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Chicken, Chickpea and Pumpkin Middle Eastern inspired Curry

I can’t lay claim to having created this dish, as the original came from the Women’s Day fame.

Chicken, Chickpea and Pumpkin Curry

[ Serves: 4 | Time: 60 Minutes | Cost: $8 ]
[ Brittanys Rating: 4.5 / 5 | My Rating: 4.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 small chicken, broken down into pieces (about 1kg worth)
3 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1 onion, diced
1 can tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
1½ teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
toasted almond slivers for garnish

Spices

Method

  1. In a large saute pan, fry the onions in a little oil until translucent. Add the spices and garlic and cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds or so.
  2. Add the tomatoes to the pan and mix well. Add the chicken and chick peas and ensure they are coated in the mixture. Cook over a moderate heat with the lid on until the chicken is tender; about 15 minutes.

    Submerge the chicken in the sauce.

  3. Add the pumpkin and stir to mix everything well. Cook with the lid on until the pumpkin and chicken are cooked through. This may take another 20 or so minutes.

    Adding the pumpkin

  4. Garnish with toasted almonds and serve hot, with or without rice.

Observations

  • I adored the bold flavours of this dish. I am so used to Asian style curries that every now and then I will try a middle eastern curry and be blown away. The pumpkin is a winner in this dish and I think it won over Brittany too!
  • Brittany and I both adored the crunch of the nuts in the garnish. So much so that we ended up including a lot more than is strictly required for a garnish.
  • The sauce thickened up too much for me on a few occasions and I added a splash of water to it to keep it at the right consistency.

    when the sauce has reduced too much, add some water.

  • I used a whole size 10 chicken in this recipe. I broke it down into pieces and removed the skin from the larger pieces. This reduces the fat content and makes it a healthier meal without losing on taste.
  • Diabetic Note: There are about 15 grams of carbohydrates in the pumpkin but the rice, as always is a killer. There are around 45 grams of carbohydrates per 150 grams (about half a cup) of cooked rice. Watch your serving sizes to stay out of trouble.
  • Ethical Note: I won this chicken in a raffle and instead of roasting it, I broke it down to use it in this meal. I reserved the bones to make my own chicken stock. Sustainability sometimes requires thinking outside the box.
 

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Fish Red Curry

I have to admit that both Joe and I do enjoy fish, but the ethical and sustainability issues surrounding the fishing industry leaves us both quite worried about purchasing and consuming it. We did recently discovery that NZ fisheries is quota limited, however, that quota is made with sustainability as its core focus. We purchased a kilo bag of fish fillets about four months ago and we are slowly eating our way through it.

[  SERVES: 4  |  TIME: 25 MIN  |  COST: <$5 |  MY RATING:  2/5 ]

Ingredients

400 g firm white fish fillets, cut into bite size pieces
400 ml can of coconut cream
200 ml stock (vegetable preferred)
1 onion, diced finely
½ cup potato, cut into bite size pieces
½ cup sweet potato, cut into bite size pieces
½ cup pumpkin, cut into bite size pieces
½ peas
½ red capsicums, chopped finely
2 – 4 tablespoons red curry paste
1 – 2 tablespoons garlic
dash of oil

Methodology

  • In a wok, warm a little oil before adding the garlic and red curry paste. Cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add your onions and fry until transparent.
  • Add your stock, potato and sweet potato and cook gently until almost cooked through. This may take 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the heat.
  • Add the remaining vegetables, fish,  and coconut cream. Stir gently, and remove from heat once everything is cooked through. This may take and additional 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the heat.
  • Serve immediately with rice.

Observations

  • We use to be able to purchase basa which is a firm white fish from the catfish family. It is perfect for this type of dish, however, our supply ran out several months ago. When purchased this bag of NZ Hoki, we hoped it would have the same flavour and texture, but I have to admit, it is somewhat lacking by comparison. As a result, this dish was not well received by our family today. I am certain that had basa been used, the rating would have been at least 4/5 instead of the 2/5 it got this day.
  • Diabetic Note: The rice is basmati, although, to be honest, we generally use brown rice. At any rate, the rice is high in carbohydrates, as is the potato and sweet potato. As a result, adjust your rice according to your exchange point limit. I have about ¼ – ½ cup of rice with this dish and my BGLs are fine.
  • Trawler Hauling Nets Source: http://www.photol...

    Trawler Hauling Nets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Ethical Note: As mentioned briefly above, there is a huge ethical debate about sustainable fisheries. Some scientific researches suggest that any fish consumption is unsustainable during the current era as wild populations struggle with long term over exploitation. Many commercially popular species are currently endangered, such as the Orange Roughy.  There is a great deal of scientific literature about the habits of commercial fisheries who drag heavy nets on the oceans floor, disturbing benthos life, destroying coral reefs and disrupting the delicate ecosystems that are present there. Additionally, most consumers are aware of the common industry practice of cutting entangled nets and fishing line free, leaving them to choke, kill and drown ocean faring wildlife. Many feel that the purchasing of any fish contributes to this process, and I do tend to agree. I do feel however that there is a silver lining here. It is vital to realise that fisheries serves to feed many of the worlds poor and is vital for their existence. It is also important to recognise that not all global fisheries exceed catch limits, exclude the annual catch of other countries during their quota setting exercises, harvest endangered species or engage in destructive fishing habits. If you are going to purchase seafood, I would urge you to become educated on the subject, discover the source of your product (country and company!), research the relevant limits and impacts and choose wisely. (Having said that, we chose some time ago to not purchase any more fish or seafood products.)

 

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Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry

I’ve been craving lentils for a few days now but I must admit, my recipe collection for lentils is a bit… bare. I scoured the internet this morning for inspiration, and stumbled across this little gem from food.com. I did alter it quite a bit, but I must say – it was delicious!

Ingredients – serves four

500g sweet potato
1 large onion
1 cup dry red lentils
1 litre veggie stock
½ cup flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons curry paste
1 tablespoon garlic
½ tablespoon ginger
4 bay leaves
Drizzle of oil

Methods

  1. Dice the sweet potato into small bite size pieces (use the photo above as a guide). Chop the onion finely.
  2. In a pan, add a little oil and allow to warm. Add the curry paste, and cook until fragrant. Add the ginger, garlic, lentils, sweet potato, onions and enough stock to cover all ingredients. Stir well before adding the bay leaves.
  3. Cook with a lid on for 20 minutes. Check every 5 minutes and replenish the stock as needed.
  4. Serve over rice and garnish generously with parsley.

Observations

  • Awesome, delicious meal. I used a Thai Massaman Curry past for my base. The flavours were delicious, and in hindsight, I should have added a dash of coconut milk for a creamier texture. You could alter the taste dramatically by using a different curry paste. The original author recommended a Sharwoods Rogan Josh Curry paste which would have been equally as delicious.
  • I served this dish with some basmarti rice which is more diabetic friendly. It would have been to die for with brown rice!
  • This would work with potatoes and other such ingredients, however, I wont use potato because of their high carbohydrate content.
  • Diabetics Note: I was a little nervous with this dish, and for good reason. It had carbs from the rice and sweet potato. I limited my rice to half a cup cooked, and my BGLs behaved accordingly – they were quite high for my usual post meal BGL’s. Id probably not have rice at all next time.
  • Ethical Note: I opted to use vegetable stock tonight instead of chicken stock as a concious ethical decision. I don’t think it lost out on flavour, as it was quite more’ish!
 

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Curried Veggies and Red Lentils Soup

We have been having some terrible cold weather lately, and I had intended on doing this yesterday but the plans got shuffled. Anyway, today was the day, and I am so glad I did this. This soup was healthy, hearty and delicious and was inspired by The Veggie Mama. It is vegan / vegetarian friendly and would work perfectly for No Meat Mondays!

Ingredients

1 large potatoe

1 slice of a large sweet potato

1 slice of pumpkin

1 brown onion

1 stalk celery

1/2 zuchinni

1.5 cups red lentils

1 teaspoon of each mustard seeds, tumeric, cumin, chilli flakes, parsley and Caraway seeds

2 teaspoons / cloves of garlic (or to taste)

2 cups veggie stock

2 cups water

a splash of oil and a tea spoon of butter.

Method

  1. Chop all vegetables into small bite size pieces. In a saucepan, add a little oil / butter and the onions.  After a few minutes, add the spices and garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent and the spices are aromatic. Add the remaining vegetables, and saute until they are covered in the oil / spices.
  2. Add the lentils and vegetable stock. Mix well. Cook until the vegetables are cooked and the lentils are tender. On a moderate heat, this should only take you 20 – 30 minutes. You can adjust the texture of the soup to suit yourself – add more water for a thinner soup or reduce for a thicker, heartier soup.
  3. You can either serve it chunky, or use the stick blender for a smoother consistency like I have here. A warm crusty roll will work wonders, but this soup is hearty and filling!

Observations

  • Diabetics please note: I added potatoes and sweet potatoes to this dish to up the carb content, but my sugars were quite low after an hour. I would definitely recommend a slice of bread or bread roll to lift the carb content to 3 exchanges (45g carbs)
  • Don’t be tempted to add all the water at once as the soup will be too thin and reduction may inadvertently burn the soup.
  • Adjust the herbs and spices to suit your own tastes, but the 1 teaspoon measure for each spice creates a mild tasty soup.
  • My family would be tempted to add sour cream to this dish. Suit your own tastes.
 
 

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Curried Veggie Parcels

I must admit, this is one of those dishes I only make a few times a year. I am not sure why I wait for so long between servings, as my family adore them. They are not even particularly hard to make, but it can be time consuming.

Ingredients

1 large potatoe

1 slice of a large sweet potato

1 slice of pumpkin

1 cup frozen peas

1 brown onion

1 stalk celery

1/2 zuchinni

Sprinkle of mustard seeds, tumeric, cumin, ground coriander

garlic to taste

Jug full of hot water or vegie stock.

sesame seeds

Packet of puff pastry

Method

  1. Chop all vegetables into small bite size pieces. In a frying pan, add a little oil and the onions.  After a few minutes, add the spices and garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent and the spices are aromatic. Add the remaining vegetables and cover with water. Cook on a moderate heat with the lid on until the potatoes are cooked. You will need to monitor it carefully and add water as needed – you don’t want them to dry out, but you don’t want to make it into soup. Towards the end of the cooking process, reduce the water content without letting the vegetables burn.
  2. Defrost the pastry until it is easy to work with, but not totally thawed. Using a knife, cut each sheet into quarters. Turning the sheet on the diagonal (to form diamonds instead of squares) spoon some mixture into the bottom corner of each quarter. Fold the top down to form a triangle, and seal the edges with a fork. Stab the top layer in the centre with a fork to create a steam vent before placing on the oven tray.
  3. Carefully coat each triangle with a milk wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds before placing in a moderate oven for 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Allow to cook slightly before serving. My family loves a range of sauces with them (tomato, curry, sweet chilli) but I have to admit I am partial to mango chutney – nom nom

Observations

  • Be very careful not to over cook the vegetables. You want them to retain their shape and integrity and not collapse. See step 2 photo above for guidance.
  • Care should be taken while they bake as they go from white to burnt in a heart beat! Keep an eye on them and adjust the times as needed.
  • Taste the vegie mixture while cooking (prior to making up the triangles). Adjust spices as needed.
  • My Nana made a similar dish when I was a child which she called “cottage pie”. It was nothing like cottage pie, and I think she struggled to find an Australian word to do it justice. As is typical in Maltese cuisine, she would add a tin of “Hamper Corn Beef” and allow the beef to spread through the mixture.  It adds a delicious unique taste that is quite typically Maltese and I recommend giving that variation an attempt!
  • I have to admit that tonight’s dinner was made so much easier by the help of my truly awesome husband. To speed up the process, he peels veggies while I chop, and he does the milk washes and sesame seed sprinkling while I construct the triangles. This makes life a lot easier if you can organise a sort of construction line. (We actually do this quite often – its a little quality time that we both enjoy.)
 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Food: Vegetarian

 

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