Tarka dhal

I had some mushrooms, kale and half a can of chopped tomatoes in the fridge, so I made this warming, satisfying dhal. The recipe is based on one from My Goodness by Liz Nolan. Serves 2:

Tarka_Dhal

  • 175g yellow split peas
  • 475ml water
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 70g mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2cm cube of fresh ginger (grated)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A large pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala (ground)
  • 200g tinned chopped tomatoes (1/2 large can)
  • 90g chopped kale (washed and the stems removed)

Soak the split peas in cold water for 8 hours (or overnight).

Drain the split peas and put into a medium-sized saucepan with 400ml of water. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 40 minutes or until the split peas are cooked. Set aside in the cooking water.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan and stir-fry the mushrooms for 3 minutes. Transfer to a dish and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in the saucepan, add the onions and cook gently for 5 minutes. Then stir in the ginger, garlic, cumin, chilli, turmeric, coriander and garam masala. Cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and 75 ml of water. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the split peas and the mushrooms. Bring to the boil, and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the kale. Bring to the boil, and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add more water if the dhal is too thick.

Serve with naans.

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Moroccan mushrooms with couscous

This is based on a recipe I found on the BBC GoodFood website. Enough for 2:

Mushroom_chickpeas

  • Oil
  • 150g mushrooms (quartered)
  • 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
  • 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 tsp ground cumin
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • ½ 410g tin chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 90g couscous
  • ½ tsp harissa
  • 3 soft dried apricots (diced)
  • 20 raisins
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 130ml boiling water
  • Flat parsley (roughly chopped)

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a saucepan. Add the mushrooms and stir constantly over a high heat until they start to soften. Set aside.

Heat a 1 tbsp oil in another saucepan. Gently cook the onion 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cinnamon, cumin and chilli flakes, and cook for 1 min. Then stir in the tomatoes, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix ½ tbsp. of oil and the harissa and stir into the couscous (in a bowl). Stir in the dried apricots, raisins and pin nuts. Pour over the boiling water, stir and then cover. Leave to stand for 7 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.

When the tomato mixture has simmered for 15 minutes, stir in the mushrooms, the chickpeas and honey. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

To serve, fluff up the couscous with a fork, and serve with the mushroom mixture, scattered with parsley.

I served this with some green beans.

 

Chipotle chicken with Mexican rice

Chipotle_tile

Enough for 2 (with left-over rice):

For the chicken:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp chipotle paste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • 200g chopped tomatoes (1/2 a can)
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • A few sprigs of coriander (torn)

For the rice:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 large pepper chopped (I used the remains of two peppers used for a previous meal)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 100g basmati rice (or any long grain rice)
  • 250ml stock (I used 1/2 tsp vegi-stock powder)
  • 2 tbsp double concentrated tomato purée
  • 400g can of red kidney beans (drained)

Cooking the chicken – coat the chicken thighs in the chipotle paste and leave (covered) in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the fridge (do not throw away any remaining marinade). Heat the oil in a thick bottomed saucepan, and brown the chicken thighs all over. Remove the chicken thighs to a plate.

Turn down the heat and gently cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Tip the tomatoes into the dish in which the chicken was marinated, and swill round to incorporate the remaining marinade. Add this mixture to the onion mixture, together with the vinegar. Stir and add the chicken thighs. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes (or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked).

Cooking the rice – heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and gently cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin, oregano and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the rice, coating it with oil so that it begins to look transparent.

Stir in the tomato purée and the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the rice is nearly cooked (about 15 minutes). Add more water if the rice becomes dry. Add the kidney beans and cook for another 5 minutes (or until they are piping hot).

Serve with the chicken (sprinkled with coriander).

Vegi Indian meal – chickpeas and lentils

Punjabi

These recipes are based on some that appeared in Waitrose Kitchen magazine (November 2013 issue). I was actually rather disappointed with the results, which seemed rather bland to me. Does anyone have any suggestions?

These recipes are supposed to be for 4 people, but the chole recipe seemed to me to make just enough for 2 very hungry people (or 3 with normal appetites). I also added some of the liquid reserved from cooking to the chickpeas (and some spinach which happened to be in the fridge). For the daal recipe, I cut down the main ingredient (lentils) to 2/3 rds of the suggested amount.

Punjabi chole:

  • 150g chickpeas (soaked overnight and then cooked (in water) for about 45 minutes (boiling rapidly for the first 10 minutes))
  • [reserve a small amount of the liquid from cooking the chickpeas]
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 red chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • Ginger (equivalent of a 3cm cube, grated)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 100g leaf spinach
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Some torn coriander leaves

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. gently cook the onion for 10 minutes. Add the chillies, ginger and garlic. Stir and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and turmeric and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chickpeas and the bay leaf and about 100ml of the reserved cooking liquid. Stir the mixture and simmer gently for 10 minutes. If you are adding spinach, stir it in after 8 minutes and turn up the heat, stirring until it has wilted.

Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the garam masala, the lemon juice and the coriander. Serve.

Tadka daal:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • Ginger (equivalent of a 3cm cube, grated)
  • 2 red chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 200g red split lentils
  • 1 large tomato (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

Gently heat the oil in a large saucepan. Fry the cumin seeds for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chillies, ginger and garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the turmeric and cook for 1 minute.

Add the lentils and sufficient water to more than cover the pan contents. Stir, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Adding more water as necessary.

Stir in the tomato, and continue cooking until the lentils are cooked (10-15 minutes – you may need to add more water). Stir in the garam masala and serve.

I served these dishes with Lidl plain naans (which came top in this survey); currently 49p for a packet (2 naans).

Lamb tagine

tagine1-horz

This is my version of lamb tagine. Sainsburys had a special offer on butterflyed (boned) lamb legs.  Mine weighed about 750g and I used half of it (diced) for this meal for 2 or 3 people (more with more vegetables and some couscous). I will slow roast the other half of the meat within the next day or so:

  • Oil
  • 375g diced lamb (could use leg, shoulder, fillet – cooking times will vary)
  • 2 smallish onions (cut into narrow wedges)
  • 4 dates (stoned and roughly chopped)
  • 3 semi-dried apricots (roughly chopped – dried apricots will need soaking)
  • a small handful of raisins
  • 1 clove of garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 small piece of cinnamon
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1/3 of a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (the remaining tomatoes can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container (should last at least a week))
  • 1/2 stock cube (crumbled) – I used a mix of chicken and beef
  • Hot water
  • 1 large sweet potato (peeled, cut in quarters lengthways and cut into 2.5cm lengths)
  • 1 400g tin of chickpeas (drained)

Heat a little oil in a large saucepan (or a casserole dish that can go on the hob). Tip the lamb pieces into the pan and stir until they brown. Remove the meat.

Turn down the heat and add the onions to the pan and gently cook (stirring occasionally) for 5 minutes. Add the dates, apricots, raisins, garlic, chilli, cumin and cinnamon. Stir and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.

Return the meat the the pan. Add the bay leaf, the tomatoes, the stock cube and enough hot water to cover the meat mixture. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour (longer if you are using tougher cuts of meat).

Add the sweet potatoes. Bring back to the boil and simmer for another 25 minutes. Add the chickpeas. Bring back to the boil and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve.

This tasted very good and I did wonder if the absence of meat would have made a lot of difference. So you could try a vegetarian version, using vegi-stock powder, without the lamb and with some more vegetables – I think adding pieces of parsnip along with the sweet potatoes might be the answer. I will try it soon and blog the results.