Tag Archives: coconut

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.

Raw Brownie

This is a real success story.  It´s  a  5/10 in terms of how easy it is to make with superb results.  The first time we made this recipe we  used all cocoa powder.  As we are always trying get more health into our healthy desserts we were trying carob, which hasn’t got great press, unfairly so.  This recipe uses  50g carob powder and 25g cocoa.

Nothing was lost in the taste but a little gained in the originality of using  a fairly unknown ingredient.  I would see no problem in replacing the cocoa for the carob gram for gram.  This is an effective and tasty snack to pack up if you are training to get through to the next part of the day or just in your lunch box as a healthy sweet thing.  Raw Brownie has unlimited shelf life within reason.

Ingredients

300g dried figs
250g peeled almonds or 150g almonds and 100g walnuts
65g hazelnuts
75g cocoa or carob powder
50g dessicated coconut
2 tsps vanilla essence
3 tbsps orange blossom water (if you cannot get this then use either rosewater or fresh orange juice)
50g dried cranberries

Method 

Soak the figs in water for an hour.  Thoroughly drain the water and blend until nice and smooth in a food processor.  Roughly chop the almonds (and walnuts if you are using them), and add to the processor.  Pulse the nuts with the figs.  It is okay if there are a few chunks in the mix.  Chop the hazelnuts and add to the mix along with the cocoa powder, coconut and vanilla essence.  Pulse a few times.  The mix should be starting to come together now.

Remove from the food processor with a silicone spatula and place into a bowl.  Chop the cranberries with a large knife and stir into the mix.

At this point we want to add the orange blossom water.  Do this one tablespoonful at a time, making sure the cranberries are evenly distributed.  Once all the water has been added the mix should be smooth and pliable.

Take a disposable aluminum tray or tupperware container approximately 30cm long and 18cm wide, if you don´t have exactly these measurements that is okay, it will just affect the thickness of the brownie.  The desired thickness is 1cm thick.

With a spatula, evenly press the brownie into the container.  Once this is done, lay greaseproof paper over the top.  Place a heavy weight over the top and leave for an hour.  This is to ensure the brownie is nice and compact.

Place in the fridge for one hour to set, before cutting into pieces.  It is upto you what size pieces to cut the brownie, but they do not need to be big.

Keep in a tupperware container in the fridge.

Sugar-free Coconut Energy Balls

Energy balls are a must have in your fridge, for those of you with a sweet tooth who want a sugar-free hit. Dates have a natural sweetness to them, but are also digested very easily, therefore supplying a quick burst of energy.  You could use any type of nut in this recipe. Nuts are a source of protein and general research shows that walnuts help reduce cholesterol.

Ingredients (makes approx 10 balls)

150g dates (try to buy stoned dates, as it saves a lot of time)
50g dried figs
150g walnuts
65g dried apricots
125g dessicated coconut

Method

Soak the dates and the figs in water for an hour.  Roughly chop the dates, figs and walnuts and blend everything together.  A fairly smooth consistency is best, as it makes them easier to roll, but the odd bit of walnut here and there is fine.  Once this is done chop the apricots into small pieces and add to the mixture.  Stir in half of the coconut.

Roll into small balls and roll in the remainder of the coconut, making sure the outside is well coated. Place the balls in a sealed container and leave in the fridge for at least an hour, before eating.  These will keep for a long time, so you could make a bigger batch.