Tag Archives: indian

indian black-eyed peas

I made a batch of these for a friend’s curry evening, and they were so nice, I’ve just made another huge batch for us! I might have gone ever so slightly overboard with the quantities, so think on if you’re going to try this 🙂

1kg black-eyed peas (£3.69 for 2kgs from our local Indian shop)
1 carton Sainsburys passata (£0.55)
2 chopped onions (£1.80 for 4kgs from the Turkish shop so – 30p max)
⅓ big carton of Aldi mushrooms, sliced thinly (about £0.50)
groundnut oil (about a dessertspoon)
various spices to suit (listed below)

12 generous servings for a fiver, absolute max.   I made this in the slow cooker, but if you don’t want to/don’t have to, I’d give it a couple of hours on the hob to get the flavour right through.

Put the black-eyes in to soak for about 12 hours/overnight. They do say you don’t need to soak them, but I always soak beans and peas. They will absorb water at a rate of knots, so use a bowl rather bigger than you might think you’ll need.

Put them in the pot, add the mushrooms and passata, and about half a passata carton of water.

Grind/mix some Indian spices; Pete always does this, but it’s not writ in stone. Cumin, coriander seeds, cardamon, bit of chilli, turmeric – whatever works for you. But we tend to go for Lots, because you want the taste. Fry off the onions in some oil (i use groundnut) until they’re just starting to catch, then add the spices and cook them off a bit. A small splash of water is a good idea here. Decant that lot into the pot, add a bit of salt and black pepper.

if slow cooking, about eight hours on low. If hobbing, bring to the boil then a very gentle simmer for a couple of hours. Sprinkle fresh coriander on top if you have any (ours has bolted, sadly).

Freezes beautifully, makes a tasty vegan meal on its own, or a great accompaniment for a curry.

chicken and coconut curry

I had a yen for a chicken curry at the weekend; we make (and eat) a lot of chicken and coriander, but I wanted something different, dammit. So I trundled up to the Jacksons at the top of t’rerd, and came home with two packs of mixed thighs and drumsticks for a fiver, which Pete manfully deskinned for me; it’s a horrible job, and my arthriticy fingers really don’t enjoy it. We put them on a roasting tray, seasoned, drizzled with a little olive oil, and bunged them in the oven while the pizza was cooking. (Well, browning chicken is a boring task, and the oven was on …)

So, there was lots of skinned and part cooked chicken on Sunday morning. Looking at us. I skimmed through various books, but nothing quite appealed, so we winged it, pretty much.

Into the big slow cooker went, variously:

two tablespoons each of  ground almonds and dessicated coconut,

two onions fried in some groundnut oil until they were just starting to catch

a paste of garlic and ginger, and a little water, fried off, then spices added: cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili, fenugreek, cardamon, black pepper, and a little salt. All fried down into a paste

a can of coconut milk, and about a third? a half? can of water

a bunch of coriander

And then we just left it alone for about 7 hours. It was really, really nice, except it lacked … something. Not sure what. We’re going to have some more tonight, with some saag aloo, to see if that helps.

That fiver’s worth of chicken made 10 portions, by the way. Plus £0.80 for the coriander, and £1.25 for coconut milk, and maybe another couple of quid’s worth of ingredients. Well under £1 per portion.

p.s. we always cook chicken pieces on the bone – the flavour is better, and the meat falls off when it’s cooked anyway.

 

a butternut squash

image from Wikipedia

I love butternut squash. It has a lovely texture, and works in so many things: risotto, roast veg, Thai currys, soup, etc. But there’s no denying that it’s a faff to deal with due to the peel. So I did a little experiment.

I wanted some soup to come home to on Saturday, and astonishingly, there was no mongrel soup on the go (which I must address). And there was a squash in the fridge. I cut the top off the squash, and then chopped the rest in half, scooped out the seeds, and put it in the medium slow cooker with about ½” of wine (all there was left in that bottle, although obviously in this house, other bottles were available). I then added about 1″ further of water. Switched it on, went away. Returned after a couple of hours and added a diced and peeled Bramley, because it struck me that it would work rather well.

In the small slow cooker, I put a big onion, chopped, three cloves of garlic, and some chopped sage leaves from the garden. Half of this mixture went to make sage and onion tear and share bread (which I baked in the Remoska when we got home),

After four, or maybe five, hours, the squash seemed well cooked, so I scooped a bit out, and lo – even the skin was really soft. So I put it, the apple, the onion and sage mix, into the food processor and blitzed it all. Returned it to the pot with a bit more water, tasted it, and decided it needed some toasted cumin, which Pete obligingly provided. Switched the slow cooker onto medium, and it was all done and dusted when we got home, just half an hour to bake the bread. Splendid.

And then …

I had planned to make Anjum Anand’s Gujarati lamb on Sunday, and had removed half a shoulder of the relevant beast from the freezer. I usually add a squash to this, because the texture is so nice, but there was a bowlful of soup left and it seemed rude not to use that instead. So instead we had a kind of use it up Gujarati lamb, which went like this.

one shoulder of lamb, browned on all sides.
one onion, finely diced
some garlic (I used about six cloves) and a big piece of ginger, made into a paste with some water
a couple of handfuls of dessicated coconut
ground cumin, coriander, turmeric
some chilli flakes
leftover butternut squash soup (I accept that most of you won’t have this to hand)
some chickpeas (I always used dried, so had them cooking in the small slow cooker while this was going on)
lemon juice – about a tablespoon’s worth
salt and black pepper

Soften the onion in some vegetable oil, then add the garlic/ginger paste and fry for about three minutes. Tip in the spices (quantities here are very individual – we like our foot spicy). Fry a bit longer. Put the lamb in the slow cooker, tip the onion mix in, add the soup, and a little water if required – I wanted it to come about half way up the meat. I normally add sweet potatoes, but mine had gone mouldy (oh the shame).

Cooked it for about six hours (adding the previously cooked chickpeas about two hours from the end)  and it was just beautiful. We gorged on it, and there was plenty left for today’s lunch. And indeed there’s still a fair bit of the sauce left, so I shall be adding red lentils and veg to that, and making it into this week’s  mongrel soup.

So there you go – slow cook your squash, and no need to peel. Win win.

making good use …

Guinness soda bread

We held a small gathering here the other night, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We cooked up a slow cooker’s worth of lemony chicken and coriander, and  a big pot of dhal to accompany it, and also for the vegans/veggies in the throng. We also served (bought) chapatis.

That recipe, incidentally, is a base – we use a lot more garlic, chillis and spices than that, and I’ve discovered that if you just sling the chicken in the slow cooker without browning it, it still works beautifully, and you save a lot of time and effort, and a lot of oil too! Makes it a very low calorie dish. Anyway, I digress.

I also made a chocolate, ginger and guinness bundt cake, which left most of a bottle of stout left over.

So this morning, I tipped the remainder of the coriander chicken sauce into the stock pot, added a few carrots, a courgette and an onion which had been minced in the Magimix, and two mugfuls of red lentils, and a nice pot of spicy soup is now bubbling away for lunch. To go with it, I used (most of) the rest of the stout to make a Guinness soda bread loaf, which is now baking in the Remoska.

Sadly, Pete declined to drink the rest of the stout – it was two days old, I know, but still. I poured it down the sink.

Indian lamb stew

We eat a lot of Indian-ish food here. We love the flavours, and it’s a good way of using up bits and bobs. We do have an extensive range of spices, built up over years, but you can manage with ground coriander and cumin, cumin seeds, and turmeric. And fresh garlic and ginger wouldn’t go amiss either.

We were away for the weekend a couple of weeks ago, and had far too much in the fridge that needed eating, including the last of the lamb I roasted for Easter.

I chopped up a peeled sweet potato, an aubergine and a couple of peppers. Finely sliced an onion, and set it tok down in some olive oil. Added finely chopped ginger and garlic. Then added some ground Indian spices to the pan and cooked them down, then in went the prepped veg. I added a carton of passata and some salt and black pepper, and left it to cook for about 40 minutes, until the veg were soft. Then I added in the sliced roast lamb and a can of drained kidney beans, and gave it another 20 minutes.

It did three meals for the two of us (two tubs went in the freezer), and was just lovely. Served with basmati rice.

twelve chicken legs

I was in Tesco last Saturday – I don’t like Tesco one bit, but they were the cheapest place to buy a couple of slimline water butts, which we wanted for the garden, and so I whizzed round and bought a few bits while I was there.

They had a special offer on chicken legs – 3 packs of four legs for a tenner. Now, I know it won’t be great chicken, but times are hard, and there was space in the freezer, so I swallowed my principles and bought some.

I turned them into Madhur Jaffrey’s lemon and coriander chicken, one of our very favourite things.  With the additional of a bunch of coriander from our local Indian grocer (65p) and a couple of lemons which would have been, what – 80p?, and a few pence worth of spices, we made 14 portions of Indian chicken for under 12 quid. Seems OK to me.

The recipe link I’ve given you is just a guideline as always. We up the garlic quotient a far bit, use more spices, and this time used dried chilli flakes, as we had no fresh ones in. I do it in the slow cooker too, which works a treat. I do generally make this dish with chicken wings, but I’m here to tell you that legs work just as well.

cauliflower and potatoes with mushroom rice

I’ve been a bit “meh” about cooking of late; trying to lose weight leaves me uninspired.

On Sunday, we had planned nothing foodwise. Pete had gone for a nap after garden-related exertions, and I went for a rummage in the fridge, to find:

one very tired field mushroom
half a lemon
a cauliflower that definitely needed eating
some cooked potatoes

So … cut up the cauliflower and put it on to simmer for about 8 minutes.

Put a piece of cinnamon stick and some cumin seeds in hot oliver oil, stirred them about a bit, then added the mushroom, chopped into smallish chunks, and a finely chopped shallot. Left that on a low heat till the mushroom was cooked, then added 80g of basmati rice (we don’t eat much rice – see above – wah), mixed it in, then 160g of cold water and half a teaspoon of salt. Brought to the boil, lid on, very low simmer for 13 minutes, then about 13 minutes standing (or 20 or 25 – it won’t hurt).

Very finely chopped quite a lot of garlic and ginger, and put it in a wide flat pan with some hot groundnut oil. Added crushed cumin and coriander seeds, then hurled in the cooked potato, cut into smallish dice. Cooked that off until the spuds started to crisp, then added the cauliflower.

Stood and looked at it for a bit, then opened a carton of passata, and added about half of it, with a splash of water. Simmered over a very low heat until the rice was ready.

Very nice, but it could have done with a little salt (I try not to salt food as a matter of course).

It did, of course, leave me with half a carton of passata …

slow cooked lamb and lentils

I picked up a half shoulder of lamb in Morrisons yesterday for £4.40, and we decided to slow cook it. As it happens, it was a horrible cold, rainy, Sunday and it was exactly the right way to approach it.

I browned the lamb and put it in the slow cooker with two peeled and cubed sweet potatoes, and half a squash that was lurking in the veg rack.  Then I heated more oil, added some black mustard seeds and cooked them till they popped, then added a thinly sliced onion.

Then into the frying pan went a paste of garlic and ginger, some cumin, coriander and chilli flakes, and I fried all that off for a bit, then added a carton of chopped tomatoes, a handful of dessicated coconut (we have somewhat of a glut of that right now), and some water. Added salt and black pepper, and brought that to a simmer and turfed it all into the slow cooker.  Then I hurled in some (loosely speaking) lentils, put the lid on and hoped for the best.

It cooked on high for about 6.5 hours; the meat fell off the bone, the sauce was beautiful,  there’s enough for at least one more meal, and some the sauce will go as a soup base. We have declared it to be A Success!

lunch 2 Sept 2010

lunch 2/9/10
We usually have crackers or bread for lunch, with cheese/cold meat/whatever, with the addition of soup in the colder weather. But occasionally, it’s nice to have something different.

As I said, last night’s red cabbage turned out to be lentils when we got the lid off – why do gremlins get into my freezer and relabel things? So I rummaged about and found a tub of aubergine and potato curry.

We tend to freeze Indian style food in small boxes, so we can have two different dishes with a meal – it just works better – so there’s generally a few different things in the freezer, and the aubergine and potato was what came out first.

Zapped the two tubs in the microwave, toasted a couple of wholemeal pitta breads. Delicious, and now the house smells like a takeaway 🙂 And I’m off to find a bit of fruit for pudding – apple or pear?

parathas

We eat a lot of Indian food, which means we eat a lot of rice. And sometimes I just want a change. So we decided to have a bash at some Indian bread last night.

Mixed 250g wholemeal flour, 4 tbsp of gram (chickpea) flour, 1 tsp of salt, and a good pinch of bicarb.  Added 1 tsp of fennel seeds and 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground, and 2 tbsp of veg oil, then about 250ml of water to make a dough.  I also have half a bag of spinach, so I finely chopped about 100g of that and bunged it in as well.

It made a very sticky dough, which was really quite hard to work. You’re supposed to roll them out to a 10cm round, brush with oil, fold in half, brush with oil again, then fold in half twice more so you have a triangular sort of affair.  Then roll them again until they’re 15cm across.  This bit didn’t go all that well, but Pete fried them in our cast iron flat pan and they were very tasty. I think I’d add a chopped chili next time.

We had them with an aubergine and potato stew; the mix made enough dough for 12 parathas, so we ate 3 last night, put enough for 6 in the freezer, and will eat the other three for lunch tomorrow, with the rest of the stew (boosted with some chickpeas, which are soaking now, and the last of the spinach).