From The Mystic Cookfire, by Veronika Sophia Robinson

Spiced vegetables, pilau rice…oh how I love my life. You could pay a small fortune to eat this type of meal in an Indian restaurant, but I’ll bet it won’t taste as good as your own home-made-with-LOVE version.

Sunflower, olive or coconut oil
3 large onions, finely sliced
Large cauliflower, broken into florets
2 red peppers, sliced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
½ teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded, and very finely chopped (wash your hands afterwards)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cm chunk fresh ginger, finely grated

Pilau rice:
1 large onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
450 g basmati rice
100 g flaked almonds
Olive or coconut oil
Pinch saffron
1 litre vegetable bouillon
½ teaspoon garam masala
10 cardamom pods, deshelled and ground well
Juice of one lemon
50 g sultanas
200 g frozen peas
100 g sweetcorn kernels, frozen, tinned or fresh
10 mint leaves, chopped & a bunch of fresh coriander leaves
400 ml water

Illustration by Sara Simon, from The Mystic Cookfire

Illustration by Sara Simon, from The Mystic Cookfire



Heat a little oil in a pan and sauté the onions, garlic and ginger for a few minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and peppers, and mix into the onions. Cook for a few more minutes, then add the curry powder. Stir, then add the lemon juice and salt. Add the remaining ingredients from the vegetable section. Cover, and simmer on low to medium heat for half an hour. When serving, garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Wash and rinse the rice. Heat the oil in a deep pan, and add the onions. Fry for a few minutes, then add the ginger, garlic, rice and saffron. Cook for a few minutes, then add the vegetable bouillon, spices and sultanas. Mix well. Cook, covered, for twenty minutes. Don’t stir. Add the peas and sweetcorn, mix in and let the heat of the rice cook them. This will take about five minutes. Meanwhile, lightly toast the flaked almonds in a dry skillet pan. Add to the pilau.

Serving suggestion: Banana raita

250 ml soya yoghurt
1 ripe (brown spots on skin) banana
1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
30 g desiccated coconut

Finely-slice the banana, and combine with the remaining ingredients. Chill while you’re cooking the main meal.

Variations: replace the banana with mango, peach or cucumber.

The Mystic Cookfire, available from, Amazon and good bookshops

The Mystic Cookfire, available from, Amazon and good bookshops

**More than 280 botanical (plant-based) recipes for the whole family.

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