We were so grateful to have a cooking workshop with our dear student last week. Ex-teacher Shamima learnt how to make this delicious vegan Pakistani dish from her sister-in-law, Bashira Razaaq, back in Mandi Bahauddin where she grew up. She taught us in our Creative ESOL sessions at Levenshulme Old Library, where we learn English language in creative ways. We now want to pass it on to you. It is delicious and can be eaten fresh or kept in the fridge to be reheated for a few days. The spices are all available in local Asian stores across the country. Take a trip to your local worldwide food store and have an explore by buying the spices to make this new dish! These spices are also used widely in South East Asian and Indian cooking so hopefully it will inspire you to continue exploring the culinary delights of these countries.
For the Sauce
- Oil as needed
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 3 small red onions, sliced
- 1-2 small green chillies, with just one slice down the middle
- 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
- Salt as needed
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds (Zeera)
- 3 Goji berries
- 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
- a pinch of nigella or onion seeds (Kalvanji)
- a pinch of Ajwain seeds (like caraway seeds)
- 1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds (Methi)
- 1 medium sized piece of ginger, diced
- tap water as required for sauce
For the Besan (chickpea cakes)
- 2 cups gram flour (chickpea flour)
- 1/4 turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp Crushed red chilli flakes
- 1 tblsp Coriander powder
- 1 tsp dry methi leaves
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 fresh green chilli, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cups of sesame seeds, toasted
Fry onions until golden on medium heat. Then add all spices listed under sauce and goji berries (leave out green chillies – these go in at the end). Add chopped tomatoes. Fry till it makes a paste.
Then add water for sauce. Keep simmering for around 45 minutes. Keep replenishing the water when it reduces. You should aim for a sauce in with medium consistency.
Meanwhile, in a separate non stick pan add gram flour, coriander powder, salt, crushed red chilli pepper and turmeric powder and water (if gram flour is 2 cups then you add 4 cups of water).
Stir over the heat. Add chopped green chillies and white onion. Then sprinkle the dried methi leaves in.
Let this come to a thick mixture. This will take around 10 minutes.
When ready, drizzle oil in a large tray and spoon the thick mixture onto the tray.
Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top and leave to cool for about 10-15 minutes. Then, slice into squares.
When the sauce is ready (around 30 minutes simmering), add the green chillies.
take the squares of the gram flour and place gently into the sauce.
Let them boil for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Serve with fresh wholewheat chapatti and garnish with fresh coriander.