Local flavor: Indian chef urges one vegetarian meal a week, shares recipe

For George Madgal, food isn't just something you eat. It is a combination sustenance and medicine. "Mostly in India, everyone has to be in the kitchen, so we know what we use in the kitchen," said the Goa, India-born restauranteur and chef. If you are sick, he said, "it's first to the kitchen, then to the doctor."

  • Friday, October 22, 2010 12:37pm
  • News

For George Madgal, food isn’t just something you eat.

It is a combination sustenance and medicine.

“Mostly in India, everyone has to be in the kitchen, so we know what we use in the kitchen,” said the Goa, India-born restauranteur and chef. If you are sick, he said, “it’s first to the kitchen, then to the doctor.”

Madgal, who now cooks at Tukwila’s Best of India restaurant, has a daily opportunity to acquaint locals with the tasteful spices that make up Indian food – and by turn help to improve one’s health, he said.

For instance, did you know that turmeric, while adding a mustardy zing to a dish, also is a good antidote for ulcers? Or that the spice cumin has anti-gas properties? (That last one helps even out many Indian dishes, which utilize gas-inducing lentils and chickpeas.)

And that’s as it should be: in an Indian dish, the focus is always one of balance, Madgal says.

Madgal, a graduate of two Indian culinary schools and former owner of several Indian restaurants in the U.S., said he is hoping to encourage more people to try going vegetarian.

“My main goal is to introduce vegetarianism to people for a new source of appreciation,” he said.

The health benefits associated with a plant-based diet go beyond just the diner’s inner health, he added.

By eating just one vegetarian meal a week, he said, people can go a long way in helping to cut down greenhouse-gas emissions that go hand-in-hand with an animal-based diet.

The facts seem to bear Madgal out on that point. A 2006 report by the World Bank, European Union and U.S. Agency for International Development linked livestock agriculture as one of the top contributors of global environmental concerns, including creation of greenhouse gases.

So if you would like to go vegetarian one day a week, perhaps you can give Madgal’s recipe below a try.

Cauliflower and Potato


Cauliflower: 1 pound

Potato (medium size): 2

Onions finely chopped: 1

Tomato finely chopped: 1

Green peas: 1/2 cup

Ginger paste: 1/2 tsp.

Garlic paste: 1/2 tsp.

Thinly sliced Green Chili: 2

Cumin powder (Roasted): 1 tsp.

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp.

Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp.

Garam masala powder: 1 tsp.

Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp.

Vegetable oil: 3 tbsp.

Salt to taste

Chopped green coriander leaves for garnishing


1. Cut cauliflower and potato into medium-sized cubes and thoroughly wash it.

2. Heat oil in a frying pan / kadai. Add green chilli, ginger garlic and stir for few seconds.

3. Add chopped onions and fry over medium heat until light golden brown. Add chopped tomato and green peas. Cook until tender.

4. Add red chili powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, dry coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well.

5. Add cauliflower and potato and stir. Saute for 5 minutes. Cover the pan/kadhai and cook over medium heat until tender. Ocassionally stir it to prevent sticking to the bottom.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

(Quantity of chili powder can be used according to the spice needed)


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