Baked Spiced Squash and Potato Samosa, Curry For Change Campaign and Wandsworth Radio

img_3470-2

I love it when friends bring edible gifts, especially ones they have been handmade or grown. The other day I was given this gorgeous blue looking squash that my pal had grown in her vegetable patch in the Cotswolds. We are not too sure what it is exactly but our guess is pointing us towards pumpkin invincible (we liked the name anyway). It looked beautiful, so I let it sit around in the kitchen for over a week for us all to admire. Part of me wanted to spray it silver or gold and have it sitting by the fireplace over the christmas season, but then again I knew it would be delicious as a lot of care and love had gone into growing it, it would be a shame not to eat it such a gorgeous gift.

img_3469-2

I broke into it yesterday – it definitely won top prize on ‘hardest squash to break into’. It’s flesh was bright orange with seeds slightly puffier than your regular pumpkins. I removed the skin from a quarter of it and then diced it up small. The rest I covered and placed in the fridge to use on another occasion.

A lovely idea would be to incorporate the squash into some gnocchi itself – you could use my recipe for gnocchi here or incorporate it with some store bought gnocchi here.

My plan was to use the filling for some spiced baked squash and potato samosas. I was going on to Wandsworth radio later in the day to talk to presenter, Emma Gordon aka Mrs Stylist, about the charity ‘Find Your Feet’ and their ‘Curry For Change’ campaign and hosting your own supper parties to help the charity. In addition the plan was to talk about alternative christmas snacks, so thought the samosas and my Indian tomato chutney were perfect for the occasion. You can hear the interview here if you fancy hearing me on the airwaves.

img_3459-2

For those keen to get involved in the campaign they are really having a push next week (21st November). The charity is all about helping those who live in rural communities in northern India, Nepal, Malawi and Zimbabwe to help them ‘find their feet’ – rather than simply giving handouts, through acquiring training and skills that can break the cycle of poverty by setting up their own business to allow them to feed themselves and their families. The idea is that we host supper parties. Natco and Kingfisher beer sponsor the whole campaign and will send those who sign up here a spice pack, which invariable includes lentils and other exciting goodies. Kingfisher will also send a crate of beer to  drink at the event. You ask diners to pay what they would ordinarily spend on a curry take out and the money then goes to ‘Find Your Feet’. Natco then double the amount you raise.  It’s a simple idea that is a win win for all involved. You don’t need to be a food blogger to take part. Everyone young and old can give it a whirl – even my mother has expressed an interest to take part. The curry for change website also has lots of inspiring recipes to help you plan your curry evening. You may even see one of two of mine listed on their site.

img_3464-2

Back to the spiced squash samosas.

The good thing about these snacks is that they can be prepared and then frozen, pre cooking, and then when you are ready to bake them you simply place them in the oven for 20 minutes from frozen. So simple. I often like to prepare a chutney to go along with a street food snacks, such as samosas. You can see my recipe for Indian spiced tomato chutney here. It is very quick to prepare and stores in the fridge for a couple of days.

Folding the samosas is easier than you think. Place the filling in the bottom right hand corner and then fold the pastry over so that a triangle forms. Then you fold the pastry up along the line before folding over to the left hand side, continuing with the triangle theme. Just keep in mind that you need to keep folding in alternative triangles and using water or ghee to stick the sides together. There are more photos showing how it is done on my post about ‘beetroot, feta and cumin samosas’ – see here. I like to sprinkle the samosas with nigella seeds, also known as black onion seeds, equally you could sprinkle sesame seeds or even chilli flakes.

img_3468-2 img_3467-2 img_3466-2 img_3465-2


 Baked Spiced Squash and Potato 

Makes 20

700g squash/pumpkin of your choice, cut into small cubes

1 large potato (250g), cut into small cubes

2 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp nigella seeds

pinch of asafoetida/hing

1 onion, finely chopped

1 birds eye green chilli, finely sliced

1 tsp ginger paste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin powder

100g frozen peas

2 packets of Jus Filo Sheets 270g each

2 tbsp melted ghee

  1. First place the cubed squash and potatoes in a pan with boiling water and let them soften, which will take around 10 minutes. If they are still a little hard, allow them to cook for a little longer. Strain and place to one side.
  2. In a separate wide pan add the oil and then add the mustard, cumin and nigella seeds followed by the asafoetida. Allow them to move around the pan for around 20 seconds before adding the onion.
  3. Allow the onion to soften for around 8 minutes, before adding the ginger paste and fresh chilli.
  4. Add the squash and potato and cover with the spices along with the cumin and turmeric powder.
  5. Using a fork or potato masher, gently squash the squash and potatoes. You don’t necessarily want it as smooth as mash, but certainly soften from it’s cubed form.
  6. Add the frozen peas and place a lid on the pan for a few minutes, adding a little water if it is becoming too dry. Take off the heat and leave to one side.
  7. Take the filo pastry out of its packet and using one sheet cut into in two horizontally. With the remaining filo pastry cover with a damp cloth.
  8. Working quickly you want to place a spoonful of the filling in the bottom right hand corner of the pastry (see photos). Place a little the melted ghee along the left hand edge of the pastry. Bring the bottom right hand corner of the pastry up to the right hand side at a diagonal to form a triangle (see photos above). Fold over from side to side until you reach the top. Stick the ends with melted ghee and either place on a plate to go into the freezer or one some greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Sprinkle with nigella or sesame seeds.
  9. Work your way through all the filling until it has all been used up. Freeze any left over filo pastry.
  10. If you are cooking immediately heat the oven to 180 degrees. Once the oven is hot place the samosas into the oven for 20 minutes – or until they are nicely bronzed.
  11. Eat when they are nice and hot with either a spiced tomato chutney or perhaps some tamarind and date chutney

If you host a curry for change dinner I would LOVE to hear about it. Take a photo and tag #chilliandmint and #curryforchange on twitter/instagram.

 


Spicy Black Eye Bean Curry

IMG_9409

This is my final recipe for June supporting the ‘Curry for Change‘ – Find Your Feet campaign. I hope you have enjoyed my journey through the hamper of goodies kindly supplied to me by Natco Foods as part of the ‘Blogger’s Challenge‘. I have enjoyed experimenting with some ingredients that were new to me and as a consequence will be incorporating them as part of my diet going forward.

Out of the four recipes I posted I’m curious as to which YOU liked the look of most. Was it the Indian Powa Fuel, or my Lotus Seed/Phool Makhana Curry, my Dried Ginger and Lentil Spiced Chicken Balti or the one that I have posted today? Don’t be shy now…be brave and leave a little comment below.

I hope that I may have encouraged you to host a curry evening of your own to support the wonderful charity Find Your Feet – see details on the Curry for Change site. If you do I would love to hear how it went.

Over the next few weeks I will be tempting you with some refreshing, fragrant and tasty summer salads that you can pull together for a BBQ, summer picnic or a leisured lunch at home.

Now I must return to watching Wimbledon. The summer season has begun.

Spiced Black Eye Bean Curry

250g black eye beans

275g/3 medium sized red onion, roughly chopped

250g/3 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 tsp garlic paste

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 bay leaves

1 3inch stick of cinnamon

4 cloves

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp mango powder (also known as amchoor powder)

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala

salt to taste

500ml of cold water

1. Soak the black eye beans in a bowl of cold water overnight. Rinse them the following day and place in a saucepan along with boiling water to cover them. Simmer on a medium heat for around 30 minutes, or until the black eye beans have softened. Drain and place to one side.

2. In a blender add the onions and blend to a smooth paste. You may need to add a little water to help it become more paste like in consistency. Remove from the blender and place in a bowl to one side.

3. Rinse the blender and then add the tomatoes and blend so that a smooth paste forms. Remove from the blender and place in a bowl to one side.

4. In a deep pan or karahi add the vegetable oil and when it is hot add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves. Stir them around the pan for 30 seconds.

5. Add the onion paste and a little salt to the pan and lower the heat so that the onion cooks through and begins to bronze slightly. This will take around 10 minutes.

6. Add the garlic paste, followed by the turmeric powder, coriander powder, mango powder, Kashmiri chilli powder and garam masala. Stir in thoroughly to the onion, garlic paste. Cook for a further 3 minutes.

7. Now add the tomato paste along with 50 ml water and simmer gently for a further 5 minutes.

8. Place the black eye beans into the curry and cover them in the sauce along with up to 450 ml of water, depending on how thick you like your sauce to be.

9. Simmer for a further 5 minutes and add more salt if necessary and serve.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon and a dollop of natural yogurt on the side. I like to make homemade chapatis to go alongside this curry. I realise I need to post a recipe on how to make them so watch this space….they are ridiculously easy and great fun for all the family to make.


Indian Powa Fuel

IMG_9365

This week I have another recipe for you that I created using some ingredients from the hamper that Natco foods sweetly provided me for the the Curry for Change bloggers challenge. For those who have not read my two previous posts (shame on you ;o), for the month of June I will be cooking recipes using the ingredients that Natco foods sent me to inspire YOU at home to cook your own Indian food to support ‘Curry for Change’ that in turn supports a wonderful charity called ‘Find Your Feet‘, which does exactly what it says on the tin….help rural communities in Asia find…..their….feet in order to bring them out of poverty and be self sufficient.

IMG_9354

I pulled out a packet of powa flakes from the hamper and decided to create an appetising Indian inspired dish that you too could easily make at home. Powa flakes are flattened pre-cooked rice, that look fairly similar to white Kelloggs corn flakes. Similarly they can be used in sweet dishes, but can also be used in a number of savoury dishes and snacks. I have always tended to eat them as part of a crispy, fried snack, similar to a Bombay mix, but after a bit of researching I decided to use them in a more substantial meal. They are low in fat and high in fibre so tick many boxes from a health perspective. You’re probably wondering where on earth you can buy them. Well any Asian/Indian grocers will definitely stock them or you can order them online from Natco – here.

Unlike rice, that requires a little longer to cook, powa flakes only require soaking in cold water for a couple of minutes. Once they are drained, they only require a few minutes cooking before they are ready to be eaten. I honestly think that they are the perfect ingredient to use after a shattering day at work/looking after the kids (delete as appropriate) when you cannot be bothered to cook. Within 10 minutes this dish is cooked and it is so satisfying and filling. Seriously I think I am onto a winner here. I am totally converted and you will be too if you seek out the powa.

IMG_9378

My eldest, who is 8 years old, absolutely loves this meal and eats it exactly as I do (with chilli). However, it has only really been in the last year that she has been able to eat many of the same curries as me and Mr B. She has been gradually weened on over the years. Children can and do enjoy spice, however, it is best to gradually build up their tolerance and love of spices. My four year old in comparison has made it very clear that she only likes traditional English food and not spicy Indian food. More left for me, Mr B and Big A then.

***********

Indian Powa Fuel

Serves 4

125g powa flakes (medium thickness)

3 tbsp vegetable/olive oil

1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 dried red chilli

2 fresh green chilli, finely chopped

1/8 tsp hing/asafoetida

1/2 (half) tsp of ground turmeric

30g cashew nuts

10 fresh curry leaves

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

1 lemon, juice only

150g of finely cubed carrots

handful fresh coriander, finely chopped

1. In a bowl cover the powa flakes with cold water.

2. In a karahi, wok or frying pan, add the oil and when it is hot, but on a low heat, add the mustard seeds. They will begin to pop after about 10 seconds.

3. Immediately add the dried chilli, turmeric, hing/asafoetida, cashew nuts, green chilli, curry leaves and stir together. Stir in the pan for a minute.

4. Now add the onion and salt and stir well into the ingredients in the pan. Fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened and then add the lemon juice.

5. Add the finely cubed carrots and place a lid on the pan so that the carrots soften. As they are small this will not take more than a few minutes.

6. Add the drained powa flakes and gently mix into the ingredients in the pan, without making them too stodgy. Sprinkle the fresh coriander around the pan and serve warm immediately.

********

As for the ‘Curry For Change’ competition, well my recipe, which was this one,  sadly did not win. However, two out of the three winners I am twitter friends with so I am thrilled that their recipes made it through. They have now been filmed cooking their winning recipes, so am looking forward to seeing the result, when it goes live on the curry for change site. In the mean time check out their recipes on their sites below and try making them. I would love to hear from you if you try any of the recipes I am cooking this month or any of the winning recipes below. Leave a comment below.

· Ellie Matthews with ‘Spiced Roast Lamb with Butternut Squash and Spinach Dhal’ – http://theyoungdomesticgoddess.blogspot.co.uk/

·         Deena Kakaya with ‘Black Eyed Bean Pakora and Coconut Kadhi’ – www.deenakakaya.com

·         Zoe Perrett with ‘Bombay Bad Boy Chocolate Cheesecake’ – http://culinaryadventuresofthespicescribe.wordpress.com  and http://culinaryadventuresofthecocoanut.wordpress.com

 

IMG_9380

 

 


Lotus Seed/Phool Makhana Curry

IMG_9310

Continuing on the theme of providing an Indian dish for you each week, through the month of June, as part of Curry for Change, I hereby introduce a curry that I imagine many of you have never come across before – Lotus Seeds – otherwise known in India, as Phool Makhana. When Natco foods sent me a huge box of goodies for me to create a dish as part of a competition for food bloggers, (more about this click here from last weeks post), a large packet of phool makhana – popped lotus seeds – definitely stood out. They look very similar to popcorn or little cotton balls.

IMG_9264

In all honesty I had not eaten or even seen lotus seeds before, which was even more of a reason to experiment and give them a try. I discovered that they are greatly valued for their nutritional (powerful antioxidants) and healing properties, especially in Chinese medicine. In India, the state of Bihar produces the most amount of lotus seeds, largely owing to it’s climate and geography. They are  grown in stagnant water of wetlands, ponds and lakes and are completely organic. The seeds themselves can be eaten raw, fried or toasted – I opted for the latter as I was putting them in a curry.

IMG_9344

This curry is a winner for anyone wanting to avoid meat. It’s quick and easy to execute and kind on your waste line. It’s also rather tasty! We try to have meat free mondays, so this curry will definitely be making more appearances going forward. Have a look out for the seeds when you next visit your local Asian grocers.

Oh and if are wondering how I got on with the bloggers curry competition….you are going to have to wait an extra week as I don’t want to spill the beans before it’s official….(clue: it wasn’t me but will reveal more soon ;o)

***********

Lotus Seed/Phool Makhana Curry 

Serves 4 (or 6 if serving with other dishes)

60g lotus seeds/phool makhana

1 tsp olive oil

50g cashew nuts, soaked in 100ml of warm water

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

2 large tomatoes, finely chopped

2 tsp ginger and garlic paste

1 tsp Kasmiri chilli powder (less if you prefer it less hot)

1/2 tsp tumeric powder

1 tsp garam masala

2 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp salt

70g frozen peas

2 tsp dried fenugreek/methi leaves

200ml water

1. Place the olive oil in a non-stick saucepan and gently fry, stirring continuously, the lotus seeds for 5 minutes to allow them to bronze slightly and crisp up.

2. Place in a bowl and leave to one side.

3. In the same non-stick pan gently fry the onion for 5 minutes to allow to soften and become translucent. Add the garlic ginger paste and stir into the onions. After a minute, add the tomatoes and stir into the other ingredients.

4. Now add the Kashmiri chilli powered, turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Stir well and leave to simmer for 3 minutes.

5. Transfer the contents of the pan into a blender and then return to the blender once you have a smooth sauce. Continue to simmer for a couple of minutes.

6. Place the cashew nuts, and the water they are soaking in, into a blender to form a paste. I find that my spice grinder works well at blending the nuts smoothly (do not add the water to the spice grinder!) and then stir into the water after they have been ground up. Add to the main pan and simmer for a minute.

7. Add the dried fenugreek/methi leaves and the peas and stir into the smooth sauce along with 200ml of water and simmer.

8. After 5 minutes add the lotus seed and stir thoroughly into the sauce. Simmer for a further couple of minutes then serve.

9. Serve with some chopped fresh coriander and a wedge of lemon.

IMG_9279