Vegan Mutter Paneer – Spiced Peas and Tempeh curry from Vegan Indian Cooking Book

Vegan Mutter Paneer - Spiced peas and Tempeh | Vegan RichaVegan Indian Cooking by Anupy Singla.- Book Review

This is one book that is a must have if you are trying your hand at Indian cooking, or trying to add interesting balanced meals to your vegan food repertoire. The book has 140 recipes with all the day to day, some known names, some new recipes.

There is a good distribution of recipes from different regions, with a bit more on north indian recipes. The recipes are not heavy handed on high fat ingredients and get you the delicious Indian end result.
The book starts off with some basic information about Indian food, Spices 101 and 102, pantry items, tools, varieties of lentils and legumes, then gets into the spice mix recipes, make ahead dry and wet spice mixes and so on.
The breakfast section has Stuffed breads/Parathas you want to try. As whole wheat grains are easily avialable in most parts of India, wheat flour(atta) flat breads are an accompaniment to most meals. You can use the wheat Roti dough as in the book, or if you have a favorite glutenfree flat bread dough, that can be easily subbed as well.
There is a nice Snack section, with Samosas and Pakoras with baked versions(nice!), some Chaat (street salad) items and more. I will be making so many other recipes from the book like the brown rice and adzuki bean Dhokla.
Since I am North Indian, and already familiar with Indian cooking terms, spices and methodology, I cannot guarantee the ease of the recipes. You can read the reviews on Amazon here which confirm my thoughts about the intuitive and uncomplicated way the book has been written. An Indian cookbook would be in trouble if I couldnt understand the recipes 😉
There is a section dedicated to Slow cooker recipes for beans, legumes and lentils. Salads, quick sides, Daals and some authentic curried preparations to add to your slow cooker options. The vegetable section also has plenty of variety. The usual gobis(cauliflower, cabbage), potatoes, eggplants, okra, peas, mushrooms and greens all make an appearance. Of course, I would have loved some more regional recipes and dessert/Indian sweets section, but thats me being greedy. I think Anupy might come out with a dessert book next. You can also find a good collection of vegan indian recipes, main meals and desserts too on my blog ;). Photo collection here.
Anupy also offers Indian spices and Spice Tiffin(Masala Dabba) on her website. You can also find Anupy on Facebook here, where she regularly posts giveaways, tips and recipes.
You can snag a copy of the book on this post. See the end of the post for more details.
I find it difficult to follow recipes from an Indian cookbook:). I picked up indian cooking intuitively, unlike bread baking, which I picked up with a lot of reading, understanding the composition of things and practice. So I end up making slight changes here and there when cooking from an Indian book. Its like a fight between intuition and rules.
Anupy follows a mostly Vegan diet. Her first book, Indian slow cooker, is not vegan. That did put me off a bit, but I looked at this book as a good resource for anyone transitioning to a plant based diet or trying to add more balanced plant based meals.
Indian food, if served the way our parents and grand parents have followed, mostly vegan, easily vegan-ized, and already well balanced, makes the transition so much easier. As Anupy also points out, the day to day home made Indian food is always less greasy/creamy and more fresh, healthy and balanced unlike in restaurants.
What do you think about certain diet cookbooks by authors who do not follow the diet?
Lets get to the recipe. Shall we :)
Oh wait. Tap on head for forgetting to add.. Happy Independence day to fellow Indians!
Ready go. Book, check. Ingredients, check. Music, check.
I made a smaller portion of the recipe. Most steps are the same as Anupy’s recipe. I used less oil, cardamom powder instead of black cardamom and Tempeh instead of Tofu, and omitted the tomato paste.
In a pan, add 2 teaspoons of organic canola oil or coconut oil. Just enough to coat the pan. Heat on medium for half a minute. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and 1 cinnamon stick. Cook till fragrant.
Add onions, chopped ginger, garlic, chile pepper, turmeric powder.
Mix and cook until golden. uncovered, on medium heat.
Add garam masala, coriander powder, chili powder. Mix and cook for half a minute.
Add chopped tomatoes, salt and cook for 10 minutes until tomatoes are mushy.
Add Tempeh cubes and 1+ cup water, enough water so it almost covers the tempeh.
Cook covered on low-medium for 10 minutes. Add frozen or fresh peas. Cook covered for another 10 minutes.
Taste and adjust salt and spices. Adjust water content. If the curry is too watery, cook uncovered for 3-5 minutes.
Top liberally with fresh chopped cilantro and serve with Rice dishes, Roti or Naan. My Regular Naan and Glutenfree Naan. Similar Indian curries stews from my blog here.
Mutter “Paneer” – Spiced Peas and Tempeh Curry.
Adapted from Vegan Indian cooking. Reproduced with permission. Serves 2-3
Gluten, dairy, egg, nut free recipe
2 teaspoons organic canola oil or coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 2 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 medium onion chopped(I used half red half white)
1 inch ginger finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic cloves chopped
1 Serrano chili pepper chopped( or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder(or 1 black cardamom pod)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
3/4 teaspoon garam masala powder(to taste)
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder( to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
2 large tomatoes chopped
4 oz Tempeh(fermented soybean patty) cubed small about 3/4 cup
1+ cup water
2/3 cup peas
1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish.
In a medium pan, add oil and heat on medium.
Add Cumin seeds, cinnamon stick (and cardamom pod if using) and let cook for half a minute until fragrant.
Add onion, ginger, garlic, chopped chile pepper, and turmeric. Mix and cook, stirring occasionally until golden. 4-5 minutes.
Add garam masala, coriander powder, chili powder( and cardamom powder if using). Mix well and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add in the tomatoes, cook for 7-8 minutes until tomatoes are mushy.
Add in the Tempeh, salt, water, mix and cook covered on low-medium heat for 12 minutes.
(If using Tofu, add baked Tofu and add peas and cook for 10 minutes).
Add the peas and cook for another 10 minutes covered on low.
Adjust salt, spices and water content. Remove cinnamon stick. Continue to simmer for another few minutes if too watery. A bit more simmer time also helps the tempeh cook and absorb the spices.
Garnish liberally with Cilantro and serve hot with Rice dishes, Roti or Naan. My Regular Naan and Glutenfree Naan.
To make it soy-free, replace tempeh with chunky veggies like cauliflower, potatoes or Mushrooms.
Disclaimer: This book was sent for review by Anupy’s publishers. The opinions and pictures are my own.
The Publishers are giving away 1 copy of the book to one of my blog readers!.US only
2 ways to enter.
1. Leave me a comment below about what do you find challenging about cooking Indian food. Or if you have a question for Anupy. (Click on I did this on the widget to Enter)
2. Tweet about the giveaway. (Click on I did this on the widget to Enter)
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    • says

      What do I find most challenging about Indian Cooking? First off, collecting all the needed ingredients, and secondly, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to make an Indian dish, unfortunately. But, with my food-adventurous husband that is more than willing to eat Indian food, as well as being willing to eat a few vegan meals with me, I look forward to making these dishes when he comes back home from Afghanistan. I have to say, I feel pretty lucky to be with a gent that doesn’t turn his noes at foods that deviate from the hot dog, hamburger, pizza and fast food normals of our area.

    • says

      That is awesome that your husband is adventurous and likes to try vegan meals! Indian food is very flavorful and hopefully you all will be able to eat more of it!

    • says

      i forgot to say what is most challenging about making indian food! i think it would be that it seems so much different than any other cuisine with directions that can be somewhat detailed and complicated.

  1. says

    we have been excited about trying new foods here in our home… my 12-year-old daughter is vegetarian, & i have cut back on my own non-whole foods eating… cooking for us as a family is challenging in general, but even more so as we expand our tastes… trying Indian foods & all the varying flavors is exciting but sometimes not received well by the entire family as they have become stuck in a rut of eating badly or just refuse to try new things… anyway, my daughter & i are extremely excited about our changes, including trying varied ethnic foods… so, thank you for your posts…

    • says

      Thank you Angelus. Any change is difficult at first. I hope you all can find a good balance of foods that you all like which are more whole foods and vegetarian.

  2. says

    Sometimes cooking vegetables which doesn’t have alot of flavor is a big challenge for me. I would SOOO love to win this book! I am crossing my fingers :)

    • says

      I feel that the meats take a lot more salt and spices to taste good and a lot longer to cook. Add the same meaty spice mixes and the veggies will pick on the flavor:)

  3. says

    I love Indian cooking.Infact I have been trying to make all my dishes vegan and also oil free.I although wish there were more healthy baking options.I loved Anupys book.Infact did eajma in slowcooker and its the best I have ever eaten texture wise..

    • says

      Thats awesome! I really like the baked recipes and the book is a good collection without getting overly complicated. I have heard that kidney beans shouldnot be cooked in a slow cooker. Too much conflicting information :)

  4. says

    This book would be an amazing addition to my collection. I have been learning about Indian cuisine for the last 10 years, and the most difficult challenge is getting past the rich cream/yogurt/ghee filled dishes and finding equally delicious recipes that are also vegan. I would really love a copy of this book to broaden my knowledge of VEGAN Indian Cuisine!

  5. says

    My challenge with Indian food is patience! I want to put everything in and be done, but you really need to take the time to do each step right for the flavors to develop properly. A good cookbook would sure help me learn the basics!

    • says

      you’ll like the slowcooker portion of the book then. That calls for putting things in the cooker and coming home to a delicious aroma of a ready meal!

  6. says

    I have quite the vegan cookbook collection, but this one is so different from the others! I don’t mind the fact that she’s not exclusively vegan- at least she’s showing the world how delicious vegan food can be and if that inspires someone to eat more vegan meals, even if they don’t go entirely vegan, that’s ok by me :)

    • says

      i understand that. There is definitely a need for slight adventure with the tastes. Luckily my husband and even my parents are quite open to it.
      Thank you for the wishes!

  7. says

    I find that the use of the different spices are challenging, especially when I grew up with a 3 spice only cabinate (basil, oregano and pepper) so using new spices is always challenging as to how much and when to add,


    • says

      That is probably true. :) you can start with just the spice blends. Make a few easy dry stir fries with garam masala and then plan to get a few key whole spices:)

  8. says

    Very interesting that you substituted paneer with tempeh. Will make a note. there is always someone who is looking for vegan substitutes, thank you for sharing.

  9. says

    I love Indian food! Thank you for hosting the giveaway. The book looks wonderful. The thing I find challenging about cooking Indian food is figuring out how to store my asafoedita so that the smell does not take over my kitchen completely!

  10. says

    I love Indian food so I’m always on the lookout for any veganized dishes. Anytime I cook a dish on my own without following any recipe, I always reach out for the typical Indian spices which usually come out successful but not always, so I feel this would be a wonderful book to help me perfect the flavors of my favorite dishes and as a guideline on how to combine flavors whenever I choose to be creative and come up with new recipes. My greatest challenge though is making a dish sattvic (no onion, garlic, mushroom, chilli peppers) without losing the essence of it. I’m grateful that you feature many Indian recipes on your blog which is a refreshing look at food from American perspective. Blessings always, Nithya Satyaswaroopan

  11. says

    I love Indian food, but I’m sometimes intimidated by trying to find new or unusual (to me) ingredients. There’s an Indian grocery nearby but I don’t always know where to find things and am often too nervous to ask (afraid of looking like the dumb white girl). Fortunately, people seem to notice my confusion and take pity on me (the other day a kind soul pointed me toward the asafoetida… I never would have found it otherwise). I’m starting to know my way around; I know where to find the curry leaves, the tamarind paste, etc., but it’s taken me a while!

  12. says

    the mutter paneer looks so tempting. I love indian food but my challenge is to find the perfect combination of spices so it taste home-cooked meal that reminds me of my mothers cooking. every time i make it, its either over spicy or under spicy :(

  13. says

    In my case is to get the spices right. The range of flavors are so balance when somebody that knows how to do it cooks, there’s a roundness to it.
    This recipe looks great, I will either wait for a cooler weather or blast the AC :)
    Also my son loves to help in the kitchen and smell everything so it will be fun to do.
    Thanks :)

  14. Anonymous says

    The hardest part for me is making something like this without having to go to a specialty market – wish I knew what to just keep on hand. I would really enjoy this cookbook as I love Indian food and I am new to following a plant-based diet. What a great giveaway. Thank you!
    Kim -at- TeamJaneHayes -dot- com

  15. Susan says

    just don’t have a lot of practice w/it. i made my own garam masala not too long ago and will use it when i make a version of this dish with tofu this weekend. i’ll use fresh peas from trader joe. :)

  16. says

    I LOVE Indian food!! The most challenging thing about it is the time it takes to prepare it. No doubt, the time is certainly worth the end prize but when I don’t have a lot of time I like quick and easy. I love the flavors that are in Indian food though. I usually just pay good money and eat it when I am out. I do keep a bottle of curry powder and garam masala in my spice rack though 😉

  17. Anonymous says

    The most challenging part of cooking Indian for me is finding all of the ingredients – esp. the spices.

  18. says

    I agree with the most challenging part of Indian cooking to be finding the ingredients! My Asian grocery is pretty well stocked, but there are some things I just can’t find.

  19. says

    The planning ahead and spices are the most challenging for me in Indian cooking. I just need to work past that block. Your photos and blog are an inspiration!

  20. says

    Your photos above are BEAUTIFUL! I think my biggest challenge is getting the spices right. I have a tendency to follow intuition and not recipes which usually means things are too flavorful or not flavorful enough. I am super excited about this cookbook! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  21. says

    i wish i stayed in the US 😉 would have loved to get this book, especially with all the disasters i have in the kitchen veganizing indian sweets and bakes. indian dals, veggie dishes and curries is not difficult to veganize. thankfully at home now we have stopped using ghee completely. milk and curd is still there and paneer i avoid, much to the family expectations :-)

    • says

      this one doesnt have desserts. but i have a few. working on a couple more. made some rasmalais already but working on getting the right texture. i would eat a raw version of the rasmalai but others might not:)

  22. says

    The most challenging part is acquiring the spices for cooking Indian dishes. These items aren’t always spices I have on-hand. But I spend so much money eating Indian food in restaurants I might as well just buy all the spices and do it myself- so in a way you’d be helping me save money if I win. 😉

  23. says

    This book sounds so fantastic! I’m always excited to try out different cuisines, and despite how vegan-friendly Indian food can be, there really aren’t many good cookbooks to choose from. Hopefully this one changes all that. The mutter paneer at least looks fantastic through your lens. :)

  24. Michael says

    I would love to win this book! My buddy and I just got an apartment together for college – he’s not a vegan but he LOVES Indian food – so I’d love to be able to use this to get him into veganism!!

  25. says

    The thing that I find most challenging with Indian cooking is making na’an, roti, dosas, parathas, or any kind of bread. It seems to take some instinctual knowledge that I haven’t perfected yet.

    I love that bowl! So pretty!

  26. says

    There are two things I find challenging about indian cooking: knowing what spices to use and making the na’an or other breads. I’ve learned so much from your blog- I can’t wait to check out this book too! :-)

  27. says

    I think the most difficult thing about Indian cooking is that I have no instinct for it – I’m not familiar with the way the flavors are built from the huge variety of spices. But it’s just like learning any other Asian type of cuisine; I need some time to learn and taste!

  28. says

    I like using spices, and I like the flavor and fragrance of mustard seeds, but rarely use it because not sure what dishes are good with this??

  29. says

    What i find challenging about cooking Indian food would Ive never cooked it but i love to eat Indian food problem is Ive only ever eaten microwave meals that where Indian food since i don’t live anywhere near a restaurant

  30. says

    My biggest challenge in cooking Indian food is retaining the flavor in the vegetables I cook with to keep things from getting bland. I sometimes also struggle with balancing spices. The flavors are so nuanced and sometimes hard to recreate! But I love Indian food and am committed to getting better at making it!

  31. Meg Drennan says

    Mattar Paneer has been one of my all-time favorite Indian meals whenever I’ve gone to a restaurant. I am in the process of transitioning to a vegan diet, and would love to try out more vegan/ veganized Indian meals- it would be so amazing to be able to feast on such delicious food at home whenever I wanted!

  32. says

    I love Indian food! My challenge is keeping all those spices fresh once you have them. I guess I should buy them whole and grind them when I need them

  33. says

    I find it hard to find vegan Indian recipes. And when I do try to veganize existing recipes, I’m always sort of disappointed. But that’s probably more my fault than anything. I’m definitely going to try the recipe above!

  34. Shannon C says

    I have lots of trouble finding fresh curry leaves when I really really want them for a recipe. Not abundant in Baltimore :(

  35. says

    What I find challenging is using the spices. I have never been a spice cooking person, so I am on a journey now to learn and I just love Indian food :) Thanks for the great tips and recipes.

  36. says

    The most challenging thing about Indian cooking for me? Definitely the spices! I am now collecting the spices so when I follow a recipe I won’t need to google a spice to know what it is or run out to the local Asian market. I now own asafoetida (which I love since I don’t really eat garlic or onions). I also have calonji, jumbo green cardamom pods, whole yellow mustard seeds, Garam masala Spice blend and Chana masala spice blend. I’m on my way!

  37. says

    The most challenging thing about Indian cooking for me? Definitely the spices! I am now collecting the spices so when I follow a recipe I won’t need to google a spice to know what it is or run out to the local Asian market. I now own asafoetida (which I love since I don’t really eat garlic or onions). I also have calonji, jumbo green cardamom pods, whole yellow mustard seeds, Garam masala Spice blend and Chana masala spice blend. I’m on my way!

  38. Anonymous says

    I m use to cook Indian food but making my family eat vegan food is bit challenging… My hunband wants to turn vegan so this book would b perfect start.


  39. linda meadows I did this on widget says

    I cook for 1 and many of the recipes make much more! I’m not too wild about leftovers. I try to cut recipes down for 1, but I think the end result is different sometimes. I keep trying!I checked this book out of the library and love it! I’d love to own a copy. Thanks for the possible opportunity.

  40. Amy says

    Hmmm…back int the day I’d say making or finding ghee was challenging, but that’s no longer a problem since I’ve changed my diet 😉
    Next up would be sourcing good fresh spices.

  41. Satya says

    Dear Richa,
    I made Mutter Paneer last night, it was amazing!! Thank you so much for all the beautiful recipes. I loooove the way the home smells when cooking Indian :-))
    I have been a vegetarian, mostly vegan, since 40 years, and love to discover new recipes, thank you for your beautiful blog.


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