Indian Sprout and Carrot Curry

Sprouts divide opinion amongst the masses and my guess would be that the pendulum would swing more towards those that don’t like them than do. I think this is largely due to the boiled, overcooked way that we had them in school growing up. Overcooked sprouts are really not that exciting for the palate right?

However, over the years people have begun to be a little more inventive on how to prepare these little winter delicacies, the most ubiquitous being to serve them with chestnuts and pancetta or bacon. Only last week, when I had sprouts on the brain, and was thinking about posting my sprout recipe,  I received this wonderful blog post in my inbox from the food blog ‘Garum Factory‘. If you have not come across this blog before I highly recommend you take a peek and follow them. Run by married US couple Ken (journalist, photographer and home cook ) and Judy (professional chef and restaurant owner) they offer a wonderful array of  recipes, narrative  and eye catching photos that really make you very hungry by the time you have finished reading the post. They had posted a fabulous sprout recipe, with an original new twist that will definitely appeal to a wide audience and one that I will definitely be cooking over the next few months.

To continue with the sprout theme, since it’s the season and all, I wanted to show you an Indian sprout and carrot curry. My mother-in-law cooked it for me years ago and I recall the first time I ate it, I couldn’t identify the vegetable being sprouts initially. Shame on me I know, but you’ll see what I mean when you cook it! I know I sound like a stuck record on this blog but it really is absolutely delicious, takes no time to make and only requires a few ingredients (see photo below). If you cook it alongside a dal it makes a perfect vegetarian meal.  Go on, be bold, and give it a try – you might even surprise yourself and like sprouts by the end of it. I am sure I will be able to convert a few of you at least…..leave a comment below and let me know.

Indian Sprout and Carrot Curry

Serves 4

325g sprouts, finely sliced

300g carrots, grated

1 green chilli, finely sliced (optional)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 level tsp turmeric

1 tsp nigella seeds (kalo jeera)

1 tsp salt

100ml water

1. Finely slice the sprouts, grate the carrots and, if using, finely chop the chilli. I tend to leave the seeds in, but to make it less spicy just remove the seeds.

2. Heat a pan with oil and add the nigella seeds. After 10 seconds add the chilli and turmeric and stir in together for a further 10 seconds.

3. Add the sprouts and carrots and stir well with the other ingredients. Continue to stir continuously on a medium heat so that the carrots and sprouts soften and do not burn. Use a wooden spoon to press down on the ingredients as you gently stir.

4. After a few minutes of stirring add 50ml of water and stir into the curry. You may find that you do not need to use the remaining 50ml of water if the sprouts and carrots are sufficiently softened. Add the salt to taste. Continue stirring for a further 5-7 minutes and the dish will be done.

Nigella seeds (above)

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Fine Green Bean and Potato Curry

After every few days if I have not had Indian food (basically my chilli fix) of some capacity I start craving dal, vegetable curry or some succulent fish or meat curry. They are always fun to make and really do not take long to prepare once you know how and best of all they are always guaranteed to bring a smile to Mr B’s face after the stresses of commuting in London town. I am a total believer that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – although the same could be said for me come to think of it.

As delicious as steamed or boiled fine green beans are in their own right, this Bengali dish just takes them to a new level and gives them their own identity. It’s definitely one of those dishes that you can rustle up in a short space of time and enjoy with dal (or a meat/fish curry) and some Indian bread or rice, to create a really delicious, healthy (let’s just ignore the cooking oil this once!) and low cost meal.

The ingredient list is short and I always have them in my store cupboard. The only spice that maybe unknown to some of you is kalo jeera – which is also known more widely as nigella seeds. They are really easy to come by and are pretty mainstream even in the supermarkets. I have used mustard oil, but if you do not have this to hand a simple vegetable oil will be equally suitable.

 Fine Green Bean and Potato Curry

Serves 2-3 (accompanied by a dal)

350g fine green beans

1 large potato, peeled and cut into small cubes

2 tbsp mustard oil (or vegetable oil)

1 tsp nigella seeds

1 tsp turmeric

150ml boiling water

2 tbsp of chopped tinned tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 chilli powder (optional)

1. Heat the mustard or vegetable oil in a pan and when it is piping hot add the nigella seeds. After 10 seconds add the potato and green beans and stir to coat the vegetables in the nigella seeds.

2. Add the turmeric, salt, chilli powder (optional) and chopped tomatoes and stir once again. After a few minutes add 50 ml of boiling water, stir and place a lid on the pan. Keep on a low heat and simmer gently.

3. Once the water has completely dried up add a further 50 ml of  boiling water, which will help soften the potato and green beans. You will probably need to add a further 50ml of boiling water during cooking as you want the beans and potato to be soft and not crunchy. The dish should be ready between 20-25 minutes. It can be stored easily in the fridge for a couple of days should you not finish it all in one sitting – although if you are like me, you will.

Happy eating.