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Do-It-Yourself Takeaway

I’m a curry-holic. Curries are cheap, tasty, comforting and, made properly, some of the most nutritious food known to vegankind. Over the years I’ve learned how to make some pretty good dishes. Nowadays I feel confident enough with spices to generally not use cookbook recipes as anything more than a starting point. These two recipes are quick and easy enough for anyone to have a go at. There may be quite a few different spices included but you can substitute pretty much whatever you have to hand if you’re adventurous and don’t mind taking a chance.

Serves about 3 hearty appetites.

Chana Masala

This is also known as chhole or, if you’re dead common, chickpea curry. Whatever it’s called, it’s one of my faves.

  • 15ml vegetable ghee
  • 2cm piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 5ml cumin seeds
  • 5ml yellow mustard seeds
  • 2.5-5ml dried chilli flakes
  • 10ml ground coriander
  • 10ml paprika
  • 5ml tamarind paste concentrate
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 stick celery, diced
  • 2cm cube fresh ginger, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 400g tinned chickpeas
  • 200g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Salt

Mix the coriander and paprika with a little water to make a paste and set aside. Melt the ghee over a low heat and fry the onion and celery for about 15 mins until soft. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chilli flakes, garlic and ginger and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add the coriander and paprika paste and stir for another minute. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes (I prefer to liquidise mine), tamarind and sugar, stir well and bring gently to the boil. Add salt to taste and it’s ready. Like most curries, this improves if left to sit for a few hours then gently reheated before serving.

Sprinkle some fresh coriander on it just before you slop it on the plate with the spud recipe below.

Bombay Aloo

For me, potato is the perfect accompaniment to just about everything, but served as a dryish curry it sits particularly well alongside the chickpeas.

  • 500g small / new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 30ml vegetable ghee
  • 2 medium onions, quartered and sliced
  • 8 dried curry leaves
  • 5ml dried chilli flakes
  • 2.5ml onion seeds
  • 2.5ml black mustard seeds
  • 2.5ml fennel seeds
  • 5ml turmeric powder
  • 2.5ml cumin powder
  • 2.5ml amchoor (mango) powder
  • 1.25ml asafoetida powder
  • 5ml lemon juice
  • Salt

Mix the turmeric, cumin, amchoor and asafoetida with a little water to make a paste and set aside. Steam (or gently boil) the potatoes for around 15 mins until soft. While they’re cooking, melt the ghee over a low heat and fry the onions for about 15 mins until beginning to soften and go clear. Add the curry leaves, chilli, onion, mustard and fennel seeds and stir fry for 2 mins. Add the spice paste and lemon juice and stir fry for another minute. Mix in the potatoes and coat well in the spice mixture. Add salt to taste. As above, leave this to sit for a few hours if you can, reheat and serve with the chana and some basmati rice.

Break open a beer, stuff your face and relish the warm and content glow that spreads inside you.

4 comments to Do-It-Yourself Takeaway

  • Burke

    Nice recipes, will give a go. Im a bit of a novice still at making curry but ive been at it a few years now. One question though, what the hell is asafoetida powder? ive never heard of it or seen it in any recipes before.

  • Asafoetida is also known as hing. It’s usually available in a little yellow plastic tub in Asian supermarkets (see the picture on the Wiki entry). It’s cheap as chips and lasts for ages.

    Hare Krishnas use it instead of onion or garlic in a lot of their cooking – their weirdo beliefs forbid them from eating either. I couldn’t imagine life without alliums, particularly in vegan cooking.

    Thanks for the converter link too, much slicker than the one I usually use (although generally not for normal weights and measures, as I’m quite good at doing all the mental arithmetic needed).

    I’ll put up recipes for tarka dhal (lentil), dhingri (mushroom) and saag (spinach) dishes soon, then you’ll have enough for a thali.

    Burp 😀

  • oh yeah, asafoetida is used by krishnas. apparently, according to a krishna who one day long ago knocked on my friend’s door and somehow ended up sat in the front room, they dont eat onions because he said “onions make people cry”.

    i would rather eat onions anyday.

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