Creamy chickpea and spinach curry

Autumn is slowly creeping up on us- leafs are starting to change colour and there is a bite in the air.  It is the perfect time to harvest the last of my spinach, pinch back the coriander and dig out the curry recipes.  This is a fragrant, wholesome vegetarian curry with chickpeas as the star of the dish.  Of course it is also a highly adaptable recipe and can be made more or less spicy to taste. You can also skip the yoghurt and still have a very delicious result.

I use double greek yoghurt instead of coconut milk-it contributes towards the same creamy taste but cost much less and is more versatile.  I still add desiccated coconut for that authentic indian curry taste.

This recipe gives four to six large portions. I served it with rice but it will go just as well with rootis or cous cous.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for at least 6-8 hours

1 brown onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely grated

1-2 birds eye chillies, finely chopped (optional)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon turmeric

3-5 pods cardamom, skins removed

1 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoon fresh, chopped coriander

2 tablespoons fresh, chopped parsley

1/4 desiccated coconut

1/2 cup double greek yoghurt (bulgarian or unsweetened plain yoghurt should also work)

small bunch spinach, finely chopped

1 can whole, peeled tomatoes

water

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large casserole or pot.  Add the onion, garlic and chilli and sauté for 5-8 minutes. Add the cardamom, cumin, turmeric and allspice and sauté for another minute or 2. Add the chickpeas, tomato, yoghurt and coconut.  Stir well and allow to simmer over low heat for approximately for 45-60 minutes or until the chickpeas are cooked.  Add the cilantro (coriander) and parsley as well as salt and pepper to taste and stir well. Simmer for another 15 minutes.  It can be served as is, or with rice or cous cous.

 

Yoghurt muesli rusks

I love, love, love rusks!  They are perfect for a quick snack with a cup of coffee, something to nibble on during a tea break, or to overcome the munchies between meals. South Africa has a long heritage of rusks, and you should be able to find good old “beskuit” (rusks) in most households.  If I find the time, I prefer to bake my own- the really good ones are quite expensive and the cheaper ones are just not that nice.  I originally found a recipe for muesli rusks on http://ruskrecipes.com/recipes/buttermilk-muesli/, a wonderful blog that only focuses on rusks . I’ve adapted my recipe a bit to lessen the sugar, and added and adjusted until I came up with this recipe. Many rusk recipes also require the use of self-raising flour, which is apparently not so readily available overseas as here, so for this recipe I make my own with bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar.  This recipe is definitely not difficult but it does require a bit of extra sifting. It is worth the effort though, because the result is a light and crispy rusk!

This recipe gives 30-40 rusks

1/2 cup sugar

1 large, free range egg

1/3 cup honey

1 cup yoghurt

250 grams margarine, melted (or butter, if preferred)

2 cups muesli (I buy raw oat muesli with raisins, seeds and nuts specifically for baking)

1 cup dessicated coconut

1/2 cup raisins

250 grams cake flour

250 grams whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

4 teaspoons cream of tartar

20 ml baking powder

2 1/2 ml salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, margarine, egg, honey and yoghurt. Mix well, and add the muesli, coconut and extra raisins. In a separate bowl, sift the whole wheat flour, cake flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda, salt and baking powder. Sifting of the whole wheat flour will result in separation of the bran and flour. Once you’ve sifted it through, just add the separated bran to the egg mixture. Sift the flour three times, and then add to the egg mixture. It will be dry, but mix gently until all the ingredients come together and is wet. Gently press the dough into prepared baking pans (the dough should be about 3-5 centimetres thick) and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (a testing knife should come out clean). Gently turn out on a cooling tray and let cool until cold before cutting it. This should prevent excessive crumbling. Once it is cool, cut it into rusk-sized fingers and place in the bottom drawer of your oven at a low, low temperature (please help here-what is the bottom drawer called?!), and leave overnight to dry. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!