew with Lentils & Quinoa which is one of my favorites…

      • Reply Pam Wright June 17, 2015 at 11:45 am

        Yes, I think that’s it. Do you have that recipe? Or is it on her website? Thanks!

        • Reply Leigh June 17, 2015 at 1:31 pm

          It IS on her blog:

          (and in the book of course)

          • Pam Wright June 17, 2015 at 5:09 pm

            Thanks! Yours was soupier (if that’s a word). Do you remember why?

          • Leigh June 17, 2015 at 6:50 pm

            Maybe the blog recipe is different than the book? I know she adjusted her recipes in the book to serve 4.

        • Reply Richa {} June 19, 2015 at 11:47 am

          that recipe is on the blog. For soupier just add a bit more water. Also the stew will thicken as it sits. It is soupier when just done and hot. the quinoa and lentils keep absorbing the liquid.

  • Reply Page June 17, 2015 at 6:19 am

    I love Vegan Richa! Thank you for being a recipe taster.

    I also adjust seasonings to suit our tastes, but the recipe basics are excellent.

  • Reply Richa {} June 19, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Thank you for being a tester Leigh! and i am so glad you are revisiting the recipes 🙂 Thank you for the wonderful review! <3 xoxo

    • Reply Leigh June 20, 2015 at 6:29 am

      Thanks Richa – I’m a huge fan!! 🙂

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