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Archive for the ‘Curry’ Category

Good things come to those who wait…

Slow food is good food. Tomatoes left to ripen on the vine… spices gently simmered to release their warmth… flavours left to mingle in a pot.

One of my fellow bloggers in Scotland is running a slow cooking competition this week on her blog Tinned Tomatoes,  so I decided to use the opportunity to come up with a recipe that uses time to best effect.

Most dishes that you would make in a slow cooker sit happily in the category of comfort food but tend to be quite rich and often stodgy. I wanted to maximise the benefits of slow and gentle cooking but balanced with the refreshing bite of vegetables that have already had plenty of time to reach perfection and need no further fiddling to get the best out of them. Immediately I thought of lentil curry.

The lentils are tenderly simmered in spices, white wine and stock, encouraging them to soak up all these grand flavours. Once they have swelled and softened into something with a little more body, Greek yoghurt is stirred into the sauce for a velvety finish and then mixed with juicy vine tomatoes, cucumber and coriander leaves. Served with an extra dollop of yoghurt and plenty of mango chutney, this curry gives you the hot and spicy hit and the cooling antidote all in one mouthful. Its also so healthy you can get away with eating the whole packet of poppadoms at the same time without so much as a pang (although having done just that, I’m having to balance my little laptop on a rather bulging stomach while I write this post so do exercise some caution).

So on to the recipe… I adapted this from an earlier lentil curry I created but I have adjusted the ingredients and the approach to get the best out of the cooking method and I have to say I think this one is a keeper. I’ve added two secret ingredients that add an extra zing – a splash of red wine vinegar and a good squeeze of lime juice, added right at the end. If you taste it before and after you’ll see how they lift it.

Jac’s challenge was also specifically to create a recipe to be made in a slow cooker but unfortunately I dont own said appliance so I made mine in a normal pot with shorter cooking times. I’ve written the recipe for both but I haven’t been able to test the times and volumes of liquid with a slow cooker so this version comes with a slight warning (just keep an eye on it if you are making for the first time). Now if someone would just give me a Flavour Savour… 😉

Slow Cooked Lentil Curry

Serves 4-6 (served with brown chapatis or rice and poppadoms).

  • 250g (or 1 heaped cup) dried green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 spring onions
  • bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 chillies, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 pint chicken stock
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice from about half a lime

Chop the tomatoes, spring onions and coriander and set aside in the fridge.

Heat the oil in a large pan/slow cooker and toast the spices in the oil for about a minute. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and gently fry for another 2-3 min. Add the wine, turn up the heat and cook off, about 5 min.

In a normal pan

Add the stock and an extra cup of water. Add the lentils and simmer for about 30 min until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the tinned tomatoes and continue to simmer for a further 10 min or until the lentils are soft, adding a splash more water if it gets too dry. Finally add the vinegar and lime juice and stir. Turn off the heat and carefully stir in the yoghurt (somewhere I heard that stirring only in one direction helps to stop the sauce splitting, no idea if its fact or fiction but I do it now anyway). Mix in the fresh tomato, cucumber, spring onions and coriander and serve.

In a slow cooker

Add the stock and an extra 3 cups of water. Add the lentils and tinned tomatoes and simmer for 2-3 hours until most of the liquid is absorbed (as above add more water if its too dry). Finally add the vinegar and lime juice and stir. Turn off the heat and carefully stir in the yoghurt. Mix in the fresh tomato, cucumber, spring onions and coriander and serve.

 

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I made these ricotta stuffed tomatoes today for lunch from Aimee Lee’s blog “Cooking my way thin” and they were delicious! It was cold and grey outside and I was working from home while the joiners came to start renovating our kitchen so I decided to make something hot for lunch.

I didn’t have any beef tomatoes and I was cooking for one so I made two baby ones without the corn and courgettes and had them on toasted ciabatta drizzled with balsamic syrup. They look just like little red and white baubles so I think I’ll keep the recipe to use again as a starter at Christmas time!

Today is the last time I’ll be able to cook this week as tomorrow the sink and oven will be ripped out so as a final treat I’m making Bunny Chows for dinner tonight.  A Bunny Chow is essentially curry served in a hollowed out loaf of bread and is a South African fast food staple (if you want to know more about the history you can read this Wikipedia article). The magic thing about a bunny is that the bread doubles as a bowl for the curry and your side dish. You just pull bits of bread off and dunk them in the curry as you go, functional and delicious!

I’m not attempting to make the bread tonight because most of my cooking utensils are packed away but this is the one I was going to use from Barefoot Kitchen Witch. I made it with soup a few weeks ago and its perfect – soft but strong enough to hold the curry and you can make it ahead of time (thank you BKW!).

I’ve included two curry recipes that I’ve written: Chicken and Lentil. I’m making the lentil one tonight but they’re both just as nice.

Cooking in a building site

Chicken Curry

This is a rich creamy curry but you can make it slightly lighter by replacing the coconut milk with extra yoghurt at the end. Serves 2-4 people depending on the size of your tummy!

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 chilli, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt (or double if you aren’t using coconut milk)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

Gently heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices for 1 min. Add the onion, ginger and chilli and fry for 2 min. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add the chicken and fry for 4 min, then add the wine, cook off and turn down the heat. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 15 min. Turn off the heat, stir in the coriander and yoghurt and serve (stir the yoghurt in carefully otherwise it will curdle).

Lentil Curry

This is quite a light curry, especially with the fresh tomato and spring onions tossed through at the end. Serves 2-3.

  • 150g brown lentils
  • 3-4 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 chilli, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup wine (white although I use red if that’s all I have and it works fine)
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Chop 2 of the tomatoes, the spring onions and the coriander and set aside. Boil the lentils for about 20 min until soft but not mushy. In the meantime toast the spices in the oil and then fry the onion and chilli for 5 min. Add the tomato puree and fry for another 2 min. Add the wine and cook off. Add the remaining chopped tomato, the stock cube and half a cup of water. Add the drained lentils and simmer for 20 min. Turn off the heat and stir in the yoghurt. Finally mix in the fresh tomato, spring onions and coriander and serve.

Bunny Chow

  • 1 small loaf of bread (or half a loaf per person)
  • Curry of your choice

Cut the loaf of bread in half and hollow out the middle. Put the core to one side.  Spoon hot curry into the middle of the loaf and put the core back in the top. Serve on its own or with chutney and sambals.

    I’ve just eaten mine and I’m stuffed! Enjoy x

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