Vegetarian for Life

Diwali celebrations at Birchwood Grange Care Home

Posted by on 18/10/22 in Articles, Recipes

Residents and staff members at Avery Healthcare’s Birchwood Grange Care Home in Harrow have been busy preparing for their Diwali celebrations, which will take place on Tuesday 25 October.

The 5-day Hindu festival of light observes the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair and commences this year on Monday 24 October.

The team at Birchwood Grange will be decorating the home, with residents designing Diwali cards and painting terracotta pots, which will become part of the displays. Friends and relatives will also be encouraged to take part, creating Rangoli pictures to hang on doors and around the Bluebell Lounge.

Members of the Well-being and Culinary teams at Birchwood Grange have planned a range of entertainment, including live music as well as a performance from a Bollywood dancer. To end the evening, residents can choose from several vegan Diwali dishes, including Mango Curry, Tofu and Malai Kofta, prepared by Vegetarian Chef Champa Misty and her team. The evening will end with a colourful display of fireworks.

Having won the 2021 Veggie Care Chef of the Year award at Vegetarian for Life's Awards for Excellence in Care Catering earlier this year, Champa actively encourages vegetarian choices, with many traditional recipes passed down through her family for generations.

Avery’s Head of Culinary and Hospitality, Simon Lawrence, says, "The Birchwood Grange team strives to produce diverse dishes that accommodate all of their residents’ needs and dietary requirements so that they don't have to give up their life choices because they have moved into care. Their passion and attention to detail are exceptional.”

Have a read of the recipes below:

Mango Curry with Tofu


  • 397g firm tofu
  • 2 tsp safflowers or natural oil
  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ tsp salt

Curry Sauce

  • ¾ cup red onion
  • 1 to 1-inch knob ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp natural oil
  • ¼ cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 282.5ml coconut milk
  • ¼ cup mango pulp or purée
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Generous dash of black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garam masala for garnish
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish
  1. Tofu: Cut the tofu slab into 1/2-inch slices. Place them on a clean kitchen towel. Cover with another kitchen towel. Place a 10-pound (approximate) weight on top and let sit for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can use pressed tofu. Cut the tofu slices into 1/2-inch cubes.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, tilt the skillet so the oil coats it evenly. Add the tofu and cook until lightly brown on some sides, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes. Add the cayenne, cinnamon, garam masala and salt and mix well to coat. Cook for another 2 minutes and set aside.
  3. Curry: In a blender, combine the onion, ginger, and garlic and blend into a smooth purée with 2 tbsp water. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, and cloves. Cook for 1 minute. Add the puréed onion and cook until the onion mixture is dry and does not smell raw. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking (13 to 15 minutes). Add the coconut milk, mango pulp, salt, and vinegar and mix well. Add the tofu and all the spices from the tofu skillet to the sauce skillet. Add a dash of black pepper.
  4. Mix, cover and cook until the sauce comes to a boil (approx 5 minutes). Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered until the sauce thickens and desired consistency is achieved (about 15 minutes). Taste and adjust the salt and tang. Add 1/2 teaspoon or more sugar if the mango pulp was not sweet. Garnish with cilantro and a dash of garam masala and serve hot.

Vegan Malai Kofta

Kofta Balls

  • ¼ shelled hemp seeds or pumpkin
  • 1 cup cubed potato, cooked
  • 1 cup grated potato, raw
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 430g can chickpeas, cooked
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground cumin seeds
  • ¼ to ½ cayenne/Indian red chilli powder
  • 3 tsp oat flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • Pinch of baking soda

For the Gravy

  • 2 tsp safflower or natural oil
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup red onion
  • ½ to 1-inch ginger, chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1½ cups chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp water
  • 1½ tsp dried fenugreek leaf
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp coconut cream
  1. Process the hemp seeds or nuts until you have a coarse meal. Add potato and process until coarse. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until most of the chickpeas have broken down but not into a paste. (Without a processor, use nut or seed flour and grated potato. Then mash chickpeas and mix.)
  2. The potato will leak moisture in the mixture in a few seconds making it easy to make smooth balls. Do not let the mixture sit for too long at this point. Add more flour or starch if the mixture is too moist. Add a tbsp of nutritional yeast for a cheesier flavour profile.
  3. Take 2 to 3 tbsp of the mixture and make round balls – 1.5 inch size or smaller so they cook through. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425°F (218°C/gas mark 7) for 20 minutes. Or pan-fry in 1/2-inch oil for 5 to 6 minutes until golden on most sides.
  4. Gravy: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin, coriander, and bay leaf. Cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook until slightly golden on some edges, 2 minutes. Add the onion and ginger, and cook until golden, usually for around 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the turmeric, cayenne, and garam masala, and mix for a few seconds.
  5. Add the tomato, cashews, 1/4 cup water and salt and cook until the tomatoes are saucy, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking. Cool slightly, then transfer to a blender.
  6. Blend the mixture with 1/4 cup water, half the fenugreek leaves and sugar until smooth. Fold in the remaining fenugreek leaves. (This sauce is incredibly versatile, you can just add some chickpeas, baked tofu, roasted or par-cooked veggies and simmer and use!)
  7. Bring the blended sauce to a boil, add baked kofta balls and serve. Garnish with some cashew cream or other dairy cream and cilantro. Serve with naan or rice.
  8. To store: store the balls and sauce separately until ready to serve.

Mango Lassi

  • 3–4 ripe mangoes (honey mangoes if possible)
  • 500g natural yoghurt
  • A pinch of ground cardamom (crush the seeds from 1–2 pods)
  • 1 tbsp honey (not for vegans) or maple syrup
  • 2 limes, juiced, to taste
  1. Blend all ingredients together.
  2. Add the yoghurt and blend again. Pour into tall glasses and serve chilled.


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