Tag Archives: meal

Indian Spiced Smashed Pumpkin

7 Oct

I’ve found a new blog that I love, it’s called Veg Recipes Of India. There are so many things that I want to make I didn’t know where to start. The first recipe that captured my soul, and my stomach though, was this one. It’s real name is Kaddu Sabzi but I couldn’t resist The Smashing Pumpkins reference.

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Chana Saag – Indian Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach

25 Jun

Our chilli plant on the roof terrace has loads of green chillis on it all of a sudden. I’m sure it grows about 5 centimetres overnight. It’s been so hot here  so we have been watering it really well every evening when the sun goes down. It seems to be very happy there.

This is my cue now for putting chilli in everything. Not that I need another excuse. The Washer Up loves anything with chilli in it especially Indian food. Apparently eating chilli cools you down in hot weather too. Like having a cup of tea is supposed to. I don’t know about that but I’m willing to give it a try, this heat is unbearable.

Chana Masala (chickpeas in a spicy sauce) is one my favourite dishes. I always order it, along with Tarka Dal (spiced lentils), and Saag Aloo (potatoes with spinach) when we go out for Indian food. I borrowed this recipe from Dani at Moderate Oven which combines two of my favourite dishes. Chana Saag is spiced chickpeas with spinach. I’d never tried it before and couldn’t wait to debut our homegrown green chillis.

Chana Saag-  Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach Recipe

serves 2-3, adapted from Moderate Oven

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods, bashed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tin (400 gr) chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 300 gr frozen spinach (not defrosted)
  • 1 tin/jar (400 gr) cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus some leaves for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and cardamom pods and cook for a minute until they start to pop, don’t let them burn. Add the onion and cook for around 4 minutes. When the onion begins to soften & brown then add the ginger, garlic & green chillis and cook for another minute.

Stir in the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric & cayenne pepper until coating the onions then add the tinned tomatoes. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring for 3 or 4 minutes. Add in the frozen spinach, stirring the tomatoes around and over it and simmer, partially covered, for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to break up the spinach until completely thawed.

Remove from the heat and use a stick blender or processor to (carefully) puree the spinach until smooth. Put the pan back on the heat with the spinach and add the rinsed chickpeas to it. Season with salt, pepper & garam masala and simmer, partially covered, for 8 -10 more minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Add boiling water if necessary.

Stir in the chopped coriander, squeeze over some lemon juice and check the seasoning. Add more salt or lemon juice to taste. Serve sprinkled with fresh coriander leaves and a wedge of lemon on the side.

That reminds me I must go and water the chilli plants, it has been another ridiculously hot day, they must be thirsty!

Things that made me smile today…..

I think it must be baby snail (caracolillos) season. They live on the wild fennel at the side of the road. You see people with buckets picking them off.

It looks like they like artichokes too. If I wasn’t  vegetarian I would make a Snail, Fennel & Artichoke Risotto. But I am, so I won’t. Don’t let me stop you though….

Buen Fin de Semana!

Ruby Beetroot and Pear Chutney with Squash and Chickpea Curry and Flatbreads

18 Feb

It’s all about the Beetroot Chutney for me. I don’t even like beetroot. Well I don’t like the beetroot you get in jars, all pickled and vinegary. Leaching it’s dark pink juice everywhere and contaminating whatever else is on the plate. 

I am always willing to be proven wrong and to make a complete about-face and this is one of those occasions. I love this beetroot chutney. I love the colour, it’s ruby-red shining jewels flecked with intriguing dark spices is a beautiful thing. I love the flavour, it’s a sweet, spicy, dark and mysterious blend that enhances any curry (or cheese sandwich for that matter)!

The other thing I love about it is that it is really easy to make. I just bought some cooked beetroot (it comes vacuum packed). You can roast or boil it and peel it yourself  if you like.

Ruby Beetroot & Pear Chutney Recipe

makes about 1 jar, vegan

  • 2 cooked beetroot, diced
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored & diced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp punch pooran*
  • 4 tbsp white or white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp white sugar

* Punch Pooran is a whole spice mix available from Indian supermarkets that gives a balanced flavour to any Indian dishes. Mine is from East End Foods.

Heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat and add in the whole spices. When they start to splutter add in the onion and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until it has thickened and looks like chutney. Pour into a hot sterilised jar (just put it through the dishwasher), seal immediately, leave to cool then refrigerate.

Serve with mini poppadoms as an informal starter  to an Indian meal alongside a coriander & lemon yoghurt raita. Or pile it on a sharp cheese like a Lancashire Crumbly( thanks Joan & Terry) in a sandwich, as part of a cheese board or as a new jacket potato filling: Lancashire Crumbly & Beetroot & Pear Chutney. It’s the way forward. You could also serve it with your favourite curry dish which is what I did on Tuesday night when we had friends for dinner.

Now Rhian, who doesn’t cook, has promised to make this, because she enjoyed it so much and has been inspired. Okay Rhian, here’s the recipe, no excuses now………..

Butternut Squash & Chickpea Curry Recipe

serves 6 – 8, vegan

  • 1 large butternut squash, cut into 1 inch chunks
  •  1 onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  •  1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp onion seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 or 2 tsp punch pooran*
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes 400 gr
  • 3 or 4 tbsp tomato puree (tomate frito)
  • 1 400 gr jar/tin cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 500 ml – 1 litre veg stock
  • salt & black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • a big handful of fresh coriander, chopped. Plus leaves for garnish
  • * Punch Pooran is a whole spice mix available from Indian supermarkets that gives a balanced flavour to any Indian dishes. Mine is from East End Foods.

    In a big deep pot, heat some oil over a medium heat. Throw in the whole spices, when they start popping, add in the onion with a big pinch of salt and cook for about 4 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic, ginger, chilli and the  rest of the powdered spices and cook for another minute. Tumble in the squash chunks and stir well to coat with the spices. 

    Pour in the tinned tomatoes, rinsed chickpeas and the tomato puree. Stir again so everything is well-distributed. Season well with salt & black pepper then add in 5ooml veg stock. Stir and bring to the boil. When boiling reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 20 – 30 minutes depending on your squash.
    When the squash is cooked/tender take the lid off and cook for another 5 minutes to reduce/thicken the sauce if necessary. If it is dry add some more veg stock until you get the consistency you are looking for. If it is too liquidy you can take out a ladleful of the curry, blend it to a puree and add it back into the pot.
    Just before serving squeeze over the lemon juice and stir in the chopped coriander. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lemon juice to taste.

I served this with my Leek & Fennel Seed Flatbreads, some mixed wild rice and the beetroot & pear chutney. I used strong bread flour to make the flatbreads this time and had a much better result…..

Good luck & enjoy!!!

Yellow Gram Chickpea Curry with (Unpuffy) Spinach Puri

12 Feb

I have loads of unopened packets of dried legumes in my cupboard. I normally buy them from the Indian supermarket because they look so interesting and I love daal and chickpea curries. The thing is I never get round to cooking with them because of the whole soaking, rinsing in clean water and then cooking them for hours thing. I’ve got nothing against that type of cooking it’s just I’m not that organised. I decide what I want to eat about an hour before I eat, so I always end up opening a jar of cooked chickpeas or beans. It’s so much easier….

I have to admit though you can definitely tell the difference in a dish where the chickpeas/beans are whole. The texture is different, they are firmer and less floury. So today, before taking the dog for a walk, I put some Yellow Gram in a bowl of water to soak. Yellow gram are like cute little mini chickpeas….

I took Rufus for a walk along a mountain path today. He enjoyed running with the wind in his ears…..

And surveying the landscape…

When we got back I rinsed the gram in a few changes of water and cooked them in clean water in the pressure cooker. I don’t know why I didn’t think of cooking them like this before. The instructions on the packet say to cook them for 1 1/2 – 2 hours in a saucepan. This way they took about 25 minutes, result! The pressure cooker idea came from Ko Rasoi- Mastering the Art of Indo- Vegetarian Cuisine which has loads of gorgeous daal recipes and she cooks them in the pressure cooker. This is also where I got the recipe for the Spinach & Green Chilli Puri, hers are beautiful puffy little breads that I just had to have with my gram curry. I have cooked puris before but never with spinach & green chilli, they sounded amazing…… 

As you can see from the photos my puris did not puff. This is quite common apparently, could happen to anyone, it’s not just me….. Apart from being a little disappointed with my embarrassing lack of puff the flavour and texture was lovely and a great vehicle for the curry.

Yellow Gram Chickpea Curry Recipe

serves 2, vegan

  • 200 gr uncooked yellow gram or  400 gr tin cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 or 4 tbsp tomato passasta (tomate frito)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves (use curry leaves if you have them)
  • 1 onion seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  •  1 tsp garam masala
  •  1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt & black pepper
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • about 500 ml veg stock
  • a handful of fresh coriander, chopped plus leaves for garnish
  • greek yoghurt (optional)

Prepare and cook the gram according to the instructions on the packet (or in a pressure cooker). Or drain & rinse a tin/jar of cooked chickpeas. In a large frying pan heat some oil over a medium heat. Add in the cumin seeds & onion seeds. When they start to pop add in the onions and soften for about 3 or 4 minutes then add in the garlic, ginger, chilli, chopped tomato, ground coriander, garam masala, bay leaves & turmeric. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes and add in the tomato passata (frito). Meanwhile heat the veg stock in a small saucepan. Drain the cooked gram/chickpeas, stir them into the curry and pour in the hot veg stock. Season well with salt & pepper and mix thoroughly. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. If your sauce isn’t as thick as you would like take out a ladleful of the curry put in it a bowl or food processor and blitz to a puree. Add this back into the curry to thicken it.

Check for seasoning, squeeze over the lemon juice and stir in the chopped fresh coriander

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, a teaspoon of greek yoghurt if you like and some extra wedges of lemon on the side. You could serve this with some basmati rice or these delicious puris…..

Spinach & Green Chilli Puris Recipe

makes 6 or 7 small puris, enough for 2 people,vegan

  • 150 gr plain or wholemeal flour
  • 1 small green chilli, finely chopped
  • 3 little cubes of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed out (or a small handful of fresh)
  • 55 ml boiling water
  • 1 or 2 tbsp sunflower/olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of turmeric
  • oil for deep-frying

Blitz or mash the spinach, green chilli and boiling water to a smooth puree. Put the flour, turmeric & salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Mix in the oil and enough of the spinach mixture to make a firm non sticky dough.

Heat the oil in a wok, large frying pan or deep fat fryer to hot and open a window (it gets smoky & smelly)!  Pull off a small piece of dough and roll into a 1 inch ball. Roll it out to a 3 inch diameter circle, turning, clockwise as you roll to get a round ish shape. Don’t flour the board use a bit of oil if it is sticking. Carefully drop the circle into the hot oil and fry until golden and (hopefully) puffy. Keep warm under a clean tea towel while you fry the rest. To see how these puris should look check out Sanjanas beautiful photos. But if, like me, yours turn out to be decidedly unpuffy, don’t worry they still taste amazing and are the perfect scoop for the gram curry…

Good Luck!!!

 

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