If you are on our Facebook group Planet Vegetaria, you may know I fancied a curry last week... but a different one than those I usually make. I also wanted something creamy though without coconut milk (watching our weight and fat intake!). In the fridge I had a large red onion (given to me by a fellow plotter), and had brought back from the plot our own Uchiki Kuri squash (grown by me... one of very few this year!). I decided to add chickpeas, as they are a staple for us, and for the creaminess I wanted I added red lentils, a staple in much of our cooking - when these broke down I knew they'd give the creamy texture I wanted. Whilst cooking this dish I decided I needed something green, so a couple of handfuls of green beans from the freezer did the trick.
I guess prep time and cooking was about 40 minutes. Eating was quite a bit quicker!!
We often add a spalsh of Bragg's Liquid Aminos* to a finished plate - it adds a saltiness and a zing!
This is very much a recipe creation in motion, though I have to say this one came together rather swiftly as it tasted so good! I think there are a few tweaks, though these will have to wait as we now have several portions in the freezer (the chickpeas and beans will help keep texture in the dish when defrozen). Having said that, this recipe is changeable - swap out the squash for deep-flavoured parsnips when they're ripe for harvesting, or use chunky leeks instead of the onion. This is the joy of cooking... it doesn't need to be exactly the same ingredients in your favourite recipes each time, though you do need to have some sense in what to swap for what!
If you did want to use coconut milk then please do, maybe half a can instead of the same amount of water - though you may need to add an extra few tablespoons of water as coconut milk does thicken a dish a little. I think next time, when we've had a low fat day, to add another flavour dimension, I might add a tablespoon of peanut butter stirred through before the green beans are added; this would be for a treat and to have a different 'dish', though I doubt it will become our go-to recipe for this meal!
I used canned chickpeas for convenience this time, though you could cook your own chickpeas and use those, replacing the liquid in the can with water. I often have portioned up cooked chickpeas in the freezer for convenience, though not this time!
Obviously, if you have coriander leaf in your fridge or are growing it, or parsley if you prefer, feel free to chop it up not too finely and add a sprinkle to the finished dish... it will pretty it up nicely!!
1/2 tbs Olive Oil (or lighter oil if you prefer)
1 large Onion, chunky slices
6 plump cloves of Garlic, crushed or chopped
3 inches (grated) / 2 frozen blocks Root Ginger,
3 tsp Cumin Seeds
6 Cardamom Pods, de-seeded (discard empty pods)
1 level tbs Madras or Curry Powder
2 cans Chickpeas, not drained (or 500g cooked & 250ml Water)
1 level tbs Vegetable Bouillon Powder or 2 stock cubes (crumbled)
1 medium Butternut or Kuri squash, deseeded and cut into bite size chunks
250g Red Lentils, washed and drained
300g Green Beans, frozen or fresh
Place a large pan over a medium heat - make sure the pan has a tight fitting lid though don't use it yet! Add the olive oil and onions and fry gently, stiring with a heat proof spoon until softened and just starting to take on colour. Stir through the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute, then add the cumin seeds, cardomom seeds (NOT pods), and Madras powder and stir occasionally for two minutes. Add a tablespoon of water if the mix starts to stick.
Add all the chickpeas, including the liquid in the can (it's called aquafaba), and 200ml water (450ml in total, if using your own cooked chickpeas), and with the lid on bring to a boil and simmer for ten minutes. Then add the bouillon powder, stirring through thoroughly.
Add the squash and stir through, then add the red lentils, stir them through, bring to the boil then lower the heat right down, pop the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes, stiring every few minutes so the lentils do not stick. If your mixture is looking a little dry then add two tablespoons of water at a time and continue simmering. After 10 minutes place the beans on the surface of the mixture and let them steam for about 5 minutes, again with the lid back on.
The curry is ready when the squash is cooked through, the lentils all have softened to create a creamy sauce, and the beans are still al dente.
Serve with brown rice or bulgur wheat, or spooned over crispy baked potatoes.
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