Friday, December 31, 2010

Chickpea Curry

Here is another delicious curry to share with you.
I have three Chickpea Curries I make often, and another couple to try if I fancy them!
In some ways this is the most inappropriate one to share because it includes ingredients like asafoetida, tamarind and chaat masala, that aren't so well known in the West. But O it is a delicious curry. The first time I made it I wrote 'Such yummy sauce!' beside the recipe in my book.

Also, this is the one I made recently, so I have a photo! And another good thing to share is that I froze half of it, and it defrosted and warmed up scrumptiously. This makes it precious in my household where there is only me to feed!

It is also good to consider what a treat it might be on a YamDaisy Menu, a delicious curry that you might not make yourself, but would be delighted to eat every time it is served at the YamDaisy Cafe.

CHANA MASALA (That pretty well means Chick Pea Curry!)

250g chickpeas, soak and cook, reserving liquid (= 2 cans of chickpeas)
2 tsp tamarind paste soaked in hot water and when cool put through a sieve to get a thick puree

Roughly chop and then blend to a paste:
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves,
2-3 cm fresh ginger
1 green chili
Now heat 2/3 cup of oil and gently fry the onion mixture until golden brown

1 tbsp ground cumin,
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
a pinch of asafoetida
stir for a minute, and then take the pan off the heat and carefully add
2 tbsp of thick yoghurt,

1 tbsp garam masala,
stir until it is completely mixed in and then back on the heat gradually add
3 cups of reserved water from cooking the chickpeas (or just water!) and bring to a simmer

Add the tamarind paste,
the chickpeas
half a lemon (the whole thing, not just the juice!)
3 green chillies (also whole)
Simmer 30 minutes and remove the lemon. If the sauce isn't thick, keep simmering until it is.

Stir in
2 tsp chaat masala
1/4 tsp garam masala

I have adapted the recipe from a book called "Food of India" and this day I served it with rice, beans (a favourite lately!), chopped tomatoes and lots of fresh coriander. Absolutely delicious!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Curried Peas and Cheese

I found this recipe so many years ago that Charmaine Solomon knew Australians would generally have no idea what paneer is, so she made use of ricotta to make the cheese that goes with the peas.
This was the first curry recipe I made that wasn't bought curried powder fried up and turned into a vegetable stew with a few sultanas thrown in (this might give you a good idea of how old I am!!!!).

I loved this recipe so much, and I still get the same pleasure every time I make it. While most of my cooking has become more authentic as I have learned about Indian food and ingredients, and I can buy paneer at my local shops, I still make this recipe in the same way. It is just such a delicious dish. If you want to get more authentic, look up Muttar Paneer, but maybe you will love this recipe too!

Cheese and Peas
250g ricotta, drain on paper towels, form into small balls.
Heat 1 tbsp ghee and 1 tbsp oil together and fry the ricotta balls til golden.
Lift out and drain on paper towels while you do the next steps.

In the same pan fry
2 finely chopped onions,
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 tsp of grated ginger
until soft and golden.

Then add
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
cook stirring for a minute

2 firm ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala
stir in and cook until the tomatoes are mushy

750g shelled peas
cover and cook until almost tender (add a little water if too dry, but it should be right)

Add the ricotta balls and
1tbsp of chopped coriander leaves and
salt to taste
Cover and cook gently 10 minutes more

Sprinkle with another 1/2 tsp garam masala
and one more tbsp of chopped coriander leaves
and serve hot with rice or chapatis

and in my case with some strips of red capsicum!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dal Makhani

When I come up with YamDaisy menus (for more info see here),  I try to make sure the soup and each of the main meals are quite different to each other ~ if one is dairy based, another will be dairy free, if one is spicy, the others won't be, and so on.

But I am having a little break from posting menus and thought I might do a little celebration of Indian dishes. I am thinking of how popular curry is as a meal and that maybe, in some areas, the YamDaisy Cafe would have customers who want curries on the menu all the time!

My last post was a delicious spiced vegetable curry, this one is a dal, and maybe the most comforting dal of all. Dals are cooked beans or lentil dishes and are the delicious, nutritious foods the YamDaisy Cafe is all about.

Dal Makhani is quite a rich dal, but balances out when served with rice and a fresh salad of tomato, cucumber and avocado. It is a bit of a procedure, but what a dish! It is made with a mixture of beans and lentils, and it took me a while to get this recipe just the way I like it. That is because I am not that fond of urad dal ~ it doesn't cook to the creamy softness of other pulses, but that does mean it gives this dal a bit of back bone, which is why it is such a classic. I do put less urad dal than some recipes, but I find this ratio perfect!


Place 1/4 cup split urad dal and 3/4 cup black or red kidney beans in a bowl and cover with water and leave to soak over night
In the morning rinse 1/2 a cup of channa dal and put to soak for an hour.

Next put the urad and black beans in a pan with water to cover by a couple of centimetres. Bring to the boil and boil hard for 10 minutes. I have a tea ball that I fill with 6 cardamom pods, 4 cloves and a piece of cinnamon bark that I let boil along with the pulses. This adds a depth of flavour.

After the 10 minutes, remove the spiceball if you have put it in, and add the chana dal. Bring back to the boil and remove any scum foam. If I have removed the scum, and add a little oil, I find I can then pressure cook the pulses for 15 minutes, but you need to be sure of your cooker, most pressure cookers warn against cooking lentils under pressure.
It would probably take an hour and a half of simmering to cook in a saucepan. Stir occasionally and top up with water as necessary.
When they are cooked you can squish them with a wooden spoon to make a thick mash with each pulse giving its own texture.

Next stir in a big tablespoon of butter and a big tablespoon of cream and season with salt to taste. Then stir in a tin of diced tomatoes (or equivalent fresh if you are so lucky) and keep the pot on gentle heat while you fry the tarka.

Now heat a tablespoon of oil or ghee in a small frypan. Have all these 'tarka' ingredients ready to add in.
Add a tsp of cumin seeds and fry til crackling
Then add four finely chopped garlic cloves, and as they fry add a small finely chopped onion and fry til golden brown
Next add 2 sliced fresh chillies and 2 tsp of chili powder ~ you can add less ofcourse, but the cream softens the chili heat, so it can be surprising how much this dal needs
Add a tsp of turmeric powder and let it sizzle for another minute and then stir it all into the pulses.

You can finish it off with a tsp of cream in a swirl, and some chopped coriander.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mixed Vegetable Curry

This delicious curry has been sitting in my files for several years. It comes from Margaret Fulton, one of Australia's National Living Treasures and Super Foodie.

I gave it a try because of the beans I had bought. These were lovely fresh green beans, but cheaper because they had been mechanically harvested, and this meant they would not keep as long. So I made up a big curry of veggies and then ate it in all sorts of lovely ways until it had gone. It is so easy and tasty! I must have had it with four or five meals and still wasn't sick of it.

It would be a great YamDaisy recipe!

It kept well in the fridge and warmed up to deliciousness on the following days.

I used corn chopped into pieces instead of the cauliflower in the recipe, chard from my garden instead of spinach, and the only other change I made was to use 1/3 cup of oil instead of 1/2 a cup, which was plenty.
O and I cooked it in the wok instead of a large saucepan. Now you know you can change those things back if you want!

1/3 cup of oil ~ heat in a wok and add
1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric (or 2 tsp ground)
6 - 8 curry leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cm grated ginger
pinch chili powder (cayenne)
Fry for a minute or two

Then add
2 fresh corn cobs sliced into rounds
250g green beans in short lengths
1 carrot finely sliced
And fry over medium heat until half cooked but still crispish

6 chard leaves torn into pieces
And fry for about 5 minutes

Then season with salt, cover, and cook on low heat for 2 - 3 minutes. 
There is enough steam for the veggies to cook to perfection.

Isn't it easy! If you don't have curry leaves you could just make it without.
In the picture you can see it served with brown rice and a crispy fish fillet, but it is hard to think of something it wouldn't go with!

Yum, I will be making it again soon!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Catch Up and Thanks

I am very grateful to the lovely people who have left such kind notes on my blog. I haven't posted for a couple of months because I have had to prioritise my health.... it hasn't been too bad, but there has been one thing after another! I can't tell you how nice it has been to check my blog and find good wishes there.
Things are still a bit tricky in my life, but I am hoping I will ease right back into my posts and my YamDaisy project ~ there is so much I want to do.

My way of easing back and catching up is via two blog awards I have been given (in spite of not posting! How cool!)

The first is from Jutta the Happy Valley Cook Thankyou Jutta! Goodness there are two!

Her awards ask me to:
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded this to you.
2. Share 8 things about yourself.
3. Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great blogs.
4. Contact those bloggers and let them know about their award.
The second is from Michael Toa at Me, My Food and I  Thankyou Michael!

His Award asks me:
1. When did you learn to cook?
2. Name three things that are always in your fridge.
3. Do you have any food guilty pleasures?
4. Tell us about your most memorable meal...
5. What is your drink of choice?

When you received this, you can set up your own questions and pass it on to other bloggers of your choice.  I look forward to reading your answers.

So here goes.

Thanks and links done!
8 Things about myself: (making them up as I go along)

I am Joy by name and Joy by nature!

The picture at the top of this post is precious to me. It was painted by two women artists living at Alekarenge in Central Australia, where I was a teacher. It is about women catching ants that are good to eat. The horseshoe shapes are the women sitting down. The doughnut shapes are the ant holes, and the bar shapes are the coolamons that had hot ash in them to cook the ants as they were dug out. The wiggly background is the little birds jumping around eating the flying ants which has let the women know they are ready to catch. 

I have a grown up daughter which is so exciting. That little baby that grew in my belly is out making her own life and it is full of wonders!

I learn from my mistakes (eventually, wink!), which is a big relief because I make them all the time!

Living with Chronic Illness, has intensified my life.  It has been one of the best possible reality checks, and reality is a great thing to have in my life!

I love to create! Textiles are my favourite and I knit and am learning sewing, very practical! I write when I can and SO want to get my stories done! I also love to draw.

I am a social justice fighter and in my working life I chose causes and situations where I thought I could do good. (I always seemed to get more out than I put in though! ~ thanks to wonderful people everywhere!). Now my passionate cause is my own YamDaisy Project.

I love our Mother Earth! 

1. When did you learn to cook?
I chose to be vegetarian as a teenager and I had to learn to cook vegetarian food! My passion grew as I discovered World cuisines. But my focus on excellence developed after my friend Carole made the most wonderful soup for me when I was ill. It was out of the world, and it raised the stakes for ever more!

2. Name three things that are always in your fridge.
Milk, home made chili/onion paste, bakers yeast.

3. Do you have any food guilty pleasures?
Tim tams, Lindt and cashews! I have pretty much given up chocolate... but Ooo those cashews! Yum!

4. Tell us about your most memorable meal...
Drinking red wine with friends at sunset on top of a huge rock outcrop in Kakadu National Park after climbing up through the wonderful rock art galleries. (Red wine is a meal, right?)

5. What is your drink of choice?
Coffee with milk. Thankyou little Napoletana pot that means I can have it every day!

Now my big apology, I am not able to pay these awards forward at the moment. But I am hoping to do so before too long! I haven't been discovering new blogs, but I have some very dear ones. Let me see how I go for a bit, and then I will act!

Next Post: Food!