Jackfruit, carrot and green bean curry

Growing up in South Africa we would often pass fruit sellers on the road selling these giant fruit. Although they look similar to stinky durian, jackfruit are not smelly and their fleshy texture is a great addition to vegetable curries. Full of great vitamins including Compex B vitamins and Vitamin A, jackfruit is great for your fibre intake. The humble jackfruit is becoming increasingly popular as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians, with it’s fibrous texture being used to replicate pulled pork and other meats. It is used in many Asian countries including  in Indonesian soups and curries – which I have enjoyed in Bali. Recently I discovered frozen green  jackfruit in an Indian grocery store in Sydney and made up this curry which was delicious! So, seek out frozen or canned green jackfruit in brine and try  it out!

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ingredients:

150g frozen jackfruit pieces
1 small carrot diced
100g Green Beans cut into pieces
1 onion finely diced
2 teaspoons ginger and garlic paste
3 green chillies sliced in half
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
Handful of curry leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cummin powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
3 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil
2/3 can coconut cream (about 300 mls)
Salt to taste
Coriander chopped for garnish

Method
1. Heat oil over medium heat in a saucepan or pot that has a lid. Add cinnamon stick, cumin seeds and curry leaves and heat until fragrant.
2. Add onions and mustard seeds and cook until onion is soft and transparent.
3. Add ginger and garlic and cook through for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add turmeric, cummin and chilli powder and mix through ensuring spices don’t burn.

5. Add carrots and jackfruit pieces and coat in spice and onion mixture.
6. Add coconut milk and simmer gently for 15 minutes, adding water if curry is drying out too much.
7. Add green beans and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
8. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.
9. Garnish with coriander and serve with basmati rice.

 

Okra, corn and tomato fry

If you don’t like or haven’t tried okra because of it’s reputation for being slimy, then this recipe will surprise. Dry frying the sliced okra before sautéeing  with tomato, onion, garlic and corn removes the slime and produces a tasty vegetarian side dish that is healthy and a delicious side dish served with green salad leaves and grilled pork or fish. Okra is full of fibre, antioxidants and vitamin K.

Prep time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 2o minutes

Ingredients:
1 onion thinly sliced
1 large tomato chopped
2 cloves of garlic crushed
10-12 medium size okra , washed, dried, stalk cut off and sliced lengthwise in half
200g of canned  corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or Cajun spice
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves stripped from stalk
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
finely chopped parsley to garnish
Optional: baby spinach leaves or lettuce to serve with

Method
Heat non-stick fry pan over a high heat, add okra cut side down until it browns and the sticky gel emitted dries up. Cook on cut side only. Remove from pan and set aside. (You will need to was pan before using again).

Heat oil in pan then add onions and cook slowly until translucent
Add crushed garlic and sautée for 1 minute
Add cayenne pepper, salt and pepper or just the Cajun spice if using latter, and mix through onion and garlic
Add tomatoes and thyme and a splash of water and cook until tomatoes just start to break up (5 minutes)
Add okra and corn kernels and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring gently from time to time to prevent sticking

image
Add okra, then corn to tomato and onion mixture

Taste okra to see if it needs additional cooking time, should be still slightly crunchy.
Garnish with parsley, serve on bed of spinach or lettuce with grilled fish or pork cutlets

Roasted eggplant with cummin and yoghurt

This is a delicious accompaniment served with Indian curries but just as good with roast meats like the Pulled pork or served as a dip.

Roasting the eggplant first gives it a lovely texture and a smoky flavour and the cummin and mustard seeds add spice and crunch.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time:60 minutes
Ingredients
1 large eggplant
1/2 brown onion thinly sliced
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon cummin powder
1 teaspoon cummin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
Handful curry leaves(optional)
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste

Method
Heat oven to 180 degrees celcius
Prick eggplant deeply in a few spots on each side with a fork or small knife to allow steam to escape. (This is important to avoid eggplant explosion in oven!)
Roast eggplant for 45-50 minutes, rotating 3 or 4 times to allow for even cooking. Don’t worry if skin blackens or burns.
Remove eggplant from oven and place immediately in a plastic bag and tie/seal. Leave for 5-10 minutes. The steam created will loosen the skin as eggplant cools.

Roasted eggplant cooling in plastic bag
Roasted eggplant cooling in plastic bag

Remove eggplant from bag, cut off ends, then “peel” the skin off.

Peel skin off the roasted eggplant
Peel skin off the roasted eggplant

Chop/dice eggplant finely on large chopping board to save as much of the juices

Roasted eggplant, peeled and diced
Roasted eggplant, peeled and diced

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
Add cummin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves and fry until fragrant but take care not to burn
Add onions and garlic, cook for 5 minutes or so until transparent and slightly caramelised
Add diced eggplant and juices, cummin powder and cook for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time
When eggplant and onion mixture is thoroughly “melded” and heated through, take off heat and add the yoghurt
Mix through while off the heat which stops yoghurt curdling, then return to medium heat and allow to reheat. (About 3 minutes)
Serves 4-6 as a side or dip

Black bean Dhal with ginger, chilli, onions and tomato

This rich and delicious Dhal is made with black beans stewed with ginger, dried chillies, tomatoes and then finished with fried onions and spices. A great accompaniment with other vegetable curries and eaten with rice or naan or rotis. I use canned black beans which you can find in the Mexican section of the supermarket. The key is long, slow cooking adding stock or water until the mixture takes on a thick, soup like consistency and the beans have broken down.

Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 1.5-2 hours
Ingredients
1 can black beans
1 large piece of ginger, peeled and cut in 2 pieces
3-4 dried red chillies
1 large tomato cut into large cubes
500ml Salt reduced chicken or vegetable stock
500ml water
Salt
1 tspoon cummin seeds
1/2 tspoon Turmeric
1/2 tspoon Chilli powder
1/2 tspoon cummin powder
Handful curry leaves
1 small onion sliced
1 tspoon ginger and garlic paste
50g butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Chopped coriander for garnish

Method
Bring water to boil in a medium-large saucepan
Strain beans in colander and rinse thoroughly
Add beans, ginger and dried chillies to water and add a cup of stock
Beans should be well covered with water and stock
Cook own a low rolling boil for 1 hour, adding water,or stock as required as you would for a soup
After an hour use a masher to break up beans and add 1/2 cup of water and add the tomato
Continue to cook for another half an hour to 45 minutes
Once the mixture has reduced and reached a thick soup-like consistency turn off heat.
In a seperate large frying pan, heat oil and butter over medium heat
Add cummin seeds and curry leaves and fry until fragrant
Add onion and cook slowly until golden and transparent
Remove large pieces of ginger from the bean mixture and then add to onion mixture, add salt to taste, bring to a boil to heat through
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve

Thick black bean dhal with rice
Thick black bean dhal with rice

Serves 3-4 as an accompaniment

Red Lentil Tarka Dhal with turmeric and ginger

Most Indian meals should be accompanied by a Dhal – an almost souplike side dish which can be made from a number of different types of lentils. Dhal is an absolute must to accompany South Indian vegetarian meals adding essential proteins. My version is quick and easy, using red lentils and the flavours featured are inspired by the dhals of Kerala and other parts of South India. Tarka dhal refers to the process of adding a Tarka(seasoned oil dressing with onions, tomatoes and spices) to the boiled lentils which adds flavour and depth to the sauce. Unlike most recipes I prefer to “cook” the boiled lentils in the Tarka at the end to allow the flavours to permeate the whole dish. For a richer and creamier consistency that is truly South Indian, coconut cream can be added at the end or else to make it sinfully delicious a knob of butter. Dhal keeps well in the fridge and can be successfully frozen and reheated. Leftovers are also great on toast.

Red lentils, ginger, garlic,, onion tomatoes form the basis of the ingredients for Tarka dhal.
Red lentils, ginger, garlic,, onion tomatoes form the basis of the ingredients for Tarka dhal.

Prep time:5 minutes Cooking time:25 minutes
Ingredients:
For Boiled lentils
3/4 cup red lentils
3 cups water
4-5cm knob of ginger peeled and cut in half
1 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt
For Tarka
1/2 onion sliced finely
1/2 tomato chopped into small pieces
1 tspn fresh ginger and garlic ground into paste (2 small cloves garlic and equivalent amount ginger)
2-3 dried red chillies
1 tspn black mustard seeds
1 tspn cummin seeds
Handful curry leaves
1 stick cinnamon bark
2 tspns vegetable oil
Coriander chopped to garnish
Optional: knob of butter or 1/4 cup coconut cream

Method
Bring water to boil in small but deep pot or saucepan
Add knob of ginger, turmeric and salt
Add lentils stirring initially so the don’t stick to bottom
Reduce heat and cook on a low rolling boil for about 20 minutes or until lentils become soft and create a souplike consistency.
Add water in half cup measures as you go to allow for this consistency to be achieved without the mixture sticking or burning.

Red lentils on a rolling boil in pot for Tarka dhal
Red lentils on a rolling boil in pot for Tarka dhal

In a seperate deep non-stick frying pan or pot, heat the oil over medium heat, then add cinnamon stick, dried chillies, cummin seeds and curry leaves to flavour the oil ensuring spices don’t burn.
Add onions and cook over low heat until translucent for about 5 minutes, then add black mustard seeds.
Fry mustard seeds with onions and other spices for 1 minute and then add tomatoes, ground ginger and garlic.
Cook for another 5-8 minutes stirring regularly until tomatoes have broken down and slightly caramelised. Turn off heat.
Flavouring the oil with cummin seeds, cinnamon bark, dried chillies and curry leaves for Tarka Dhal
Flavouring the oil with cummin seeds, cinnamon bark, dried chillies and curry leaves for Tarka Dhal

When lentils have boiled, reheat Tarka on medium heat in the frying pan, and then carefully pour boiled lentils into the seasoned oil, spices and onions and bring to a simmer to allow flavours to permeate the dhal.
Add extra butter or coconut cream at this point if you are using.
Garnish with coriander and serve.

Serves 4-6 as an accompaniment

Baked cauliflower with garlic, chilli, coriander and lemon

There’s something very rustic and comforting about baking a whole cauliflower. This version with chilli, coriander, garlic and lemon is delicious as a side for an Indian feast or seved simply with grilled fish or meats and a green salad.

Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients
1 whole medium size cauliflower with outer leaves removed
3 small red chillies
4 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of one lemon
Handful of coriander leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt

Method
Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius
Cut away base of the cauliflower so it will sit flat
Cut a cross in the base
Crush garlic, coriander, salt and chilli into a paste using mortar and pestle
Add lemon zest and lemon juice and then muddle with olive oil
Rub paste well all over the cauliflower using plastic gloves
Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper
Place on middle rack of oven for about an hour or until cauliflower is tender
Serve as a delicious accompaniment to meat and fish dishes
Seves 4-6