Sunday, 11 May 2014

Automatic Green Chickpea Curry

These 'automatic' recipes are becoming facile & predictable: soak the peas overnight, then bung 'em in a pressure cooker with green curry paste & coconut milk. Cook!


Going vegan for Lent, I totally got into using coconut oil instead of butter. Actually, it has been a revelation & I don't know why I didn't get it before: saturated coconut fat is better than butter! I love the unctuous flavour that cooking with ghee imparts, but coconut oil is just as satisfying, plus it doesn't come from animals. Doh!

Pertinently, for me, cooking with coconut oil also does not promote hypertension, nor lead to the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. In fact, forty days of abstinence from dairy products has brought down my blood pressure. I did miss cheese, but won't go back to gorging on cheddar and Parmesan. I didn't miss butter, except for a few days during a fortnight when I was away on retreat with no coconut oil to gargle with in the mornings!

I experimented with oil pulling for the benefit of Fareshares' newsletter and have stuck with it, somewhat. Any oil will do, but coconut tastes best. One swooshes it around for 20 mins before expectorating into a bin (not the plumbing, esp. not my overloaded Victorian pipes!). I don't have to defend my rituals, but I am convinced the swooshing does, you know, promote oral hygiene and that.

Any road, I now have a pot of Biona Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil on the kitchen counter where my old mum - who became diabetic - would have kept her dripping jar. All my automatic pressure cooker recipes now begin with a dollop of coconut oil, not butter, in the bottom of the cooking pan.

This is a fast version of the green chix curry I frequently do. If you want to serve short grain brown rice with it, as I am wont to do, you'd better get that going first because it will probably take 45 minutes if you let the cooked rice  steam and become properly plump. If you're using quicker rice then follow the destructions innit.

Start by frying finely diced red onion in the coconut oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker before adding the soaked chix, green curry paste and coconut milk, either from a tin, or you might use creamed coconut, re-constitued with boiling water. I prefer the latter because you can mix it up as thick as you like and stir the green curry paste into the hot milk, gauging the end taste, Or you can just pour in a tin of milk and add a dessert spoon of greenn curry paste.

Living at London's cosmopolitan Elephant & Castle, with its dynamic Sino-Viet comminity, I can score green curry paste from a variety of ethnic outlets that also deal in bean sprouts, coriander and limes, but actually I went to Morrisons for those items, where I purchased a coriander plant for 99p. I figured it would do me for a few meals, at least, and I might be able to keep it growing. But I left the plant out over night on a window sill in my dank back yard and a snail ate most of it! Seriously.

I garnished my curry with cubes of fried tofu: those very same fried cubes that are pictured to the left. Frankly, they are superfluous to the recipe and I've only included the photo because its a better shot than the plate at the top of the page. Still. I have become partial to fried tofu cubes. There are those who will tell you that tofu has no flavour, but Sriracha, aka 'cock sauce' has heaps of chilli 'n' garlic flavour and firm fried cubes of tofu are an excellent vehicle for it, I find. Pan fry the tofu in toasted sesame oil, diluted with reg. veg. oil, plus minced ginger and/or garlic, as you like it.

Cook the curry in the pressure cooker until it steams, turn down the gas and cook on for 15 mins more, then turn the heat off and leave the cooker to cool & its pressure to dissipate. Turn out the cooked chickpeas in their creamy 'n' spicy green coconut sauce into a saucepan with a lid, chuck in a handful of bean sprouts and return to the heat with the lid on. We want those sprouts to wilt somewhat and lose the edge off their crunch.

Chop the coriander and cut the lime unto wedges.
Then put  it all on a plate and enjoy!

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