Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Kitchen Diaries: Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry

It seems like substitution may also become a bit of a theme. Personally, I don't think that's a problem. I like to think that one doesn't always need to follow a recipe to the letter unless, of course, one is making pastry or mayonnaise in which case I, at least, do as I'm told.

A good case in point for not doing what I'm told however is Nigel's recipe for chickpea and sweet potato curry. I've made this on a number of occasions and it's always turned out well - as have variations on the theme.

The substitutions I made this evening, to no detrimental effect, were:

  • Butternut squash instead of pumpkin (a rather significant ingredient, despite the recipe's title)
  • Dried chilli flakes rather than fresh (I don't know about you, but cutting fresh chilli makes my skin burn and I'm not sufficiently suburban to own a pair of washing up gloves...)
  • Tinned tomatoes and passata not 500g of fresh toms
  • Tinned chickpeas rather than fresh (life being too short and all that)
I've also found that no harm comes to the curry if you play around with the spices. Whilst shelling cardamom seeds may be a slightly irritating exercise, cardamom is a fantastic spice so I added a few more than Nigel suggests.

And one final note on this recipe's flexiblity: if you're a committed carnivore, adding chopped lamb to the curry around the same time that you're frying the onions and garlic should satisfy.

With or without meat, what results from 20 minutes easy cooking is a delicately flavoured but robustly textured curry. My preference is to serve it with brown rice. And despite all the messing around that I do with the recipe, it is worth taking on board one piece of Nigel's advice: the curry definitely tastes better the next day.

Naomi. xx


emilya said...

I substitute butternut squash for all pumpkin recipes, except the Holy Pumpkin Pie. It's less watery, sweeter and has a nicer texture.

The Holy Pumpkin Pie must be made with Libby's tinned pumpkin, which is rumoured not to be pumpkin at all... but a mystical squash revealed to Capt. John Smith by the Native Americans.

cookingthebooks said...

I'm getting hungry. Is it lunchtime yet?

cookingthebooks said...

My dad goes through a pumpkin pie making frenzy almost every autumn. To be honest it gets a little out of hand sometimes with pumpkin and apple, pumpkin and raspberry... etc. However, he cooks the real mccoy and then drains it to make the pie firmer.