The answer was simple, the Indians have mastered the art of making a delicious dish from lentils and various vegetables plus simple snacks that can be used as an appetizer.
The main dishes l chose could be served as a separate meal or as a side dish for the meat lovers, l have included some of the recipes below and hope you will try them. They will become a must at our curry parties and family meals, in fact l enjoyed them so much and my plate was so full l didn't have any of the lamb Korma or pork Portugeuse curry.
The mixed dhal had 3 different types, toor dhal (yellow split peas) masoor dhal (red lentils) and moong dhal (split mung beans) these didn't need to be soaked and with a good rinse were ready to cook. The combination of spices and fresh garlic and ginger really perked it up. It was a satisfying delicious dish.It can be made ahead and also is suitable to freeze (just leave the coriander leaves out and add them just before serving)
The Nepalese vegetable curry was also a winner, of course you could use different vegetables, whatever is in season. We scooped it all up with home made Indian bread (paratha's) but the frozen ones would have been equally as good.
The side dishes were Yoghurt mixed with a little mint, a salad of chopped onion, capsicum - red and green, tomato wedges all sprinkled with a little sugar, white vinegar and a spoon of coconut added just on serving and of course delicious mango chutney.
All of the above was preceded by Onion Bhaji's, Cauliflower Pakoras (fritters) and pea and potato samosas.
We were too full for dessert but l did serve fresh fruit salad with mango icecream.
The recipes for Mixed Dhal and Nepalese Vegetable Curry are here :
1/2 cup (100 grams) toor dhal
1/2 cup (100 grams masoor dhal
1/2 cup (100 grams) moong dhal
2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
3 teaspoons black/brown mustard seeds
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
1) Rinse the dhal well and soak for 30 minutes
2) Heat the ghee in a large heavy based pan, add the mustard seeds stirring until they pop, add garlic
ginger and the onions. Cook stirring till the onions start to brown.
3) Add the ground spices, stir for l minute then add the drained dhal, tomatoes and stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the dhals are tender.
4) Just before serving add the pepper and coriander leaves.
Recipe for Nepalese Vegetable Curry
2 onions chopped 1 kg potatoes cubed
4 tablespoons ghee 1 cauliflower broken into florets
1 bay leaf 6 spring onions chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 2 cups peas
4 green chilles, chopped 6 tomatoes quartered
6 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped ginger 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons salt ( or to personal taste)
Heat the ghee and fry the onion till golden, add bay leaf, pepper, chillies, garlic, ginger, turmeric and salt. Stir in the potatoes and fry till browned. Add the remaining ingredients and a cup of hot water. Cook till all the vegetables are tender.
Note: Any other vegetables may be added or substituted for the list of ingredients