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Vegetarian recipes, main courses

Bean Bourguignon

  • 300 g red kidney beans (dried)
  • 2 large onions, chopped finely
  • 300 g mushroom, washed and chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoon ghee or sunflower oil
  • 1/2 bottle red wine (no plonk please...)
  • 2 carrots, diced (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped very finely (optional)
  • Salt, pepper and thyme to taste

Serves 6

Soak the beans overnight, changing the water at least once.
Heat the ghee or oil in a large heavy bottom pot, fry the onions on medium heat until golden brown. Add the chopped mushrooms, the garlic, the carrot and the  spices. Keep cooking, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms are soft. Add the wine, the beans and enough water to cover the beans. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 90 minutes are until the beans are soft. 

Rice pulao

Fast food at its best! A handy meal in one go.

Serves 6 

  • 1 lb white basmati rice

  • 1 onion

  • 1 lb of chopped mixed vegetable (carrots, peas, french beans, broccoli, sweet corn, etc...)
  • 1 tablespoon black cardamom

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

  • a pinch of whole black pepper

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or sunflower oil

Get the cardamon seeds out of their shell and grind them coarsely with the black peper corn and the cumin seeds. Measure the volume of rice and prepare twice that volume of boiling water.
Heat up the ghee or oil in a heavy bottom pan and add the onion, spice mix and cook for two minute on medium eat. Add the other vegetables, and cook for another minute, then add the rice and stir fry for a minute or two . Add the water and the bay leaves, give on last stir, then cover and cook  on low heat until the rice has absorbed all the water (about 15 mn). 

Stuffed  courgettes, South Indian style

Delicious, colourful and very easy to prepare

Serves 6

  • 3 large courgettes

  • 100 g grated coconut

  • 2 tablespoons chick pea flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 pinch ground cumin

  • 1 pinch turmeric

  • 1 pinch of salt

  • 1 or 2 small chilli peppers, finely chopped (optional, omit for Pitta)

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 piece of ginger, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 cup organic yoghurt

Split the courgette and spoon out the soft flesh. Put aside.
Mix all the other ingredients with the flesh spooned out of the courgettes and stuff the courgettes. Steam the courgettes for 20 minutes. Serve with rice.

Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower curry)

A classic Indian dish.

Serves 6 - 8

  • 2 lb potatoes, diced

  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into small flowerettes the same size as the potato pieces

  • 1 onion

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1 piece of ginger, finely chopped

  • 1 pinch ground coriander

  • 1 small pinch chilli powder (optional, omit for Pitta)

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or sunflower oil

Heat up the ghee or oil in a heavy bottom pan and add the cumin and mustard seeds. When the seeds start popping, add the onion and the ginger and stir fry for a minute on medium heat. Add the potatoes stir fry for five minutes, then add the cauliflower, 1 glass of water and the remaining spices and stir. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally. until the potatoes are soft (about 25 minutes). Serve with rice or chapatis.

Upma/Uppittri (serves 15)

  • 750 grams white semolina

  • 2 cups urid dahl and yellow split peas

  • a few mustard seeds

  • 2 cups of cashew nuts

  • 1 cup of dried coconut

  • 6 carrots, grated

  • 6 onions, chopped finely

  • 5 tomatoes, diced

  • 10 green chillies

  • 1 tspn turmeric

  • 6/7 tspns salt crystals

  • 4 tspns sugar


Toast dry semolina in dry pan for taste and to dry out. Wait until smells toasted and becomes crystallised. (Organic may be more floury than non-organic.) Spread out to cool. In a dry pan add at least 4 tablespoons (200ml) of vegetable oil. Add a few mustard seeds until they pop, when they do add the split peas and dahl. Add chillies and onions after a couple of minutes. Then add cashew nuts. (Don’t allow the onion to brown – if it does, add a little water). When onions are translucent add the chopped tomatoes and cook until paste-like, then add the grated carrots.
Add water (3 parts water to 1 part semolina). Add salt to taste. When salt is dissolved add the coconut. (Can be served at this stage as soup, perhaps with added vegetables). When it comes to the boil again add the semolina. Stir constantly until it becomes solid.
Other vegetables can be added to this recipe. Garden peas are particularly good. Just be aware that they may release water and change the consistency.


  • 1½ kilos rice flour (half brown, half white)

  • 30-50g cumin seeds

  • salt to taste (approx 4 teaspoons were used here)

  • 8 red chillies chopped small

  • fresh coriander leaves to add at the end (si c’est pour Christophe pas de coriander!!!)

  • sunflower oil (2 teaspoons approx)

  • 8 medium size onions chopped small

  • luke warm water – add depending on texture

Mix all the dry ingredients then add water gradually and work into a paste (wetter than dough) then make up a ball per rotti. The paste won’t keep long so roll the balls immediately.
Use a banana leaf, plastic sheet or greaseproof paper cut in a disc the required size as support, oil it slightly then put the ball on and spread the rotti mix by patting it, making sure there are no holes and it is of even thickness.
Oil the top of the rotti, oil the heated pan and put it down, after a few seconds remove the sheet of paper carefully. Once the colour is even turn it over. Once both side are done, put to one side with a little butter on top to avoid it sticking to the next one.

Potato Curry /Aalu palya

  •  6 tsp Vegetable Oil

  • Black mustard seeds, just a few

  • 6 Onions, chopped finely

  • 7-8 chillies, chopped small

  • 1 cup of yellow split peas

  • 1 cup of urid dahl

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder

  • 1/3 teaspoon garam masala

  • 2 kg potatoes, cubed and pre-cooked

  • 6 tomatoes

  • 1½  teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

 Heat up the oil and throw in a few mustard seeds.
Once they pop, this means the oil temperature is correct and you can add the yellow split peas and urid dahl, and fry till they are slightly brown.
Add the onions and chillies once the peas/lentils are coloured but not brown.
Add the turmeric. Fry for a while.
Add the tomatoes, garam masala and red chilli powder.
Add the potatoes and salt.
Add water depending on the consistency.
Add the sugar and fresh coriander.

Eat! You could add pine nuts in just before serving, or fresh monkey nuts (peanuts) at the same time as the dahl and peas.

Thanks fo Yogacharya Venkatesh, from Mysore, for the three previous recipes.

Kichari (Kicheri)

A very easily digested mix of rice and dhal recommended by ayurveda for all digestive complains. It is a complete meal in itself. There are many recipes for Kichari, this one was given to me by Sri O.P. Tewari, of the Kaivalaydham yoga centre.

Serves 4

  • 1 cup rice (washed 7 times in cold water)

  • 1 cup mung dhal (washed)

  • 2 carrots, washed and diced

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1 piece of ginger, finely chopped

  • 1 very small pinch of asafoetida (if you don't like the very strong smell, and taste of asafoetida, or can't find it in an Indian store nearby, you can use garlic instead)

  • 1 pinch ground coriander

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or sunflower oil

Heat up the ghee or oil in a heavy bottom pan and add the cumin and ginger. Fry for a minute on medium heat. Add the rice and mung dhal, stir for a few seconds then add 4 cups boiling water and the remaining spices. Cook until all water is absorbed (about 15 minutes).

Broken Wheat and Vegetables (Serves 2)

  • 1 Cup broken wheat
  • 1/2 cup each of carrots/cauliflower/peas.  Chop the carrots and cauliflower in small bits
  • 2 1/2 Cup water
  • Salt, pepper, and ground cumin or chilli

In a thick bottomed pan roast the broken wheat on slow flame with a spoon of oil till it starts turning brown.  In another pan (non-stick), lightly stir fry the vegetables with a small spoonful of oil for 5 minutes.
When the wheat starts turning brown add the water, stir and cover the pan and leave to cook on a slow flame for 3 minutes.  Then add the vegetables, salt, pepper and a pinch of red chilli pepper or cumin if you like.
Stir, cover and continue cooking on a slow flame till the water dries up but dish should be moist.
Serve hot.

Indian Fried Rice (Vagharalo Bhat)

  • 1-2 cups cooked white or brown rice (basmati is tasty in this, leftover rice can be used)
  • 1 tbsp of ghee (see recipe below) or sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon broken in half
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
  • cooked lentils for extra protein (optional)
  • fresh coriander

In a frying pan heat ghee or oil until hot, but not smoking.  To test if  oil is hot enough drop in one cumin seed if it is ready the seed will pop.  Add cumin seeds and cinnamon.  Cook till fragrant  (about one minute).  Add onion and cook gently until onion begins to brown (if using garlic slices, cook gently for a few minutes, but do not let garlic brown).  Add ground coriander, cumin and turmeric - cook until fragrant about 3 minutes.  Add cooked rice and salt and cayenne to taste and mix thoroughly.  The rice will go a lovely yellow colour.  We would eat this with a saucy veggie dish and yogurt.

Thanks to Priya Patel, from Dublin for this recipe

Kerala Vegetable stew

  • 2 large cups of chopped vegetables (carrots, beans, potatoes, zucchinis, marrows, onions, peas, but no vegetable with a strong colour as this would ruin the appearance of the dish)
  • 2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil
  • 1 pod black cardamom
  • 3 pods green cardamom
  • a few peppercorns
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves, slightly crushed
  • 1 large piece of ginger cut into thin stripes

Parboil the vegetables and retain the stock.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add all spices, including the bay leaves and stir fry for a minute or so. Then add the ginger and continue frying for a few more minutes. Add the vegetables and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add two cups vegetable stock and one cup coconut milk and cook on high flame for 10 minutes, then lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are done.
Pour into a serving bowl and add a cup of  undiluted coconut milk. Serve hot with doshas, rice or bread.

Thanks to Tina, of Mysore, for the recipe!

Sri Lankan beetroot and carrot curry

Serves 4

  • 1 pound carrot
  • 1 pound beetroot
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seed
  • 1 cm off a cinnamon quill
  • 1/2 tsp Sechuan red pepper (optional)
  • a pinch of chili powder
  • a pinch of curry leaves (if you can get them)
  • sunflower oil

Roughly grind all the spices together in a spice grinder or a mortar.
Dice the carrot and the beetroot.
Heat the sunflower in a heavy bottom pan and add the spices. Stir for 30 seconds, then add the carrot and beetroot together. Stir for 2 minutes, then add a cup of water and the curry leaves, cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with red rice.

Barley with Shitake mushrooms

Serves 6

  • 1 pound barley
  • 50 g dried Shitake mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • a bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • Freshly grated ginger to taste
  • 1/4 cup organic soy sauce (Tamari or soyu)

Cook the barley in boiling water for an hour. Drain (keep the water, it makes a lovely soup) and put aside.
Soak the Shitake mushroom in warm water for 30 minutes, then drain (put the water aside, you'll need some later, and use the rest for a soup).
In a large wok, heat the sunflower oil and add the spring onions. Stir for a minute, then add the ginger, the Shitake mushrooms, 1/4 of a cup of water from the Shitake mushrooms and the soy sauce. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the barley, stir well and serve immediately.

Thai style potato curry

  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 1 tin  coconut milk
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • amchoor (dry mango powder) or if not available, the juice of 2 limes or lemons
  • 1 or 2 fresh green chillies, chopped  or a pinch of chilli powder (optional)
  • one piece of fresh ginger root
  • one onion
  • Fresh lemongrass (if available)

Serves 6

Peel and wash the potatoes and cut them into dices.
Chop the onion finely and fry in sunflower oil on medium heat until golden brown. Add the grated ginger, the lemon grass, chopped finely and the chopped chillies and fry for another minutes, stirring constantly, then add the potatoes, the coconut milk, the amchoor or lime juice, the tin of tomatoes and if needed water to cover. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and leave to stew for 35 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Serve with freshly cooked rice.

Thai style butter beans curry

In the recipe above, the potatoes can be replaced with 1 lb butter beans, soaked overnight then cooked for one hour in water.

Green Lentils with Spinach and Ginger

Bring to a boil in a pan of water with 8 oz green lentils (Puy lentils preferably), picked over, washed and drained. Cook for 40 minutes, then strain
In a large wok or pot, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil, put in 2 tablespoons of grated ginger and 2 or more squashed cloves of garlic and (if you like it hot) one or two chopped small green chillies.
Stir fry for a few seconds, then add one pound of fresh or frozen leaf spinach. Stir and cook until spinach is wilted.
Add lentils and 2 tablespoons of salt and cook gently for 15 to 20 minutes. Add black pepper, lemon or lime juice to taste, and serve immediately on a bed of brown rice.

Aubergine Stir Fry, Japanese style

  • 2 aubergines (egg plants), peeled, cut in four and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari (that the best, and most expensive type of soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup hijiki ( a special Japanese seaweed, which tastes like fish and looks like worms. It has to be soaked for half an hour in a cup of warm water. Don't throw the water away)
  • 2 chopped spring onions
  • 1 or 2 fresh green chillies, chopped (optional)
  • one piece of fresh ginger root or three cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat the sunflower oil in the wok, and then throw in, in this order the chopped spring onions, the grated ginger, the aubergines. Stir for a few minutes, until the aubergines start to soften, then add the hijiki with its soaking water (there a delicious variations with dried shitake mushrooms, used in the same way) and the tamari.
Cover and cook on low heat, stirring occasionnaly, until the aubergines are tender. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving if you wish. Serve with rice.

Yogurt Curry

  • 3 cups chopped mixed vegetables
  • 1/4 cup grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 table spoons of ghee
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • a generous pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup flour

Steam the chopped mixed vegetables but make sure they stay firm. Blend yogurt and flour with 1 cup of water. Cook the onion, garlic, ginger and spice on low heat in the ghee until golden brown. Stir yogurt and flour mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, then add the steamed vegetable and cook for one minute. Serve with Basmati rice.

More recipes:


Salads and starters

Main courses



Herbal teas

See also our article on Eating a yogic diet