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Chana Daal Curry

March 18, 2009 Leave a comment

We went to the Indian spice shop at the bottom of the street for an overdue nosey. The keen eyed and generally awesome Kerri spotted bags of Chana Daal . . . I’ve been going on about it for an age (since I read this article) and we’ve trawled various cities in search of the stuff. I also got some amchur and black mustard seeds to add to my arsenal of spices. <3

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 green finger chilli
  • 1 potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 green pepper
  • 150g chana daal
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp black mustard seed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1tsp dried chopped fenugreek leaves (or ½ tsp fenugreek powder)
  • 1 tsp amchur (dried green mango powder)
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 large pinches of salt

Method

Finely chop the garlic, ginger and chilli (or use a tablespoon of the green paste) and roughly chop the onions. Heat the ghee (or 4 tbsp of oil) in a stir-fry pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they start to pop add the onions and fry off for 5-7 minutes on a medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for a further 5 minutes.

Add the remaining spices and one large pinch of salt and stir. Reduce the heat to medium after 3-5 minutes. If the mixture is becoming too dry or catching then add small quantities of water. Chop the carrots, sweet potato, potato and green pepper and add to the pan. Stir well to coat with spices.

Wash the chana daal well, add to the pan and stir in. After 5 minutes add half the can of tomatoes and stir. Add the remaining tomatoes when the first lot starts to simmer. Add the second large pinch of salt.

Add the stock in two batches making sure the pan returns to the boil between each. Simmer on a medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour until the chana daal is tender. Add small amounts of water if the sauce becomes too dry during cooking.

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Dhansak

February 6, 2008 Leave a comment

This is another staple favourite; lentils and vegetables combine to create a sumptuous orange curry bursting with flavour and goodness!

Ingredients

  • 140g red lentils
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 orange or yellow pepper
  • 1 tbsp green paste
  • 1 tbsp masala mix
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 650ml of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 large pinch of sea salt

Method

Chop the onion and soften in a pan over a medium-high heat in 4-6 tbsp of olive oil. Once the onion loses its colour, add the salt and green paste and fry off for a few minutes. Next, add the masala mix and lemon juice and fry for a further 4-5 minutes (add small amounts of water if the mixture starts to catch). Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer briskly for 10-15 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken nicely.

Mix the stock and add the purée to it. Add a third to the pan and stir in the (washed and soaked) lentils. Return to simmer while peeling and chopping the vegetables into equal sized chunks. Add the carrots and sweet potato and another third of the stock. After 5 minutes of simmering add the remaining vegetables and stock.

Keep simmering briskly for 15-20 minutes, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and allow to “sauce up” (roughly another 30 minutes). It’s ready when suitably saucy and the sweet potato and carrots are cooked to taste. If it becomes too dry during this phase add small amounts of water to maintain the desired consistency. The lentils will absorb quite a bit of liquid during the reducing phase of cooking.

Vegetable Madras

January 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Having a few fairly random leftover vegetables I decided I’d make a madras-style curry. Nice and fruity with a zingy flavour!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 large yellow pepper
  • 2 handfuls of garden peas
  • 1 tbsp of green paste
  • 1 tbsp masala mix
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml of vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 large pinch of seasalt

Method

Chop the onions and add to a pan preheated over a medium-high heat with 6-8 table spoons of olive oil. As they begin to soften, add the green paste and stir for 3-4 minutes (Tip: add small amounts of water if the paste catches the bottom of the pan). Next add the masala mix (and optional cayenne) and stir for a further 3-4 minutes. Add the salt and lemon juice. Now add the chopped tomatoes and let the mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes (add a half cup or so of water if it’s very thick).

Peel the potatoes, chop in 1cm x 1cm cubes and add to the pan. Peel the carrots, slice at an angle in 1/2cm thick slices and add to the pan. Deseed the pepper, chop in 1cm x 1cm pieces and add to the pan. Break the broccoli into individual florets, slice the stem into 1/2cm thick slices and add to the pan. Stir in the peas.

Mix up the vegetable stock and add the tomato purée to the stock and add to the pan in two batches letting it come fully to the boil between pours. Reduce the heat but keep it simmering quite aggressively until the excess liquid evaporates. About 35-40 minutes should be ample time. Reduce the heat to gentle simmer for the last 5-10 minutes cooking and stir in the garam masala.

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Aloo Gobi

August 7, 2007 Leave a comment

One of my favourites . . . tried my hand at it for the first time tonight and was impressed enough to add it right away!

Ingredients

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 3 medium vine tomatoes (alternative: use canned)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of green paste
  • 1 teaspoon of masala mix
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée

Method

Chop the onion and soften in 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil in a 20cm wok over a med-high heat. Add the green paste and stir in for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle the masala mix in. Chop the tomatoes into chunks and stir into the mixture. Add the lemon juice now too.

Cut/snap the cauliflower into individual florets and slice the potatoes into chunks a little over 1cm squares. Add the potatoes to the wok and stir in. After 3-4 minutes add the cauliflower and stir gently making sure all the vegetables are as coated in the mixture as possible. Add the garam masala now too.

Make up about 600ml of vegetable stock (reduce to 250-300ml if using canned tomatoes) and mix in the tomato purée. Pour into the pan but don’t swamp the potatoes and cauliflower with liquid.

This dish wants just enough liquid to get the vegetables cooked but needs to reduce as much as possible to leave a fairly thick sauce. The cauliflower will reduce in volume quite a bit as it cooks so it’s okay if it’s not totally covered in liquid initially.

Let it simmer fairly briskly for 30-40 minutes until the sauce is suitably thickened. Try to avoid stirring too often as the cauliflower will end up shredded into small pieces.

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Aubergine and Sweet Potato Curry

May 6, 2007 Leave a comment

I had a hankering for some aubergine and had a sweet potato in the cupboard so I decided to combine the two to make what turned out to be a very tasty dish.

Ingredients

  • 1small onion
  • 1medium sweet potato
  • 1large purple aubergine
  • 1tbsp of curry paste
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp turmeric powder
  • A can of chopped tomatoes

Method

Slice the aubergine in 1cm thick slices and quarter each slice. Put in a bowl and cover liberally in 3-4 large pinches of coarse salt crystals. Leave aside for at least 30 minutes to draw the moisture out.

Peel the sweet potato and cut length-wise into quarters, then slice into ~2cm chunks and add to a pan with enough cold water to just cover it. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until just soft enough to mash. Drain, mash and set aside.

Lift the aubergine pieces out of the bowl and rinse in some cold water. Dry with kitchen roll and gently pressing down on each piece to draw the moisture out.

Heat a pan with 3-4 tbsp of olive oil over a med-high heat. Add the aubergine and fry until the aubergine goes flabby and light brown in colour. Lift out the aubergine pieces and place on some kitchen roll.

Add the mustard seeds followed by the finely chopped onion once the seeds start popping. When the onion starts to lose its colour, add the curry paste. You may need to start adding little amounts of water as it fries off. Add the spices and another splash of water, if needed.

Add the aubergine and get them nicely coated. Once the aubergine has combined well with the paste, stir in the sweet potato mash. Add the tomatoes in two or three batches in order to not lose too much heat in one go. Add some more water now to have a little more liquid to achieve a good consistency. Allow to simmer for 10-15 mins and serve when thickened as desired.

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Potato curry

April 30, 2007 Leave a comment

After Sunday’s paste making; I spent most of my free moments idly thinking of another dish Raj suggested. Very simple and takes very little time to make.

Ingredients

  • Half a small onion – finely chopped
  • 2 (preferably) waxy potatoes – chopped in ~1cm cubes
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of masala mix (curry powder would suffice)*
  • A can of tomatoes
  • A tablespoon of the curry paste

Method

You’ll need a stirfry pan/wok:

Heat some oil (3 tablespoons or so) over a med-high heat. When heated, chuck in the mustard seeds followed by the onion a couple of seconds later and stir about for a minute.

Once the onion starts to lose its colour, add the dollop of curry paste and stir it in until it all combines – you may need to start adding little amounts of water to keep things fluid.

Now you can add the masala mix and another splash of water, if needed. Stir about for a few minutes and you should have a nice base coming together for your curry.

Add the diced potatoes and get them nicely coated, keep adding small amounts of water to stop things getting too dry.

After three or four minutes add the tomatoes in two or three batches so you don’t lose too much heat in one go. You can also add some more water now to have a little more liquid to reduce down as the potatoes cook through.

Serve with some basmati rice.

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