Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Spicy lentils and cabbage

hello there everyone, I'm back after what seems like a very long time. I think I've just been lying around in the sun trying to think up some tasty treats for you all. Tonights recipe is for spicy lentils and cabbage. Cabbage? Are you joking? That's that horrid stuff your mum used to boil for three days until all life had been eradicated from it while filling the house with the smell of your dads old socks - well that what I used to think until I came up with this recipe. Its actually a bastardised version of a lentil and cabbage salad that I found in some famous chef's cook book but I forget which one now. Anyway, I thought it would be nice with some spices in it so I made this up. Why not try it out and give me your opinions on the recipe - I'd be interested to hear what you think of it.


200g of whole brown lentils (rinsed and soaked for 8 hours)
1 teaspoon fengreek seeds
small piece of cinnamon bark
1 bay leaf

Stick the above ingredients in a pan of boiling salted water for 5 mins then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 -40 mins until the lentils are tender (but not total mush!). Drain lentils using a sieve.

1 Large onion
3 cloves of garlic (crushed and finely chopped)
2" piece of ginger (finely chopped)
Third of a medium sized savoy cabbage (sliced)
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds (dry fried for a few mins then ground)
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds (as coriander seeds)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Half teaspoon chili powder
Juice from half a lemon
A handful of freshly chopped coriander leaves


Cut the onion in half and peel. Then slice to give roughly half moon shape thin slices. Add these to a medium sized pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil (i used ground nut oil today) and a pinch of salt. Gently cook for about 10 mins until the onions have turned translucent.

Turn up the heat a little and add all the spices. Cook for about 3 mins and then add the ginger and garlic cooking for a further 2 mins. Now add the cabbage and stir fry in the spicy onion mix for a couple of mins. Its important not to over cook the cabbage - try and leave a little bit of bite in it.

Finally and the cooked lentils and combine together adding the lemon juice and fresh coriander leaves at the end.

Serve and enjoy !

This is again quite a versatile wee dish. I like to have this as a main course with a poached egg on top - the runny yolk over the spicy lentils is yummy. Its also good as a side dish with another curry dish.

This recipe is also pretty healthy for your body. Theres lots of vitamins and fibre in the cabbage, protein in the lentils and various protective properties against cancers of the gut and colon from the turmeric and fenugreek. Don't take my word for it though, have a read what it says over on wikipedia about turmeric. It appears to have more medicinal properties than you can shake a stick at.

Hope to see you all next time.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Chunky Chickpea Curry

A friend of mine recently set up a recipe blog on here and asked if I fancied contributing a few recipes to it. It kinda got me thinking I might like try the blog experience out for myself.

So here goes......

This is a recipe for a chunky chickpea curry I mad
e last night. It's chunky because the chili and ginger are in quite big bits so you get bursts of their intense flavours over the background taste of the spices. My aim with the recipe was to slowly cook the onions and allow their sweetness to build. It seemed to work (even though I did cheat a wee bit and add a sprinkle of brown sugar to them). The combination of the sweet onions and the heat from the chili was mouthwatering. I guess you need to like chillies though.


2 medium onions

1.5 cm cube of ginger (peeled)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1/2 large red chili (roughly chopped)
2 tsp. coriander seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 can of chickpeas
3 tomatoes from a tin (chopped)
1/2 tsp. brown sugar (optional)

pinch of salt
3 tbsp. sunflower oil
1/2 lemon
3 tbsp. coriander leaves (chopped)
black pepper to taste


1. Peel the onions, cut in half and then slice.
2. Heat a small pan and dry roast the coriander seeds.

3. Roughly crush in a mortar and pestle.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the cumin seeds taking care not to burn them.
5. Heat a large heavy bottomed pan on a medium - high setting and add the oil.
6. When the oil is hot add all the spices and allow to sizzle for 1 min.
7. Add the onions and fry for 1 -2 mins while stirring occasion
ally so they don't stick.

8. Turn down the heat to low and continue to cook for 10 -15 mins. Sprinkle on the sugar if desired.
9. Thinly slice the ginger and then cut the slices into quarters. .Then add to the onions with the chili and garlic. Cook for a further 2 mins then turn the heat up to medium-high again.
10. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5 mins before adding the chopped tomatoes.
11. Add a splash or two of water to loosen off the mix. It should not be too dry.
12. Turn down the heat a bit and simmer for 10 mins. Yo
u can mash a bit of the chickpeas up with a spoon as the mushed chickpeas give a creamy texture to the curry.
13. Add the lemon juice and chopped coriander. Simmer for 1 min.
14. Serve it up with a naan bread.


This is a really versatile dish as it's as good hot as it is cold. It can be eaten on its own as a main course or as a side dish with another curry. If you don't like hot curries add a bit less chili powder and leave out the chopped chilies. Personally, I like the heat level in the standard recipe and the key is to have patience when cooking the onions to allow their sweetness to come out.

I tried this last night with a really cheap bottle of tesco rose wine that I won in a horse race charity event. It was surprisingly good, raspberry fruits and bursting with sunshine. I could almost imagine myself being in India !