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).

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Spicy lentil soup

lentil-soup

Served here with croutons and fresh coriander.

This quantity will feed at least four people and with hunks of wholemeal bread makes a excellent supper:

  • 2 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 1 medium carrot (sliced)
  • 1 large celery stick (sliced)
  • 1 clove of garlic (sliced/roughly chopped)
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes (more if you like it hot)
  • a piece of fresh ginger (about 2cm square – chopped)
  • a good pinch of mixed herbs (or oregano or something similar)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (plus twice as much water)
  • 1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or stock cube equivalent)
  • 150g orange split lentils (washed under the cold tap in a sieve)
  • 2 tbs double cream
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chilli, ginger, herbs and turmeric. Mix the ingredients well, turn down the heat and stir frequently over a lowish heat for about five minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, the water, the stock powder and the lentils. Stir well, bring to the boil and simmer for about thirty minutes.

Blend the soup – in a liquidiser, food processor, or use a hand blender (my preference because it is so much easier to clean than a liquidiser or food processor) in the saucepan.

Stir in the cream and heat the soup until it just starts to boil. Add  the lemon juice and pepper to taste. At this point the soup is still very thick. You can add some cold water which will reduce the overall temperature so that it can be eaten immediately (if you are freezing it, it saves space).