I took my dog out for a walk this week to take some photos for my new 365 Project on flickr, where I take a photo every day of the year.
Some brave souls were out sledding. He really wanted to join them. Frankly I think he prefers laughing children to dogs.
When the weather gets cold I like to cook something really warm, and that usually means chili. That said, one can only eat so much of it in a day. I reflected on the fact that we describe things that have a high temperature and things that have a high level of spice both as "hot" and decided that I wanted something hearty and spicy to warm us up.
I had a bag of dried chickpeas and had been seeing roasted chickpeas all over the internet. I also had some cauliflower, so I decided to roast them both together in lots of Punjabi Chhole Masala from this company. (I just went into my local Asian grocery store and picked out a spice mix that looked good. The label lists: chilli, big cardamom, cumin, black pepper, ginger, salt, coriander, dry mango powder, mint leaves, black salt, and ajwain)
I soaked the beans for a few hours then rinsed them. If you don't rinse dry beans they will be much harder on your digestive system. I chopped up the cauliflower and tossed them both with lots of the masala, oil, and salt and pepper. They smelled delicious and looked beautiful, but when I pulled them out of the oven I was disappointed with the texture. The chickpeas didn't seem totally cooked through but they were starting to brown on the outside. Since I love coconut milk and will use any excuse to use it, I decided to make a stew using the roasted vegetables. It turned out to be really delicious and the perfect bit of sunshine in this freezing cold. After I put it all together, I realized that it was vegan as well, which is always a nice surprise. If you're a meat eater, I think ground chicken would be absolutely delicious in this.
Vegan Curry Chickpea Cauliflower Stew with Saffron Quinoa
2 cups chickpeas, soaked over night and simmered for 1 hour
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp. punjabi chole masala (to taste)
2 tbsp. turmeric
4 tbsp. oil of your choice
1 onion, diced
1/2 can masaman curry
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
1 can coconut milk
1-2 cups stock of any kind
Roast the chickpeas and cauliflower, covered in the masala, turmeric, and 2 tbsps of the oil in a 350 oven for 40 minutes, or until the edges of the cauliflower start to brown and the beans are still slightly undercooked.
While they cool, in a dutch oven, cook the onion in the remaining oil. Once it's starting to get translucent, add the roasted vegetables to the pan. Then add the remaining spices and lime zest. I also find my masaman at the Asian grocery store. Any curry blend you like will do. (As a linguist, masaman curry is very interesting to me. It's a Thai style of curry whose name is a version of the word Muslim! Read the wiki here)
Stir gently to coat everything in the spices and flavored oil. Then add your liquids, using all the lime juice and coconut milk and just enough stock to cover. Simmer this away until you can't stand it any more. If you like it a little chunky, leave it as is. I used my immersion blender to mash things up a bit but still left some texture. Serve with saffron quinoa, below, or your grain of choice. (Don't know about quinoa? It's awesome. Read about it here.)
2 cups water or stock
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tsp saffron
Combine all ingredients in a pot with a heavy lid. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover and let it sit for 15-20 minutes or until the grain has absorbed all the liquid.
This dish isn't pretty, but it's spicy, creamy, tangy, and very filling.
That's all for now, but I have a meaty (figuratively) writing post rolling around in my brain about social networking and food that I'm working on and can't wait to share with you.
Until then, eat up and stay warm!