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

Fajitas - chicken mixture

F is for my fuss-free Fajitas

This week i had friends round, one of whom will not mind me describing her as a wee bit fussy. My fuss-free fajitas were definitely the answer: an easy-to-prepare, do-it-yourself meal with minimal effort after a day at work.

Ingredients
1 chicken breast per person
1 pepper (red, orange or yellow) per person
Cayenne pepper
Smoked paprika
Salt
Pepper
Lettuce (cos) – finely sliced
Cheddar – grated
Sour cream
For the guacamole:
3 Avocados
1 tomato
2 tbsp Double cream
1 small red chilli
1 tbsp Lime juice
1 small handful of fresh coriander
Fajitas - guacamole
Recipe
For the guacamole:
Add 2 avocados, the tomato, double cream, small red chilli (de-seeded), coriander and lime juice to the blender and mix until a paste. For the final avocado, chop into small pieces and mix into the guacamole
For the chicken:
  1. Cut the chicken breasts up into 1cm strips and fry on a medium heat, turning until all pink colours have vanished.
  2. Add the cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and stir until all the chicken is coated
  3. Add the peppers and leave on low-medium heat for 5-10 minutes until everything is softened
Fajitas - chicken mixture
Fajitas - chopped peppers
Lay out the tortillas in a warm oven for 3-4minutes, then serve everything in the centre of the table and let everyone help themselves.
Fajitas - served