Simple chicken pilaf

Chicken_pilaf

This is based on a recipe which appeared in Sainsbury’s live well for less magazine (Issue 04). Enough for 2:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 boned chicken breast (cut in to smallish chunks)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed/chopped)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 leek (sliced)
  • 120g basmati rice
  • About 20 raisins
  • chicken stock (equal to twice the volume of the uncooked rice)
  • 80g kale (washed, cut and with the stalks removed)
  • 100g frozen peas

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan. When hot, add the chicken, and brown. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon.

Turn down the heat and add the remaining oil. Stir in the garlic and the spices and cook for 1 minute. Add the leeks and cook slowly for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, raisins and add the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, and simmer (covered) for about 12 minutes, or until the rice is almost cooked.

Add the kale and frozen peas and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Serve.

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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.

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).