Chickpea and Vegetable Curry

Here’s a food post – sorry, I do realise it’s been a long time coming, but I’ve been too busy to cook these days!

I thought I’d write about this vegetarian curry, which is low in calories but contains plenty of vitamins and a fair amount of protein from the chickpeas – and it’s dairy-free, which is always a plus to me, as I am dairy intolerant (in spite of all those recipes on this blog that contain dairy, which I find difficult to resist to, sometimes).

This recipe is for two people.

Chickpea curry

What you’ll need:

  • 160g or slightly less than a cup of brown rice
  • 2 tsps of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 can (400g) of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tsps of curry powder
  • 2 tsps of ginger powder
  • 1 can (140g) of chickpeas, drained
  • 4 balls of frozen spinach (or about 100g of fresh spinach)
  • A few leaves of fresh coriander (cilantro) to garnish

 Preparation:

Wash the brown rice thoroughly and add it to a pot with water – I usually go 1 part rice, 2 parts water. Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, the water should have been fully absorbed so just cover it and let it steam. This is my way of cooking brown rice, but everyone has their own method.

While the rice is cooking, chop the onions and garlic very finely and shallow fry them until lightly golden. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and your spices. I added about 3 teaspoons of curry and 2 of ginger, but feel free to adjust it to your own taste, and, if you prefer, go ahead and use fresh chillies and ginger instead. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about five minutes. Add the chopped green pepper to the sauce pan – make sure you cut the pepper into fairly small cubes, about ½ inch – and the drained chickpeas and pour enough water for all the ingredients to be covered. Now cover and let simmer another 15 minutes, making sure you stir the contents regularly. Add your frozen spinach to the mixture and cover the pan, letting them defrost for about 15 minutes. If you add fresh spinach, just wait until they wither. Now check for salt and serve it over the brown rice, topped with the coriander.

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Speedy Lunch: Gnocchetti al Basilico with Avocado and Tomatoes

As promised, here is the post about these cute little green fellas called gnocchetti al basilico (or basil baby gnocchi). Gnocchetti are essentially gnocchi, but smaller and of a slightly more tubular, non-fork-scored (oh dear) shape. These particular ones, which I bought from a main-stream Italian supermarket, have a rather strong basil flavour that makes them extra special. Because of their strong taste (and the fact that I didn’t have much time to make anything overly elaborate) I decided to accompany these gnocchetti al basilico with simply some fresh chopped tomatoes, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can’t get any easier than this when making a main, or primo piatto like we say in Italian. This recipe is for two portions.

What you’ll need:

  • 500 gr gnocchetti al basilico (if you can’t find them anywhere you can either replace them with normal gnocchi and add fresh basil leaves to the recipe or follow Silvana Franco’s recipe on the BBC Food website)
  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • A good sprinkle of Maldon salt
  • A generous dusting of freshly ground black pepper
  • A dusting of dried (or fresh) coriander

 Preparation:

Chop the tomatoes and avocado into small cubes of about ½ inch. Dress with half the oil and salt. Gently cook the gnocchi in a pot of simmering salted water for a minute or two, until they rise to the surface. Once they pop up, they’re cooked! Scoop them out as they rise with a slotted spoon making sure you drain as much water as possible off the gnocchetti and mix them with the tomatoes, avocado, the rest of the oil and the salt, adding pepper and coriander on the top. Done! Buon appetito.