Tag Archives: chickpeas

Roast Butternut Squash Chickpea and Coconut Curry

Pumpkin

This kind of dish is a staple of South Indian cuisine. Straightforward and quick to make, it will also add a vegetarian option to your repertoire. I have worked on the textures by roasting off the squash which gives it a crispy and sweet feel, not mushy like when you cook it in the coconut milk. The cashews also add a big crunch to the curry.

Here we also have a solid introduction to the basis of Asian curries which is the paste. This an example of the most basic of pastes which is onion, garlic and ginger blended. You can see where the consistency of Indian and Thai curries come from when you start cooking this way.

Fenugreek can be harder to find than other spices.  It takes a pestle and mortar to grind it to a powder, but it does add another depth to a dish which is always good, but you can lose it.

Ingredients (serves 4)

600g butternut squash
1 medium onion
6 cloves of garlic
25g ginger
2 to 4 fresh chillies (red or green)
1 lime
1 bunch of fresh coriander
2 tsps ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek (optional)
1 tsp mustard seeds (optional)
750ml coconut milk (2 tins)
1 tin of chick peas (400g)
Sunflower oil (or any oil)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
70g cashews

Prep list

Blend or grate the onion, garlic and ginger. Peel and cut the squash into 3cm chunks. Drain the chick-peas, pick the coriander, and mix together the fenugreek, cumin and coriander. Chop the chillies and roast off the cashews.

Method

Turn the oven to 200 degrees. Toss the cubes of squash in oil, put onto a baking tray and roast off in the oven. Spread the squash out so its not heaped on top of each other. Cook until browned and soft, about twenty mins, being gentle so it doesn’t turn to mush.

Meanwhile, put a pan with the oil onto a medium heat. Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds, as soon as they begin to pop add the onion, garlic and ginger. Fry off without colouring them too much. When really soft after about 5 minutes add the spice and cook some more, constantly stirring so it doesn’t take on the bottom and then take off the heat. Stir in the coconut milk, salt, sugar and chilli then return to a low heat with the chickpeas and cook for thirty minutes. Take off the heat and taste.

PasteSqueeze half of the lime and tweak as you feel necessary for salt. Don’t worry if you think the sauce could be a bit sweeter, the sweetness of the squash will come through when its all combined. Gently fold in the roasted squash, again,  being careful it doesn’t turn into a mush.

To serve put some steamed rice in the bowl, and ladle the curry with some sauce. Roughly crush the cashews (I use the bottom of a pan and lean on it so it breaks them up). Sprinkle a generous amount of  cashews then finish with a fat pinch of picked coriander.

Hummus

If you are going to have one dip nailed and down in your repertoire then let it be hummus.  There are a lot of different dips out there but hummus without a doubt is King.  It´s good for a week in the fridge so don’t worry if it seems like a lot when you make it, keep it in covered in the fridge for ‘snack attacks.’  Raw vegetables, rice crackers anything like that with hummus fills the hole in a low fat and healthy way. It also works  well as an accompaniment with lamb, chicken, boiled egg and salads.The main ingredient in this dish is tahini (sesame paste) – readily available in UK supermarkets and health food shops – so don’t scrimp on it.  Here I use 125ml, you could get away with 100ml, any less and the hummus will not taste right.  It seems like a lot to use, but tahini is the money shot ingredient.Hummus is a double dose of protein from the chick peas and the sesame paste as well being of high fibre content.

Ingredients

250g cooked chickpeas (soaked and cooked or from a tin)
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
125ml (half a cup) tahini
80ml (third of a cup) olive oil
175ml (1 cup) of water
Three large pinches of Maldon sea salt

Method

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender, until smooth  (you can use a stick blender if you don’t have a Magi-mix type blender).  You may need to add more water – as there are so many different sizes and types of chick pea, its hard to quantify, just add water bit by bit.  You are looking for a smooth consistency and not too thick.  Taste for seasoning.

Place into a serving bowl, pour a little olive oil over before serving.

Quick-Fix Spanish Soup

I don’t often use the word ‘quick’ when referring to my recipes as I don’t normally focus on that kind of quick cooking, but from start to bowl this delicious soup takes 30 minutes – 20 of those were letting it cook. This is a typical lunchtime soup across Spain that you would find on any ‘menu del dia’ in cafes, bars or restaurants. I always put in a handful of something green at the end to cook in the soup – in this instance I used spinach because that’s all I could find in my local shop, but it can be any green vegetable – cut it so it fits into the rest of the soup. Make sure you allow for it’s correct cooking time eg. 1 minute for spinach, 5 minutes for peas, 7 minutes green beans. Always taste to be sure.

Ingredients (serves 4) 

1 medium sized onion
1 carrot
1 leek
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 red pepper
1/2 sweet potato
1 tin of chick-peas
1 heaped tablespoon of paprika
10g parsley
200g spinach
1 litre of stock
You can also use any bits of vegetables that you have left in your fridge. The onion, carrot and garlic are important as the base. I had sweet potato and red pepper in my fridge to use up and it really worked. It will make for a better soup if you cut all the vegetables the same size.

Method

Cut the vegetables into 1cm pieces. Open and rinse the chickpeas. Fry off the vegetables and garlic in olive oil. When they are looking a bit brown, add the paprika, stir well and then add the stock. When it comes to the boil turn the soup down. Cook for a further 15 minutes then add the chick-peas.

Cook for another 5 minutes. Turn off the soup, grind some black pepper into it, then add the spinach and parsley and leave with the lid on for a minute. Taste for seasoning and serve.