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Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry

If I were in a cold climate, I would probably make this more. Since I received sweet potatoes in a veggie delivery a few weeks ago, I have been trying to cook with them more. They are available at most Topps supermarkets in Bangkok, and the Bangkok Farmers Market has had some recently. They must be in season 🙂image

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili (optional – add this last!)
  • 1/4 cup lentils, rinsed
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can of chickpeas, drained (I used 1 cup uncooked chickpeas – let them sit in water for 8 hours previously, then cooked them myself. Hey, they taste fresher!)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • natural yoghurt to serve
  • brown or basmatic rice to serve

This is how you do it:

  1. If you’re using dried chickpeas, be sure to soak them and cook them before you start.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Allow it to cook for a few minutes until it becomes softened.
  3. Then add the spices and cook for one minute more.
  4. Stir in the lentils, sweet potatoes, stock and chopped tomatoes.
  5. Bring this to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 mins, until the sweet potatoes and lentils are tender. Add the chickpeas, then heat through.
  6. Season with some salt and pepper (or chili), sprinkle with coriander and serve.

 

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

imageI love lentils and they love me. A week ago, when I was feeling ill and run-down, I put this recipe together. You can thank Keith Richards for this, as I’ve been reading his autobiography and he went on at some length about breaking the crust of shepherd’s pie. Oh rock stars and their quirks!

This is a great and easy recipe for when people are coming over, if you love to have a warm meal for work lunches. It freezes well and is great warmed up the next day too.

You will need:

  • 1 cup uncooked French lentils
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups of diced carrots, peas and corn mixed together (you can use fresh or frozen)
  • 3-4 potatoes, peeled
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of rosemary
  • pinch of Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp ketchup or HP sauce
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Start off by rinsing your lentils. Bring 2 cups of salted (pinch) water to a boil and add the lentils. Allow them to cook – they should still maintain their shape, but be soft to the touch. If in doubt, follow the instructions on the package. If necessary, drain the rest of the water and place the lentils in an oven-safe dish.image
  3. While the lentils are cooking, peel and cut your potatoes into cubes. Add them to a pot of salted boiling water. After 5-6 minutes, add in your cloves of garlic.
  4. When the potatoes are finished cooking, drain them, being careful to keep the garlic. Add in 2 tbsp oil, plus salt and pepper. With a masher, mash the potatoes. You can add in more oil to make them softer. Also, add in the nutritional yeast for a cheesey taste.
  5. In a separate sauce pot, bring the 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil and add your stock cube. Whisk the water to break the stock cube, and then add the onion and 1 chopped garlic clove.
  6. After 2-3 minutes at a light boil, add in the rosemary, Italian seasoning, bay leaves and salt and pepper. At this point, I added in 2 tbsp of ketchup, but you could use HP sauce or add another stock cube, depending on your preference.
  7. Now it’s time to put it all together – the lentils should already be in your cooking dish. Pour in the sauce from your pot, and then layer the vegetables on top. Using a spatula, place your mashed potatoes on top. Try not to move them around too much, as it will turn over the veggies and break your mash layer.
  8. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. You should be able to smell the spices! You will know it’s ready when the potatoes on top get that golden crust and the liquid rises up the side of the dish.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Make 4-5 servings. Prep time: 20 mins Cooking Time: 30 mins

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Gluten Free Nepal

Namaste! I hope you have all had a lovely holiday, wherever you were!

I must apologize  for my lack of posts, but the end of 2013 was a tough one – what with work, moving and planning my holiday in Nepal!

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Hiking the Annapurna mountains

I was very lucky to have had clear (and freezing cold) weather during my trek. But I was even luckier to have escaped gluten for pretty much the whole trip! I supped on Dal Baat every day – at least once, sometimes twice!

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For a grazer like me, I loved when there were more flavours to choose from!

While in the mountains, I found that every tea house did something a little different. I particularly enjoyed when the dal, lentil soup, was slightly more salty and the thali, curried vegetables, had a little spice. It was often quite common to have some fried potatoes, sauteed spinach and some type of pickle, typically radish.

For a vegetarian, I was over the moon with this hearty and delicious staple food. By midday, I would be craving Dal Baat. My guide was somewhat skeptical, as most tourists tend to try it once and then never again. But I greedily ate my Dal Baat and proved him that I could trek like the locals (except for laughing at the silly names of towns and eating chocolate like it was going out of style).

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Taken from Poon Hill at sunrise

All in all, the two week holiday was amazing and I was so grateful not to have starved  while there.  Breakfasts were a bit tricky as I ordered eggs once or twice and received them on toast. But after a quick chat with the cook, and some dramatic miming, we understood each other. If I was feeling really hungry, I would also order some fried potatoes or rice pudding too. I did take some Eco Planet Instant Oatmeal with me, just to be safe. It was nice to have it after eating eggs and potatoes for a couple days in a row.

Now it is time for the nitty gritty. While in Kathmandu I purchased my weight in lentils and beans with one goal in mind: to recreate the satisfying Dal Baat. With a little confidence, Nepali music playing in the background and a Gordon Ramsay curry recipe, I made this:

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Brown rice, with dal soup poured on top. There is some stir fried cabbage and kale, just seasoned with salt and pepper. There is a veg curry (potatoes, carrots and beans). For the pickle I cheated and used some Chi Chi’s salsa.

To be honest, I don’t know much about Indian cooking, besides the fact that it is just amazing. So the curry wasn’t my best. But I have faith it will get better.

After some internet searching, I found this website that breaks down a Nepalese Dal Baat. I will definitely try it out next time. The recipe follows below:

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