RECIPE: Mowgli’s Vegan Bunny Chow
In 2014, barrister Nisha Katona, a dedicated curry evangelist, had a nagging obsession to create a restaurant serving the kind of food Indian people eat at home and on the street. She gave up her 20-year career in law (she had been the first female Indian barrister in Liverpool) to build Mowgli Street Food. It began in Liverpool, where it blew away the critics, and quickly moved to Birmingham, where it has garnered legions of fans and an amazing following.
Nisha’s April cookbook- Mowgli: Stories and recipes from the Mowgli Street Food restaurants– turns conventional curry stereotypes on their heads. The simple and creative dishes of a Mowgli menu are a million miles away from the traditional takeaway. These recipes convey the truth that real Indian food is healthy, often vegan, and always packed with fresh flavour.
With more and more people turning to Vegan dishes, we’re sharing this vegan Bunny Chow recipe with you from Nisha’s April cookbook- Mowgli: Stories and recipes from the Mowgli Street Food restaurants.
The critical part of this dish is the loose and punchy sauce that is absorbed into the bread. The oozing spiced bread then becomes the focus and the chickpeas/garbanzo beans are along for the ride.
PREP: 10 MINUTES • COOK: 45 MINUTES • SERVES 4
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
2 white onions, finely diced
5cm/2 inch piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1½ tbsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
⅛ tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp ground turmeric
400g/14oz can tomatoes
2 large Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm/¾ inch chunks
2 x 400g/14oz cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp strong Darjeeling tea
1 tsp salt
1 tsp caster/granulated sugar
1 small mango, peeled and cut into small chunks
200g/7oz spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 small bunch of fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped
WHAT TO DO
1 Put the vegetable oil in a large heavy saucepan set over a medium-high heat.
When hot add the cumin seeds and fry until they turn brown and fragrant, then
add the bay leaves, onion, ginger and garlic and fry for 8 minutes until the onions
are soft and dark brown.
2 Add the garam masala, cumin and coriander and cook for 2 minutes, then add the chilli powder, ground turmeric, canned tomatoes, chopped potatoes, chickpeas, Darjeeling tea, salt and sugar and simmer gently for 20–25 minutes until thick and tangy. Add the fresh mango and simmer gently for 5–10 minutes until the mango softens a little.
3 Finish by stirring through the shredded spinach leaves and chopped coriander.
Mowgli Street Food: Stories and recipes from the Mowgli Street Food restaurants, by Nisha Katona is out now © Nourish Books, 2018. Hardback, £25.
Commissioned photography © Yuki Sugiura