Tag Archives: cumin

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.

Re-Fried Beans

re fried 4
I am going with red kidney beans for this dish as I prefer the colour and they are probably easier to find. In the photos I have used pinto beans which are typically Spanish, but on reflection I normally use red kidney beans and prefer them.

Re- fried beans will liven up any simple protein eg. grilled chicken, fish or tofu, and there will be no need to make a sauce. Amongst other things they are a good source of protein so you could just have them with brown rice, salad, green vegetables or even just a bag of tortilla chips. This is not a mash, it is fluid with plenty of the kidney  beans visible.

If you are using from a packet you need 250g and to soak them overnight and cook them accordingly until soft. Otherwise use a tin. If you are soaking and cooking them, keep the liquor they have been cooked in and use that to make the dish. If you are using them from a tin then wash the beans well before using them. There is never very much of this left after it is served up. If there is then put it in the fridge and reheat by putting a splash of water in a pan and adding the beans, keep stirring the beans until they are hot and you have a thick but wet consistency.

ChipotleIngredients

250g red kidney beans
1 medium white onion
6 cloves of garlic
Chipotle tabasco or regular tabasco (an optional ingredient – the dish will survive without it)
1 1/2 tbsps (15g) ground cumin
1.5 – 2  litres of stock (cube or powder is fine from health food section)
Fresh coriander (if you can get it, nice touch)
Light olive oil

Method

Finely chop the onion and crush the garlic. Put a large frying pan onto the heat, add the olive oil and sweat off the onions and garlic. Add the cumin and stir for a couple of minutes.

Re fried 2Add the beans and the liquid (if kept), stir and add the stock. You will need to keep adding more water in the cooking process, so boil your kettle again in preparation,  make up a hot stock and keep topping up as the beans thicken. It is said, and I always do it, not to add cold water to pulses when you are  cooking them or the pulse will not soften.

re fried 3Keep adding liquid and breaking/mashing the beans as you go. I use a silicon spatula and just press down onto the beans as they are cooking, don’t break them up too much, you want some texture.

If you have chipotle tabasco or even ordinary tabasco add to taste. Finish off with chopped coriander.

Courgette, Mint & Feta Fritters with Cherry Tomato Salsa

Fritters are normally a deep-fried thing.  Mine  are very shallow fried for colour then finished in the oven. They are a bit like crepes in so much as it takes one or two to find your flow. This works well as a light lunch, a starter or a vegetarian option.  The main ingredients are courgettes and feta so don’t worry if you miss out on the cumin or the capers it will still taste great.

I tried to work this recipe without flour but they were just too delicate so I have added a spoonful of spelt flour which binds it and gives it strength.  You can use any flour. I don’t cook with flour very often but I always have a bag of white spelt flour in my cupboard for the occasions that it is called for.

Ingredients

500g grated courgette
100g feta cheese
8g mint leaves (20 leaves)
1 egg
1 tablespoon of tahini
1 tablespoon of spelt flour (or any other alternative flour will do)
1 tablespoon of capers
1 teaspoon of cumin
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of lemon

Method

Squeeze the water out of the grated courgette – you can either use a tea towel by putting the grated courgette into the middle, then gathering it into a ball and twisting until the water comes through.  You can also use your hands, be thorough with this otherwise the excess water thins down the mix.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.  Put the grated courgette in a bowl, crumble in the feta then add the rest of the  ingredients. Mix well with a spatula. You should have a thick, moist mix.

Put your non stick frying pan onto a medium to high heat. Let the pan get hot then brush the surface with oil, just enough to prevent sticking. Always do a tester first, just so you know how it will behave. With a dessert spoon drop the mix onto the oil. Don’t mess with it too much as it takes a minute to set. Loosen the edge with a egg slice then flip, it needs to be a golden brown colour. When the other side is done put it onto a baking tray lined with oven paper. Wipe the frying pan with kitchen paper and start again until you have made four. You can prepare these in advance.

Put the baking tray in the preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes. Leave for 5 mins to cool off a bit before serving.

Cherry Tomato Salsa Ingredients

1 small packet of cherry tomatoes (any variation will do, the redder the better)
1 spring onion (a shallot will do)
1 red chili (de-seeded)
Squeeze of lime or lemon
Squeeze of orange
2 dessertspoons of olive oil
10g corinader

Method

Quarter the cherry tomatoes into a bowl. Finely chop the spring onion and the de-seeded chili. Add to the tomatoes with lemon, orange juice and olive oil. The orange juice is not for its taste or sweetness it’s to counteract the sharpness of the lemon, this enables you to use less salt. Sir well then add salt and pepper to taste. Ideally this can be made well in advance as it gives the flavors time to permeate.

Red Lentil Soup with Feta & Coriander

Red lentil soup is a soup rooted in Middle-Eastern cuisine particularly Lebanon and Israel. It is a solid source of protein and dietary fibre, as well as being tasty and economical. This ‘half an hour soup’ could easily be made the day before and kept covered in the fridge.  I have kept it close to its roots taking it to another level with a feta, yogurt and herb mix. This works well if you are trying to eat a small lunch as it will keep you going until the evening.

Ingredients (serves 4)

500g red lentils
60 ml sunflower oil (4 tablespoons)
4 litres of vegetable stock (good stock powder is fine)
1 small tin of chopped tomatoes
2 medium sized onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of cumin powder
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon  of black pepper
1 fresh red chili or a pinch of cayenne pepperFor the garnish
1 small pot of natural yogurt (120g)
100g Greek feta cheese
1 spring onion or shallot, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
10 grams of fresh coriander
10 grams of fresh mint
Olive oil

Method

Heat the oil, then  add the chopped onions and pressed garlic. When the onions and garlic are soft add the spices, chili and black pepper, stir into a thick paste. Add the red lentils, then the stock and tomatoes. Stir together, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for a further 25 minutes.  Turn off the heat.

With a stick blender or a food processor  pulse the soup 8 or 9 times. Don’t blend until it’s a smooth soup, pulsing just brings it together.  If you don’t have either accessories don’t worry it will still be good.

Season with a few drops of fresh lemon and sea salt

The Garnish
Put the yoghurt in a bowl, crumble in the feta, add the lemon zest, chopped mint and spring onion. Mix really well with a few drops of lemon.

To Finish
Pour the soup into the bowl, add a generous spoon of the feta mix in the middle then the fresh coriander broken onto the yogurt-feta mix. I like to drizzle a few drops of olive oil on the top (optional).