Super Simple Chickpea & Spinach Curry (Chana Saag)

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  • In a deep frying pan, heat up some oil and fry some black mustard and cumin seeds for about a minute, until they become fragrant and pop. Add one large diced onion, stir and fry for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat until they begin to caramelise.
  • When the onions are cooked down, add at least 3 big cloves of crushed garlic, and a big thumb of ginger, grated. Stir for about 3 more minutes and add one can of tinned tomatoesAs you pour in the tomatoes, use a spoon to crush them a bit. Fill about half the can up with water and add to the pan.
  • Raise the heat a bit and cook down for a few minutes until the curry dries out a bit and much of the water has evaporated. Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas and add to the pan.
  • Warm everything through for a couple minutes and then add some ground coriander, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Stir the tomatoes around in the spicy tomato curry for a minute and then slowly add in a bag of fresh pre-washed spinach, one handful at a time until all the spinach is wilted and incorporated into the curry.
  • Serve with some fluffy rice or chapattis, fresh coriander, a dollop of yogurt and a wedge of lime!

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Golibajae! Savoury Coconut and Yogurt Fritters

If you embrace modest deep-frying endeavours at home your quality of life will improve exponentially.

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  • In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of plain flour, about a handful of grated fresh or desiccated coconut, chopped green chillies, some chopped fresh curry or coriander leaves, and a sprinkling of salt. Add about half a cup of sour yogurt and combine.
  • Slowly add water until you have a lose and sticky batter that slips slowly off of a spoon. Allow the batter to sit and ferment for at least 20 minutes. After fermentation, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Heat a small pot with veg or canola oil until the oil is hot. you’ll know the oil is ready if you drop a lemon seed sized drop of batter into the oil and it sizzles and rises to the top.
  • Drop scoops of the batter into the oil. They should sink to the bottom and very quickly rise to the top of the oil and sizzle more than gently but not super vigorously. Flip them over from time to time until they’re golden on both sides. (This shouldn’t take too long).
  • Remove on to some paper towel and allow the oil to drain as much as possible. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and season with sea salt. Serve with some coconut or mango chutney.

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Quick Mango Chutney

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– Peel and chop at least 2 large ripe mangos into small pieces (don’t worry if the pieces are odd shaped it’ll all cook down anyway!) For an even quicker recipe, try a couple packages of pre-cut mango.

– Chop a red or yellow onion into small pieces, thinly slice one red or green chilli and peel some skin off of a lemon with a vegetable peeler.

– In a small saucepan, dry toast some black mustard seeds  or some Nigella seeds. When the seeds begin to sputter and pop, add a bit of rapeseed  oil, the onions and chillies, stir a bit and then stir in the mango.

– Add 3 tablespoons of brown sugar or honey, stir, add the lemon peel, some salt and a splash of boiling water. Bring to a boil and then simmer.

– Allow the chutney to simmer for as long as possible, using a potato masher to mush down the mango chunks every few minutes or so.

–  When the chutney reaches a soft and sticky consistency you know it’s ready to enjoy!

 

Turmeric Cauliflower and Cucumber Salad with Lime

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Roast 

One small head of cauliflower cut into small florets and tossed in  a generous amount of rapeseed oil, turmeric, and sea salt; roast until shrunk down and golden and even a little burnt and crispy. 

Toss

Salad leaves, baby spinach and sliced cucumber  in a large bowl. Gently fold in the cauliflower once it’s cooled off. Dry toast some cumin seeds in a frying pan, scatter on top. 

Squeeze the juice from a few juicy limes all over–the oil and salt from the cauliflower should season the rest of the salad, but add pepper and more salt if needed. 

 

Coconut Rice (2.0)

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This is a revised coconut rice recipe –improving on a previous post from last year. Both recipes are good but this one is better…

Ingredients:

  • At least 1 cup of basmati rice (1 cup should yield about 4 side-portions)
  • Curry leaves (dried are easy to find but FRESH are worth the quest!)
  • Up to 1 cup of Grated fresh coconut (I thoroughly encourage finding, smashing, hulling and grating a fresh coconut; if this option is not available to you, you can look for frozen fresh grated coconut from an Indian grocery store, or last resort, dried desiccated coconut.)
  • 5-10 banana shallots thinly sliced (regular onions are fine if you can’t find shallots
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon of channa daal (optional)
  • Black mustard seeds
  • Ginger
  • A couple generous handfuls of unsalted cashew nuts (if you can only find salted, just rinse the salt off them in a sieve and let them dry)

Steps:

First, rinse the rice really well until the water runs clear. This will remove all the starch and help you end up with perfectly separated rice grains.

Then cook the rice according to the way you normally do it. If you don’t normally do it any particular way, I suggest googling “how to cook perfect basmati rice” and follow those instructions.

While the rice is cooking, toast the grated coconut and cashews without oil in your largest frying pan. Toast on medium-high heat but supervise constantly. Let the coconut and cashews warm and toast but careful not to burn. Once the coconut starts to become intoxicatingly fragrant and magical keep stirring until everything starts to brown, and then remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.

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The rice should still be cooking (or just steaming) now.

In the same frying pan you toasted the coconut in, add a bit of oil (coconut, rapeseed, vegetable or ghee!) warm up and toss in the mustard seeds, curry leaves and channa dhal and fry for a couple minutes, then add the cinnamon stick, the shallots and some grated ginger.

Cook down the shallots in the spices for 5-10 minutes on medium-high heat until the onions have softened, cooked down and browned.

When the onions are ready, slowly start to incorporate the rice, and cashew/coconut mixture, gently, until everything is beautifully mixed together.

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Serve with some fish, a delicious daal or curry!

Enjoy!

Cabbage and Kale Bhajis

 

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In a large bowl toss…

  • About 2 cups of shredded white or green cabbage (shredded in a food processor, on a mandolin or sliced very thinly)
  • One medium sized onion, (also sliced very thinly)
  • Chopped kale leaves
  • Torn coriander leaves
  • A selection of spices: cumin seeds, curry powder, turmeric, salt, chilli powder etc. (whatever you have in the house and whatever you think might be tasty!)

Add…

  • Chickpea flour and water.

Begin by adding about 3/4 cup chickpea flour and a generous splash of cold water. Mix everything together, adding flour and water until all of the veggies are well coated and fused together and you have a sticky thin cookie dough consistency. Season with salt.

Fill a saucepan with vegetable or “frying” oil and heat up until one piece of batter coated cabbage sizzles rapidly and floats to the surface.

Then add dollops of the mixture into the oil a few at a time so as to not crowd in the pan. They might sink to the bottom and stick a bit but if the oil is hot enough you should be able to very easily dislodge the bhaji and it’ll float to the surface.

Fry the bhajis for a few minutes until they begin to take on a golden colour. Remove on to some paper towel and repeat until all the batter is used. Taste one of the bhajis from the first batch, add salt to the batter if necessary, or season the whole batch, once cooked, with sea salt.

Serve with chutney, fresh lime and coriander leaves.

Spiced Chickpea Salad with Turmeric Cauliflower and Pomegranate

On a large shallow plate or platter,

Layer…

  • Fresh baby spinach
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets and roasted in the oven with a few heaped teaspoons of turmeric, some hearty glugs of rapeseed oil and sea salt. Roast until cooked down and golden
  • Chopped cucumber
  • One can of chickpeas, rinsed and dry toasted in a frying pan with a combination of your favorite indian spices (I used chaat masala)
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds
  • A sprinkling of chopped coriander

Season…

With fresh lime juice, a bit more rapeseed oil, sea salt.

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Coconut and Cashew Green Beans with Lime

 

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You’ll need….

  • A couple bags of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • Some fresh grated coconut* about ½ cup or more
  • A couple generous handfuls of unsalted cashew nuts
  • 3-4 shallots finely sliced
  • Black mustard seeds
  • Limes

What to do:

  1. Blanch the green beans in some boiling water for a maximum of 4 minutes. Drain them, refresh under cold water and set aside. They should be a glorious bright green colour.
  2. In a dry frying pan, toast the coconut on medium-high heat, watching very carefully and stirring constantly. Once the coconut begins to brown slightly and become fragrant, remove from heat—be vigilant as it can burn easily!
  3. In the same frying pan, warm up some oil and throw in the mustard seeds. Once they begin to sputter and pop throw in the shallots and cook them down for about 5-10 minutes until they’ve browned nicely.
  4. When the onions look ready, throw in the cashews, allow them to toast for a few moments and then throw in the coconut and green beans and toss everything together.
  5. Serve on a large shallow platter, season with salt and plenty of lime juice – enjoy!

 

* You can buy bags of FROZEN freshly grated coconut in many Indian grocery stores. It’s a revolutionary item to have in your freezer!

Cabbage and Lime Salad with Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower

Step 1:

Chop a small head of cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Toss in oil (rapeseed or olive) and season with Tandoori spices .  Roast in baking tray low and slow* until the cauliflower is halved in size and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Step 2:

While the cauliflower is roasting, shred some red cabbage, salad leaves and coriander  and pile on to a large plate. Squeeze over the juice of 1-2 juicy limes and grate a thumb of ginger a drizzle of honey and season with salt and pepper . Toss well.

Step 3: 

Add the cauliflower to the salad and combine gently. Sprinkle with some toasted seeds and enjoy! 

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* Coat the cauliflower generously with oil, this is why I suggest rapeseed as it’s  much healthier than olive. If you have time for slow cook, aim for about 45 minutes at 150f/300c, stirring every 15 minutes or so and adding more oil of it starts to dry out too much. You can decrease the time and increase the heat depending on how much time you have.