Tag Archives: tbsp sunflower oil

Sweet carrots and chickpeas

About a week ago when it was one of my nights to cook for the family I was talking with Boy. The proposed dinner plan was a chestnut and sweet potato curry, and I asked him if he’d be ok with that. He said yes, which I was pleasantly surprised by. Then he said something else.

“It doesn’t really matter what you put in a curry anyway.”

Excuse me?

“Well, once you’ve put the onion and curry powder and stuff in it all tastes the same.”

I can’t remember what I actually said in reply to this, but I suspect it wasn’t more coherent than vague sputtering noises.

Later when eating the curry he observed “See what I mean? You can hardly taste the sweet potato or chestnut.”

On the one hand, he was wrong. The curry was basically chunks of sweet potato and a spicy chestnut sauce. The chestnut was subtle, sure, but chestnut sauces are always mild. On the other hand, he did have a point. My spice selection has become a bit lacking in variety recently. So I’ve been meaning to experiment with more interesting combinations.

Today’s recipe was a case of that. I was hungry and didn’t have any convenient food (and didn’t want eggs, as I had far too many of them yesterday), so I decided to cook something. Here’s how it went.

What I used:

Two largish carrots
Two small onions
Can of kala chana (brown chickpeas)
Handful of raisins
2 tbsp sunflower oil
About 3cm cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamon seeds
4 cloves
2 dried red chillis
1/2 tbsp coarse salt

What I did:

First of all I dry fried all the spices and then ground them in the mortar and pestle. The grumbling about this can be taken as read.

I’d had quite a lot of success with the shredding implement on the food processor yesterday when making the latkes, so rather than fussing around with chopping things I just peeled the carrots and onions and shoved them through it. Instant well chopped carrot and onion for almost no work. I think I could very easily grow to like this attachment…

So, I heated the oil in the pan, added the carrots and onions and fried for a few minutes. Then I added the spices and continued frying it until the carrots had softened somewhat.

At this point I decided it would be a crime not to have raisins with the carrots, so I took a handful of them and added them in and continued frying, adding the kala chana a few minutes later. Fried it for another five minutes or so then took it off the heat and covered it for another five while I heated up the pita bread to eat it with.


Very nice. The combination of sweet and spicy worked very well as usual, and it augmented the flavour of the carrot wonderfully. Also, with the food processor to do most of the work, this was incredibly easy. The spice could possibly have done with being slightly milder. I think when I make it again I’ll only use one chilli.

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Spicy Egg and Potatoes

So, it’s not yet noon and I sit here eating curry. “Why?”, I hear you ask. It is because of the following conversation:

Me: Ooh, that looks good. I want to make something like that.
Also Me: What, now?
Me: Yes!
Also Me: But it’s 10:30AM and we haven’t eaten yet. That’s clearly not breakfast food.
Me: I don’t care.
Also Me: Lets eat something sensible.
Also Me: Oh fine. Be like that.
Me: Yay! Curry!

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve recently been linked to by Naughty Curry (given that I had about 5 people reading this before, the chances are you came over here from there in the first place). Consequently I’ve been browsing their archives, and encountered a number of interesting spiced egg dishes. This one in particular inspired me.

Of course, by ‘inspired’ I don’t mean to imply that I followed the recipe or anything so dramatic. That would just be silly. The dish looked nice: I certainly wouldn’t say no if someone handed it to me (indeed I would probably be saying “Mind if I have some more?” in short order), but for various reasons I didn’t really feel like making the specific dish. I’ve recently perfected my sweet and spicy coconut curry sauce recipe, so I’m a little tired of coconut. Also I tend to prefer to cook somewhat drier dishes, and do not as a rule include tomatoes in my cooking. So, when I say inspired what I really mean is “Wellll… there’s egg in it. And onion and stuff”. After all, I’m sure I know better about cooking Indian food than someone who’s merely from India. Right…

Also, while browsing other sites linked from Naughty Curry I encountered this article. Very different from how I do things, but that doesn’t neccesarily mean it’s wrong. I am not above learning new things. So, I figured, why not?

Anyway, onwards and forwards to the recipe itself!

What I used:

2 medium red onions
4 medium-large potatoes
3 eggs (well, sortof).
2 large cloves of garlic
1.5 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp black onion seeds
3 dried red chillies
0.5 tsp turmeric
A bit over 0.5 tbsp course sea salt
2 tbsp sunflower oil

What I did:

Ok, the first thing to do is to cook the eggs and potatoes. The potatoes are unproblematic – bung them in boiling water until they’re soft enough. (Saying that, I screwed up and undercooked them slightly, but this proved not to be a problem).

I hard cooked the eggs, following the instructions from ‘The Good Egg’. The basic instructions go like this: Bring to nearly the boil, take off the heat and cover. Leave to sit for 15 minutes. Then replace the hot water with cold, add some ice and leave to cool.

I’d gotten to the leaving it to cool stage and had left it for about 5 minutes when I realised that she recommends you crack the top of the egg slightly. Presumably this allows the egg to peel away from the shell as it cools. So, I took one of the eggs and tapped it lightly against the side of the pan.


The egg broke apart to reveal white barely cooked egg goo. I was not impressed.

I have no idea what I did wrong, but I solved the problem with the remaining two by sticking them back on the heat and boiling the hell out of them. When I took them off the heat they were cooked perfectly.

Anyway, on to the actual recipe.

First I dry fried the whole spices to toast them lightly. Then I transferred them to a mortal and pestle and crushed them a little bit (not completely – about a quarter of the spices got powdered. The rest remained whole or slightly broken).

After I’d removed the spices I diced the onion coarsely and put it in the pan with the salt (and no oil). This fried surprisingly well all told – I think the salt really did help here. After about 5-10 minutes frying I added the spices to the onions.

At this point I observed that things really were burning onto the bottom of the pan quite spectacularly. That was unfortunate – if I let this state of affairs continue I would never ever get the damn thing clean. So I applied the standard steam cleaning trick: Push the food out of the way, pour a bit of water onto it. Let that steam for a moment to loosen the burned on stuff and then (before it all evaporates) scrape like hell with the spatula. Move food around to uncover a different part of the base, repeat. This done I continued to stir it and didn’t need to do this again until I was already going to be adding some water anyway.

While that was cooking I diced the potatoes into cubes a bit under a cm on a side. I added these to the onions and then added the oil at this point – I wanted to make sure the potatoes were properly heated as they were undercooked. In the end this was probably unnecesary as I decided to add water to the mix to cook them, so after frying for another few minutes I half covered it with water, put a lid on the pot and left it, stirring occasionally. It probably took about 5-10 minutes before the potatoes were cooked.

At this point I was thinking it looked very brown, so I added some turmeric. Now it looked very brown but had turmeric in it.

Then I chopped the egg up (to about the size I would use for egg salad), added it to the mix and stirred for a little longer. The result was a rather unappetising looking brown mess.


So, I now had a plateful of the aforementioned brown mess. Oh well, I suppose I’d better… Wow. That’s really good.

Ok, this was by no means perfect, but it was pretty damn good. It had a really strong hot spicy flavour to it which many of my curries lack. Not subtle by any means, but very nice. Also, surprisingly, it wasn’t nearly as hot as it might have been – certainly not mouthburningly so. It could easily afford to have another chilli or two in it. This flavour owed an awful lot to the new way of cooking onions. I’m not saying I’m a total convert by any means – it probably wouldn’t work that well for some of my other dishes. It is however very nice in something like this.

What I’d change if I did it again: Firstly, the potato and egg combination was a mistake. It wasn’t bad mind you, but this would work much better as a straight egg dish or a straight potato dish. Secondly, I’d use a bit less salt. The saltiness was nice but just a little too strong.

Other than that, definitely a dish well done.

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