Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Veggie heaven: chickpea curry

My spice cupboard is beginning to overflow. With spices that I'd never heard of before I started getting into curries. I really did think that Nigella was a made up name, like a female Nigel, but it turns out that there is a seed by the same name. Who knew.
I've spent much of the Australian winter trying out different curry recipes, they are a wonderful comfort food, and really very healthy when you make them yourself. The curry paste jars are great for a very easy meal, but they require you to ladle in the cream and are very fatty and indulgent as a result.
Last night I tried out a new chickpea curry - I liked the sound of having a slightly bigger bean as the core ingredient in this veggie curry.

420g tinned chickpeas (or soaked chickpeas)
1/2 cup ghee (I use a mixture of butter and canola oil)
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin seeds (not ground)
2 chopped onions
6 cloves garlic
1 tomato, chopped
1 chilli pepper, finely chopped
1Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped coriander

Heat a large pan and add in ghee (or butter/oil mix). Toast cumin seeds until they begin to spit.
Add the onions until they have a little colour (5-10 mins). Then add and saute the garlic for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chilli pepper, garam masala, turmeric, fenugreek, salt, cayenne pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes.
Next, add in the chickpeas and once stirred through, pour in a cup of water. Allow the spices to filter through for the next 20 minutes.

Once ready, stir in the chopped coriander and serve with rice.

Granola, queen of muesli

Granola has always held a sort of mystery quality, like the unattainable queen of muesli, something more beautiful and delicious than all other types. Golden oatey flapjack treacle goodness that you can eat for breakfast. And worthy of being served in foodie cafes and restaurants.
For some reason I let it stay this way in my head until today. My friend google made it a whole lot less scary, it really is manageable!  You may have to visit your local health food store to buy some of the ingredients, but that's the only drawback. It's baking for non-bakers, no technique, just measure the ingredients and go.
Granola is the slow cooker of baking - so over a couple of hours you will get the most beautiful smell, and warmth pushed through you house. Cinnamon and honey, homey and delicious, and not sickly sweet. Just for this alone it's pretty much worth giving it a go.
A luxury breakfast or a mid-morning snack. This makes about 6 portions. It's also more healthy than lots of the toasted muesli in the supermarket.


3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup chopped raw almonds
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup wholewheat (wholemeal) flour
¼ cup oat or wheat bran
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp ground cardamom
¾ cup honey
½ cup unsweetened, unfiltered apple juice
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 tsp canola or sunflower oil
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbs fresh orange juice

Preheat the oven to 120C
Mix the dry ingredients (oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flour, bran, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom). Then mix the honey in thoroughly with the other wet ingredients. (If the honey is too cold place it in the microwave for a few seconds)
Then lay out on a baking sheet covered in baking paper.
The granola needs to be cooked for 2 hours, but it needs to be checked and turned to avoid browning or burning the edges every 15 minutes or so.
Leave to cool down and crisp up. Store in the refrigerator

Once cool serve with cold milk, fruit or compote and yogurt

For variations try adding: dried cherries, sultanas, raisins, dried banana (do not bake these!)