Friday, 31 August 2012

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

Dish: Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

Difficulty: Well, I only had to look up one thing on Google...

Utensils Used: More wooden spoons, nothing special

Cock Ups: 2

Serves: 4-6

Recipe Book: Back to River Cottage Veg Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I seriously need to buy/borrow some different cook books.

Cooking: There was extra pressure in the Disaster Kitchen, as this meal was being made specially for guests. Okay, the guests were Mash and George, my cake slaves, and they knew my cooking standards very well from the Simple Chocolate Cake disaster, but I wanted to make a good effort.


I let them choose the recipe, only asking that they didn't chose something I'd done before, so I could blog about it here. They picked this cauliflower curry so I figured it would be relatively painless, given I'd almost successfully made a cauliflower curry just a week ago.

The recipe called for about 800g of cauliflower - described as one 'Medium-Large' cauliflower in the recipe. I bought a large one, and it quickly became clear that I had way too much when it wouldn't fit in the pan I was meant to be bringing it to a 'rolling' boil in.


This meant it took a very long time for the cauliflower to come to the boil - something the recipe made feel somewhat more instantaneous. So by the time I was taking them off the heat, straining and putting back in the pan to keep warm, there was no real need to be keeping them warm, as everything else was already ready. Oh well.


Also, cutting cauliflower is a very messy business. Is there a tidier way of doing it??


While the cauliflower was crawling slowly towards boiling point, I heated some sunflower oil (only as the recipe specified because it was what I happened to have...) and added 3 chopped onions. Except I did 4 because my onions were really small. Four chopped garlic cloves (goddammit recipes! I have a garlic crusher now...) and 1 teaspoon of freshly grated (cough, powdered) ginger were added, and the mix was then sautéd (that's what I had to look up on Google - it means to fry at a high temperature in a little oil to preserve flavour) for ten minutes.


Two teaspoons of ground coriander, two teaspoons of cumin, two star anise (an ingredient I had never used before) and a large pinch of dried chilli flakes (cough, chilli powder) were added, along with seasoning, then cooked for another five or so minutes. Note the cauliflower in the corner - it is producing some steam, but not yet boiling, even by this point.


A tin of plum tomatoes, chopped, were then added. Which makes no sense to me - why didn't it just ask for a tin of chopped tomatoes? Is there a difference?? Apart from saving me a job... Then 400g of chickpeas. I have no idea if I had 400g, as I looked for a tin in Morrisons, but they didn't sell them, so I had to raid Mum's freezer. Lucky she had them really. Not getting the recipe far enough in advance - cock up number 2.


The cauliflower were then added, plus enough water to almost cover the lot. The recipe said 100-200ml, but I just used the water I used to swill the juice out of the tomato tin. The mix was then brought to a simmer and left to cook for ten minutes or so.


Half a 'good handful' of fresh coriander, chopped, along with two teaspoons of garam masala were then stirred in.


I set my new table...


While adding copious amounts of water to the rice, which I had seriously over catered for, and waited for my guests to arrive.

Serve with a sprinkling of fresh coriander and warm naan.

Washing Up Required: Not too bad really.


Result: Quite adventurous in terms of ingredients, but oddly it tasted quite bland. I don't know if that's my cooking or the recipe... Probably my cooking. But it mostly tasted of tomato. Very fresh and healthy though, and not unpleasant.

Considering the extra pressure, I was pleased. Especially given I was suffering with a bad cold. I was very careful, not wishing to poison my guests, and made frequent use of my antibacterial hand gel:


...that's right next to a paintbrush in white spirit. Oh God, my kitchen is so unhygienic.

Taste Test: Maisie, being my kind sister, said the dish was very tasty. George said it had an odd flavour in it that he didn't like. Trying to work it out, he decided in the end it was the chickpeas...

Yes, they did pick the recipe.

The Boyfriend, usually terse and abrupt, did ask if I wanted his honest opinion, which turned out not to be that bad anyway.

'It's not exactly spicy, is it? It's more herby than a curry. I like the cauliflower, though.'

I think perhaps he was holding back for the benefit of our guests...

As I said, I found it a bit bland for all the spices that went into it, but it was a perfectly pleasant meal.


Overall Verdict: Quite easy to make, and very healthy. If chickpeas weren't such a pain in the arse to prepare, I'd make it again.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry


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