Welcome dinner- part III. Tandoori vegetables.

This is my favorite bit, one of those infinitely flexible, always delicious recipes that you can bend to the wishes of your pantry and the amount of time on your hands. I like to serve tandoori vegetables for dinner, but its not unusual for guests to say- ‘Can we just eat this with the appetizers?’ If you decide to grill outdoors, tandoori vegetables are the perfect accompaniment to idle chatter and cold things to drink.

Tandoori Sabji


About 8 cups of mixed vegetables, chopped into equal sized pieces. The usual suspects are small cremini mushrooms, pearl onions, 1 inch squares of extra firm tofu/paneer, cauliflower/broccoli florets and red/yellow/green bell peppers. Feel free to experiment with your favorite veggies.

For the marinade:

1 cup of sour yogurt, homemade or Greek

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp powdered, toasted cumin

1 tsp chaat masala (available in Indian stores, a tangy finishing spice)

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt (If you have black/rock salt, use 1:1 black salt/plain salt.)

1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

1 tsp ginger, grated fine

1 tsp garlic, grated fine

1 tsp green chillies, minced (as hot/mild as you like)

2 tbsp cilantro, minced

– Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a large mixing bowl and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The marinade should be really salty, spicy and sour. Its going to mellow a lot when mixed with a large amount of vegetables.

– Toss the vegetables in the marinade. Pour the vegetables along with the marinade in a large plastic bag, double-bag, and then stick it in the fridge for at least an hour, at maximum 6 hours.

That’s it! The vegetables can now be skewered and cooked on a hot charcoal grill, a minute on each side. They can be roasted in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. If you have a large, extremely hot cast iron skillet/griddle, you can also stir fry them at the last moment. (If not using a charcoal grill, add a couple of drops of liquid smoke to the marinade for a smoky flavor.)

Serve with green cilantro chutney or your favorite Indian dipping sauce.


About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Food, Recipes, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Welcome dinner- part III. Tandoori vegetables.

  1. bookmole says:

    I must show this to Youngest – he is always complaining about eating veggies!

    • purplesque says:

      😀 That was one of the conundrums when I came to US- I couldn’t understand why people complained about veggies, or why they had to be ‘hidden’. Gradually, though, I’ve managed to figure it out.

      • jaklumen says:

        And what did you figure out? I mean, yes, I am familiar that some here have an aversion to veggies, but I’m not sure what it would be other than what picky eaters list– and that’s not just always about vegetables in particular. The actor Steve Gutenberg said he couldn’t stand mashed potatoes because of the texture.

        • purplesque says:

          Two things.

          One, vegetables in the US look nicer than vegetables in India, but they don’t taste as good. By the time they are genetically modified, artificially ripened and shipped thousands of miles away, they lose most of their taste.

          Two, US cuisine is primarily meat based, maybe partly due to geography. Vegetables play second fiddle on the plate, and most people simply don’t know how to cook them. If I were raised on a diet of carrots boiled in sugar and overcooked spinach drowned in cream, I wouldn’t love vegetables either.

          Thankfully, both these things are changing now. Local food is more easily available and a lot of people are discovering the difference. Almost everybody I know is making an effort to eat more vegetables, to try something new in the kitchen, something different. It gives me hope. 🙂

  2. robpixaday says:

    Oh, WOW!!
    And grilled!

    (what a gorgeous picture!)

  3. I’ve eaten this with potatoes in the blend: absolutely fantastic. This is proof that you don’t need a pile of meat to make a great meal.

  4. jaklumen says:

    I’ve been doing more stirfry lately, so I’ll have to see to this.

    • purplesque says:

      Try it, Jak! There is this classic recipe called ‘sabji takatak’ -a huge pile of spice-stuffed vegetables stir fried on a large, hot griddle. The ‘takatak’ refers to the sharp sound a metal spatula makes on the cast iron griddle. Very popular party fare.

      • jaklumen says:

        The thing that still trips me up is finding Indian spices. Perhaps our Halal Market has them. I haven’t yet bothered to make garam masala myself yet (perhaps more work than I’m willing to do?), and I now have to ask: so how is chaat masala different?

        • purplesque says:

          Yeah..that is the tricky part. You should be able to find the basic ones in the halal market or online. Garam masala is a bit of work, but most store bought variations are pretty decent. (I’d be happy to mail you some if you like.)

          Chaat masala is a tangy, sour spice mix with plenty of dried raw mango mixed in- its mostly use to add a little zest to dishes, like an Indianized lemon pepper salt.

          Garam masala is not sour at all. Its a warmer, more fragrant spice- think cloves, cardamom, black pepper. Used as a finishing spice to add fragrance and warmth.

  5. Brown Suga' says:


    Looks like the username thingy is sorted, then. 🙂

  6. Peggikaye says:

    I must try this (minus tofu … shudder)

    The conversation about ‘hiding vegetables’ gets me every time. The idea that vegetables are something to be hidden, instead of enjoyed only increases the aversion to veggies.

    Showing kids that vegetables are not only good for you, but tasty too is the way to go.
    I think a lot depends on the parents. If you put it on the plate and say something like “I know these don’t taste good but you have to have them” sets the kid up for not liking them! (I’ve actually seen parents do that!!)

    • purplesque says:

      Exactly, Peggikaye! I hate those ads about hiding vegetable servings-they are meant to be funny, but the message is So wrong..

      So you don’t like tofu, huh? 😀 Try paneer instead, or any kind of non-melting fresh ‘grilling’ cheese.

  7. Boston Margy says:

    Wow. I never considered Tandoori vegetables. What a great idea!

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