A love for pulses and a hearty curry celebrating the equinox or how I long for Fall
If there's one thing I love to eat, it is pulses. I can't explain the fascination, but I don't think I've ever come across a pulse I haven't immediately loved. Like some people will like lentils and not kidney beans, for instance. I love both. My husband isn't fond of black eye beans but loves cannellini beans, our son and I love both. It's a great thing that we all end up enjoying pulses, in the end, if cooked right and in yummy ways, because I like having two or more "vegetarian" meals per week. I will never go vegetarian, nor vegan, but I do like ommiting meat and fish from my meals at least twice a week. If I need to cook a speedy lunch for me alone, you'll find me tossing rabe and spinach into a pan and stir frying the leaves in good ole' olive oil and loads of garlic. It's one of my favourite dishes and so simple. But I won't give up my meat and fish, no. Call me what you want.
But to make a big batch of food that I can even freeze so I have something to fall back on in case of need - sometimes it's soooo life saving knowing you have some meals ready frozen and so it won't matter if you happen to get home a bit later as you don't have to cook! - I normally rely on something a bit heartier than the proverbial stir fried greens. I usually go for slow cooking stews, or fast cooking in some cases, like when I grab a can of any type of pulse and add it to a bunch of veggies that have been stewing away on my stove. I usually find myself going for curries, as I simply love lentils and beans in a steamy hot spicy broth, surrounded by fresh vegetables and some diced potatoes. I also love curried chickpeas, I think they go so well with coconut milk, the flavours blend together so amazingly I cannot resist making this dish over and over again.
My sister sent me a few packs of indian spice blends, each one for specific dishes. There's a Tandoori one, which is used so often when we are on holidays, because we love to barbecue our chicken marinated on this particular blend; there's a blend for chicken Masala, and then there's a choley Masala, which is a blend specific for chickpeas. I use it for a lot more than chickpeas, to be honest. I use it for lentils, for starters, and sometimes if I'm in the mood for a potato and spinach curry, that's the one I use. It's actually the one that gets more use around here, as I find that I tend to sprinkle just a tad of it whenever I cook pulses! Or potatoes. I love potato curry, but I also love that spice blend on roast potatoes, so you can see my predicament. This is something I can't find here in Portugal, so I have to ask my sister to send it from London, and that can be annoying. But quite worth it, trust me. So if you do get your hands of a choley masala blend, do use it for this dish. If not, any masala will do the trick, I guess!
So for this what will you be needing?
- 1 large courgette, diced
- 1 leek, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 4 tomatoes, chopped roughly
- 1 large can of ready boiled chickpeas
- 1 heaped tsp choley masala
- 1 medium can coconut milk
- olive oil
- 1/2 glass of white wine
And this dish is also a good one to have on your repertoire for those cold Autumn nights that just beg for comforting food. It's nourishing, warming, tasty, and you can either tone it up or down in terms of heat. It will also work wonderfully with kidney beans, black beans and lentils. I mean, curries are so versatile you can make just about anything fit into them, don't you think? It's really one of my go to kind of dish when the weather is iffy and cold and you're in need of warmth and colour and zinginess. It reminds me of long Winter nights back in Manchester when we popped into the take out for a curry and gobbled it all down sitting on the living room floor in front of the fireplace, a hot cup of tea on the side and a sense of peacefulness all around. It does bring good memories, and it does help me carve some new ones, so I won't be giving up on my curries anytime soon!!