26 March 2012

Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry...

...Doesn't really sound that appetising, but it has to be tasted as it is a really good veggie curry...and is the last of the recipes from Friday night's Indian Veggie Feast...it joins the others so far...Herb and Spice Paneer Fritters, Pea and Potato Samosas, Mint and Cucumber Raita, Cheat's Saag Paneer and now...Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry....
This one does take a bit of forethought...as you need to pre-soak the chickpeas overnight before you get to cook for 1-1,1/2 hours...so planning is important here....The recipe comes from Anthony Worrall Thompson's 'GI Diet' Book...which I've had a good few years, and this is probably the most used recipe in it!!
Ok - here we go...
Prep time: 20mins (plus overnight soaking of chickpeas)
Cooking time: 1hr 10 mins (plus 1-1,1/2 hours to cook chickpeas)
Serves: 6-8 as a main - but I always halve these quantities and it easily serves 4 as part of a larger meal...
Ingredients: - It's a long list, but well worth the effort!
* 250g dried chickpeas - as I already said, you need to soak these overnight before using
* 1 inch piece of ginger, sliced - this bit doesn't need peeling
* 3 Bay leaves
* 3 inch piece of cinnamon stick
* 3 Large onions - roughly chopped
* 2 Tbsp olive oil
* 1Tbsp garlic - crushed
* 1Tbsp ginger - peeled and grated
* 1tsp turmeric
* 2 chillies - deseeded, finely chopped
* 400g tin tomatoes - chopped
* 2 black or green cardamom pods - crushed
* 6 whole cloves
* 1 tsp cumin seeds - toasted
* 1 cauliflower, split into florets
* 225g spinach - I prefer baby spinach leaves
* 1 Tbsp garam masala
* 1 Tbsp fresh mint - chopped
* 2 Tbsp fresh coriander - chopped


Phew!...what a list...but bear with me...it really is worth doing...
Method: Apart from the soaking of the chickpeas overnight, you then have to cook them...so find a nice big pan and add the (soaked) chickpeas, half of the onion, about two-thirds of the cinnamon stick, the bayleaves, and the sliced ginger, plus about 2 litres of water!! Bring it up to the boil, then simmer on low for about 1-1,1/2 hours...once they are cooked, you need to strain them, throw away the ginger and cinnamon stick, BUT KEEP THE COOKING LIQUID - this becomes your stock for the curry!! (This can be done in advance...which is what I do...I put them on first thing and make the actual curry after lunch usually!
To make the actual curry, you take the other half of the onions, and blitz them in your processor until very finely chopped...or by hand if you have the patience...heat some of the oil and saute the onions with the crushed garlic and grated ginger...don't let the onions brown, you just want them to soften...about 5-8 mins should do it...
Into this you add the chopped chillies and turmeric and let it cook for another few minutes - about 3 will do...add the tinned tomatoes and half of the cooking liquid that you kept (hopefully) after draining the chickpeas...give it a stir for luck!!
To this you need to add the remaining cinnamon, cardamon pods, cloves, peppercorns, and cumin...but don't just throw them in the pan...you need to make a nice little spice bundle for them!!
As you can see I have used a clean, washed cotton hankie cut into squares for this...but muslin or cheesecloth are the ideal...in fact I think I have seen little muslin squares sold for this very purpose...but this is cheaper for me, as I had the hankie already!! Tie it tight and...
...pop it into the tomato mix...Bring the pan to the boil, reduce to a simmer and...
...add the cauliflower florets...cook these for bout 20 minutes.
The spinach goes in next...no need to chop the leaves, just add, stir and let wilt...
...once wilted sufficiently, add in the cooked chickpeas and simmer for another 15 mins or so...
...if it starts looking too dry for you, just add some more of the reserved chickpea cooking liquid, until it is right for you...
Don't forget to taste and season along the way...then enjoy with some steamed basmati or rice of your choice...PS...it is also very nice made in advance the day before and reheated...but if you do this don't cook the cauliflower as long...about 5 mins simmering ids fine, otherwise you end up with it all mushy!!

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