Deviled Chickpeas – Kadala Thel Dala

Deviled Chickpeas - Kadala Thel Dala from The Lotus and the Artichoke - SRI LANKA vegan cookbook

This is another one of my favorite, quick-and-easy Sri Lankan recipes. I tried many versions of this spicy chickpea curry dish all over Sri Lanka during my 10 week adventure all across and around the island.

You can serve it as a main dish, but technically it’s a short eat (the Sri Lankan term for snack or appetizer or small meal.) Like most short eats, it’s a common snack from street food vendors, but also appears on restaurant menus and is often available from many take-out places… and on buses as a cheap finger food snack – in it’s much drier variation.

Traditionally it’s not served in a curry sauce, but is made “dry”. (This is something I found a lot in India and Sri Lanka — also with dishes such as Vegetable Manchurian or Gobi 65, and such.) I like cooking Kadala Thel Dala all kinds of ways, but usually make it without a really runny, liquid-y curry. Limiting the amount of chopped tomatoes (and cutting larger pieces) as well as using enough grated coconut (to soak up liquid) gets the chickpea curry to desired consistency. Note that rinsing and draining your chickpeas very well before cooking will help, and adding a few minutes of stir-frying on high, while constantly stirring, will also get rid of excess liquid.

Like my Jackfruit Curry, this dish is very popular with all types of eaters, it can be made spicy or not spicy (great for kids!), and is an excellent introduction to Sri Lankan flavors. It’s another one of my go-to recipes for dinner parties, cooking classes, cooking shows. I make it at home pretty often, too.

In addition to being in my third vegan cookbook The Lotus and the Artichoke – SRI LANKA, it’s been published in several vegan magazines in Germany. It’s such a simple and satisfying recipe. Also I love this photo! The little green hand-painted demon guy is on a decorative wooden thing I picked up at a shop in touristy – but gorgeous – Galle Fort, not too far from Unawatuna, and where we spent our last two weeks on the southwest coast in the beach village of Dalawella. Continue reading

3 Bean Cajun Chili

American South: 3 Bean Cajun Chili - The Lotus and the Artchoke

 I’ve been making vegetarian chili like this 3 Bean Cajun Chili since my young days of vegetarianism in the early 1990s. Even before that, my mom used to make chili for the family quite often. Especially after I went vegetarian as a teenager, we’d experiment with different variations. Me and my brothers loved it, and still do. I’m sure after I went off to college my Dad and brothers started putting meat back in the chili, but the cool thing is: Almost all of us follow a mostly plant-based diet now. In fact, I just sent this recipe to my dad last month when he asked me for more veggie dinner ideas. Times change!

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Ginger Lemon Chickpea Sprouts

Raw: Ginger Lemon Chickpea Sprouts - The Lotus and the Artichoke

This is an all-raw variation on one of my favorite, traditional Indian snacks — roasted chickpeas. Actually, my earliest memory of roasted chickpeas is having them served as part of breakfast at the Hare Krishna temple in Philly in the early 90s.

Years later, when I really got into raw foods, I was sprouting just about everything I could find. I’ve experimented a lot with sprouted chickpea houmous and I love chickpea sprouts in salads. That said, they’re not for everyone. Try it and see if you like the fresh, raw, nuttier flavor. On their own they taste a bit weird, but the ginger and lemon and pinch of spices brings out a nice, zippy flavor to go with the crunch. Earth-crunchy, that is.

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