Summer Curry w. Charred Tzatziki & Chana Dosa
I find the origins of cuisine particularly enthralling. I suppose I love the idea of preparing food that is steeped in rich cultural history. If you consider the roots of curry to be in the blend of spices, then it’s practise dates back to one of the world’s earliest major urban settlements where archaeological evidence suggests the use of mortar and pestle to pound spices including mustard, fennel, cumin and tamarind pods. Indeed the oldest surviving Roman cookbook details numerous recipes that require seasoning with vinegar, honey, ground herbs and spices including pepper, cumin, lovage, marjoram, mint, cloves and coriander. I love that curries have developed through trade and the barter of exotic goods. It adds to their allure don’t you think. I of course don’t have any secrets to impart, only a considered recipe to share so without further ado.
SUMMER CURRY / SERVES 4
1 bunch of asparagus
1 bunch of broccolini
1 zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 large handfuls of kale leaves
1 cup of peas, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp of coconut oil
500ml/ 16.9 fl oz/ 2 cups of coconut milk
3 - 4 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp of black mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp of cumin seeds
1 tbsp of ground turmeric
20 curry leaves
1 shoot of lemongrass, finely chopped
3 inch piece of ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp of honey
1 lime, juice
Salt and pepper
To serve; lime wedges, fresh herbs (I use mint and coriander)
In a deep skillet over high heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and sauté for a couple of minutes until they begin to pop. Then add the chillies, turmeric, curry leaves, and lemongrass, stirring for one minute until fragrant. Next fold the onion through the mixture and cook until it is translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for one minute. Add the asparagus, broccolini, zucchini and coconut milk bringing it to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cover for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Remove the skillet from the heat and fold through the kale leaves and peas, the residual heat will be enough to wilt them. Finally fold through the lime juice, salt and pepper and if desired the honey before serving it with a handful fresh herbs and extra lime wedges.
CHARRED CUCUMBER TZATZIKI
1 cup of natural or greek yoghurt
1 head of garlic
2 tbsp of dill, finely chopped
1 handful of mint, roughly chopped
1 lime, juice
2 tbsp of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180º C. Slice the top of the garlic head off and then roast the whole head for 15 mins. Once the garlic is soft and golden discard the skins and then blend it with the olive oil to a smooth paste. Set aside.
Meanwhile halve the cucumber lengthwise and discard the seeds. Cut the halves into quarters so that you have four batons and then grilled them on a girdle pan over high heat. You’re looking to sear the flesh so be sure that the pan is very hot. Grill each side for a couple of minutes or until well charred. Once cooled you can chopped it however you desire. I likely it roughly done but you might prefer a finer dice.
Combine the yoghurt, cucumber, garlic oil paste, dill, mint and lime juice and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve it immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
1 cup of dry chickpeas
1 cup of brown rice
200ml/ 6.7 fl oz/ 3/4 cup of coconut milk
Soak the chickpeas and brown rice separately overnight. Drain and rinse and then combine them with the coconut milk in a high speed blender. Pulse until you have a smooth slightly grainy batter. If needed add water to thin the mixture.
In a skillet over high heat, melt a dob of butter and then spoon in a few tablespoons of the mixture, spreading it out in the pan. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side until golden and then serve immediately.
SEASONAL GUIDe / TEMPERATE CLIMATE
Asparagus, early spring through autumn; broccolini, late autumn through winter; zucchini, summer through autumn; peas spring through summer; kale, year round though sweeter from late winter to mid spring.
When choosing broccolini or asparagus make sure the florets or spears are tight & green with firm stems and moist ends. Store them unwashed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Also complementary to serve with
Spinach leaves, cashew nuts, mango chutney, fresh papaya, brown rice, quinoa.