Incredible Chickpea Curry

This curry is pretty simple but amazing.  Normally I use a Patak’s Rogan Josh paste for this instead of the whole spices, but really, using whole spices totally makes this dish more fragrant and complex and delicious…

In all, my rice took 25 minutes to cook, and it took the same time to prepare and cook the curry too.  The thing to remember with curries, is that if you have all the ingredients, it’s easy. If you don’t, the ingredients list can look daunting.  Always check out your local Indian food shop – the spices are cheaper than the supermarket and they usually have a great range.Image

You will need:

Some veg oil and a little knob of dairy free spread (Vitalite is nice and buttery)
I medium onion, chopped,
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black onion seeds
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
pinch of hing/asafoetida
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 tsp chilli powder (adjust according to your taste pref)
1/2 400g tin of chopped/plum tomatoes
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup stock
few lumps of frozen spinach, defrosted (in microwave)
pinch of dried fenugreek leaves
shake of shake o cini mushroom powder (optional!)
salt, sugar (agave nectar/maple syrup) to taste.
To serve: tomato relish can be great, but this went beautifully with a sweet, smokey aubergine pickle (from Waitrose).

How to:
1. Heat oil in the pan
2. Add cumin, black onion and mustard seeds and fry until sizzling. Add the dairy free spread.
3. Add hing/asafoetida, and stir.
4. Add onions and fry until they are good and soft and starting to brown.
5. Add the ground coriander, chilli and turmeric, stir and cook for 1 min.
6. Chuck in tinned tomatoes and stir.  cook for a few minutes (usually until you see the oil separating from the tomatoes).
7. Add tin of drained chickpeas and stock.
8. Put the spinach in also, stir in the dried fenugreek leaves.  Then season with salt, sweeten with syrup/sugar, add mushroom powder and let simmer until the stock has cooked down and you have a nice sauce.
9. Serve  – with brown basmati rice and pickle.

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Lentil & couscous-but-much-better-than-just-that-salad

My plan is that this yummy salad lasts me for three lunches at work. I bought in loads of ingredients and made up a large bowl of the stuff at work. Really easy:

Lentil & couscous-but-much-better-than-just-that-salad

I bought the following and mixed them together in a bowl and garnished with crispy onions (bought in a tub):
Roasted tomato couscous (from the section where you get the hummus and other cold salady stuff
1 tin green lentils (drained)
some cucumber
tomatoes
1 avocado
spring onions
pickled beetroot

dressed with garlic infused extra virgin olive oil and juice of half a lemon. No seasoning necessary as couscous was quite salty.

Very tasty and the addition of the crispy onions at the end added that extra bit of texture and rich roasted oniony flavour that really took the biscuit. so to speak!

Okra Curry, mushroom and peas served with cumin roasted carrots

So, with Indian meals I’m really getting into cooking more than one curry dish to keep my palate interested.  So far a great way to keep a meal fresh is to prepare a kachumber, but this time, I opted for something else, as I had none of the ingredients!

Okra Curry, Mushroom and Peas curry and roasted carrots with cumin

Okra Curry, Mushroom and Peas curry and roasted carrots with cumin

The recipes for this I found elsewhere on the internet, so instead of taking credit I will provide links to the relevant sites.  The first site I recommend is “Manjula’s kitchen” – brilliant for vegetarians that love Indian Food because that’s what it is all about, and to make it easy to follow Manjula has filmed herself cooking and talking through the recipes.  She’s not as charismatic as Ainsley Harriet, but that makes her much more watchable!
Mushrooms and peas was her idea: Manjula’s mushroom and peas
This recipe was has the tasty addition of Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – really worth getting into for that genuine Indian flavour (although it makes your clothes stink!).

The Okra (otherwise known as ‘bhindi’) Curry recipe is to be found here. This is the first time I cooked okra – a friend warned me not to be put off by any oozing the okra might do – it didn’t ooze but was very slightly slimy in the main dish, but I didn’t let that put me off.  It tastes very ‘green’ and fresh – I quite enjoyed it.  I added a yellow pepper instead of a green one to this recipe, which in retrospect, I think was a good thing to do, as it might have tasted all a bit too green for me.  The sweetness of the pepper tempered the greenness of the okra, if you get what I mean?

The carrots were so simple: just clean and slice in half lengthways some small carrots, place in an oven dish and poor over some oil, then sprinkle on some cumin seeds and roast for about half an hour or so at 200degrees.