Lentil and bulgur pilaf

This is based on an Ottolenghi recipe, which he suggests is one of the ultimate comfort foods. My version contains far less oil and butter, but still seems fairly comforting to me. Enough for 2 people as a main meal.

  • 5 tbsp olive oil;Lentil&bulgar_Pilaf
  • 1 aubergine (cut into 2cm dice);
  • 60g bulgur;
  • 70g green lentils (rinsed);
  • Bay leaf;
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds;
  • 1 medium onion (chopped);
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed);
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric;
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice;
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon;
  • 170ml water;
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds;
  • 1 tbsp raisins;
  • Zest of half a lemon (grated);
  • 15g butter;
  • Black pepper;
  • Lemon juice to taste;
  • Fresh coriander;
  • Greek yogurt (to serve on the side).

Mix 3 tbsp of oil with the diced aubergine. Spread the aubergine on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 180C (Gas mark 4), until browned and nearly cooked though.

Meanwhile, cook the lentils with the bay leaf on plenty of water. Bring to the boil, simmer for 12 minutes and drain (they should be al dente).

At the same time, heat the remaining oil in a large oven proof, lidded casserole, and cook the cumin seeds for about 1 minute. Turn down the heat, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, turmeric, allspice and cinnamon, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the bulgur and the water, bring to the boil, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Stir in the aubergines, lentils, almonds, raisins, lemon zest and butter, and season with black pepper. Place in the oven at 160C (Gas Mark 3), and bake for 10 minutes, or until the lentils are just becoming soft.

Stir in lemon juice to taste, and serve sprinkled with coriander and a portion of Greek yogurt.

 

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.

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.

Kedgeree

Kedgeree-long-vert

Traditionally a breakfast dish, I could eat this any time. Here’s my recipe for 2;

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp curry powder (amount depends on personal preference and strength of the curry powder)
  • 1/2 tsp pilau rice seasoning (optional)
  • 120g brown long grain rice
  • 1/3 of a fish stock cube (or 1 tsp vegi-stock powder)
  • Hot water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225g smoked haddock fillet (skinned and boned)
  • 1/2 a lemon (to squeeze)
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
  • A few torn coriander leaves
  • Black pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the spices and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, so that it is coated in oil and begins to look a little transparent.

Add water to cover the rice mixture and stir in the crumbled stock cube (or stock powder). Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer very gently, stirring and topping up with hot water as necessary. The rice should be cooked in about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile boil the eggs for 12 minutes (starting from boiling). Drain, hit them with a spoon to crack the shells in a few places (this makes them easier to peel), and cool in cold water. When cold, peel and chop roughly.

Cook the fish (with a squeeze of lemon juice) in the microwave (or steam over a pan of water (you could steam it over the rice)), on ‘medium’ for about 2 minutes. When cooked, divide it into flakes, adding any liquid to the (now cooking) rice.

When the rice is just about cooked, stir in the frozen peas; increase the heat and cook for 2 minutes. Then stir in the mango chutney, the flaked fish and another squeeze of lemon juice (more if liked), and return to the heat to make sure the kedgeree is piping hot. Add black pepper to taste.

Serve sprinkled with the chopped hard boiled eggs and the torn coriander leaves.

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).

In search of tasty vegiburgers again

Burgers1-horz

I later tried making the vegiburgers in In search of tasty vegiburgers with the suggested main ingredient (two fairly large sweet potatoes). I also doubled the amount of curry powder and ditched the pitta breads.

I served the burgers on plates with salad together with mango chutney (I like Waitrose’s ‘Hot & Spicy’ variety) and a dressing made with about 200 ml of Greek yogurt mixed with a heaped teaspoon of turmeric, two tablespoons of chopped mint and a squeeze of lemon juice.

The result tasted spicier, which was good; but it was difficult to tell the burgers from the previous ones made from old potatoes and carrots – so maybe most root vegetables would do (possibly not turnips which have a strong flavour and a ‘hard’ texture).