Chickpea curry

X is for eXtra spicy chickpea curry

This week’s recipe take’s it inspiration from India and delivers some real spice flavours as well as a big chilli hit! It uses a really healthy ingredient as it’s base, chickpeas, which are low in fat, high in fibre, protein and are even one of your 5-a-day. The inspiration came from Anjum Anand, so if you’re intrigued by Indian food and want to learn to cook it authentically, check her out.

As this week is X, I’ve used eXtra chilli in the recipe and in the chicken I served with this, but if you’re not a heat fan, feel free to reduce the chilli quantity. There are so many other spices in this dish that you won’t miss the chilli hit if it’s not your thing.

I’ve served my curry with chilli-basted chicken, but if you want to make the recipe completely vegetarian, chickpeas go really well with wholemeal pitta breads and a slather of butter.

Chickpea curry - spices Chickpea curry - spices Chickpeas

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

Chickpea curry - ingredients

  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger (peeled);
  • 4 cloves garlic;
  • 2 large tomatoes;
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil;
  • 4 cloves;
  • 5 (green) cardamom pods;
  • 1 cinnamon stick;
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds;
  • 4 tsps finely chopped fresh chillies (including seeds);
  • 1 medium onion – finely chopped;
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander;
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder;
  • 2 cans (400g) chickpeas – drained and rinsed;
  • 1 ¼ tsp garam masala;
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste;
  • handful of freshly chopped coriander;
  • 1 large skin-less chicken breast

Recipe:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Add a tablespoon of oil to half of the chopped chillies and rub over the chicken breast, then place in a small baking dish. Put in the oven and leave to bake for 40 minutes whilst you’re completing the rest of the recipe.
  2. Put the garlic, tomatoes (chopped into quarters) and ginger into a mini-blender with a tablespoon of water and blitz into a paste.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a high heat. Once the surface begins to the shimmer it will be hot enough (this does not take that long, so keen an eye on it!) Add the cloves, cardamon pods, cinnamon and half the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle away for a couple of minutes and allow their aromas to fill the kitchen.  Add the chopped chillies, onions and leave to fry until the onion starts to go brown.
  4. Then add the blitzed tomato paste, turmeric, ground coriander, chilli powder and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium and leave to cook for 4-5 minutes.
  5. Tip in the chickpeas, 500ml of water, garam masala, tamarind paste and remaining cumin seeds. Allow to come to a boil and leave to simmer away for 15 minutes until the liquid has halved in volume.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked (give a small stab to make sure the juices run clear), serve the chickpea curry with it and a sprinkling of chopped, fresh coriander.

Chickpea curry

C is for Caribbean Chicken

This Caribbean Jerk Chicken recipe is a great dish to cook when you’ve got a good few mouths to feed. It takes a bit of preparation, but you can do this in advance. The coconut ‘rice n peas’ that I’ve served with it takes about 5 minutes of preparation, 5 minutes of cooking where you need to pay attention and then just leave to cook by itself whilst you chat to your guests.

Caribbean Jerk Chicken

Caribbean Jerk Chicken

Caribbean Jerk Chicken

Preparation time: 15 minutes + minimum 2 hours to marinate (can be prepared up to 24hours in advance).

Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients: 

  • 6 chicken breasts (without skin or bones)
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 ½ thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, chopped up
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 60ml dark rum (and a dash extra for good measure)
  • 60ml lime juice
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 120ml cider vinegar
  • 2 fresh red chiles, whole
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
Caribbean Jerk chicken - preparing the marinade

Caribbean Jerk chicken – preparing the marinade

Recipe:

  1. Put 3-4 small slashes into each chicken breast. This will allow the marinade to flavour to permeate the chicken.
  2. If you have a large food processor, get this out, else if you just have a hand blender find a container which wont have marinade flying out of (something tall).
  3. Put all the spices, garlic, fresh ginger, dark brown sugar, rum, lime juice, soy sauce, cider vinegar, chillies and onion in your container and blend until everything is a fine paste.
  4. Put the chicken breasts in a sealable container and pour the marinade over the top. Leave for 2 – 24hours.
  5. When you’re ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 200°C
  6. In a tin-foil lined dish put the chicken and marinade. Cook for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, prepare the ‘rice n peas’ recipe (below). Then take the chicken out the oven and pour out the majority of the watery marinade, then put back in the oven for another 30 minutes.
  8. The chicken should have a marinade crust on it and still be juicy in the middle.
Caribbean Jerk Chicken - marinated and ready for the oven

Caribbean Jerk Chicken – marinated and ready for the oven

Caribbean Jerk Chicken - just out the oven

Caribbean Jerk Chicken – just out the oven

Rice n peas

The peas are actually ‘gungo’ peas (also known as pigeon peas). If you can’t get hold of them, you can use red kidney beans or a mixed beans instead. I’ve also added sweetcorn as I’m a big fan of getting in as many of your 5-a-day as possible.

The stock can be made up using hot water and one vegetable stock cube or you can use pre-made stock, either will work equally well.

'Rice n peas' preparation

‘Rice n peas’ preparation

'Rice n peas' - preparation

‘Rice n peas’ – preparation

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 1 can gungo peas (pigeon peas) or black-eyed beans if you can’t get hold of them.
  • 200g sweetcorn
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chile, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 400g long grain rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Large pinch of salt
  • A few turns of freshly ground pepper

Recipe:

  1. In a large pan, add the oil and fry the onion over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes until translucent and starting to get a bit of colour. The add the chopped chilli and garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.
  2. Pour in the rice and slick with all oil, onions, garlic and chilli.
  3. Pour over the vegetable stock, coconut milk, thyme, salt, pepper and gungo peas and bring to the boil. As soon as the rice is boiling, turn the heat down low, put a lid on and simmer for 15 minutes (by which time all the liquid should be absorbed)
  4. 5 minutes before the rice is ready, add the sweetcorn and put the lid back on, then the rice should be sticky and ready to eat.

Serve both together and it should be a pretty good combination.