Black Chickpea Curry with Squash and Black Rice
Autumn has come in all its glory. I love the colours of the leaves and the few last rays of sunshine before the winter. It is also the time of bountiful harvests, the last of the summer tomatoes and time to harvest squash and apples. Squash are so much more interesting to eat than the pumpkins usually associated with the end of October. But that apart, we have two new products that are just ideal for Halloween food – Black Chickpeas and Black Rice! I can just imagine a witch flying over the “moon” crescents of the squash in the picture…………
Black chickpeas have a more fibrous coating than the normal ones which makes them more suitable for canning – no chance of them going mushy under pressure! They also have a better nutrition profile.
The black rice is now grown extensively in Italy although it originated in China where it was known as the “forbidden rice”. The colouring is due to flavonoids in the rice and has a nutty flavour.
I do like to make my own curry sauces but it does take some time for the spices to mingle and to reach the right consistency. This time, after the initial frying process, I put the whole lot in a slow cooker for 8 hours and then in the fridge for use the next day. This could easily be doubled up and the surplus frozen for future use. I think it actually does taste better the next day.
- 1 tin black chick peas
- 200g onions
- ¼ bulb garlic
- 1” knob of ginger
- 2 Tablespoons of oil
- ½ stick celery
- ½ small carrot
- A green chilli slit
- 300g tomatoes
- 170ml water
- 400g squash
- Black pepper
- 165g black rice
- To garnish – ½ Lemon, coriander leaf, green chillies & ginger julienne
- 1½ teaspoons cumin seed
- 1” stick cinnamon
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamom
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek
- 1 teaspoon red paprika
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1½ teasp. ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon tumeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
First make the sauce. Chop the onions finely and sauté in the oil. Peel and chop the garlic and ginger and add to the pan, stirring for a few minutes more. Add the whole spices and the bayleaf. When the onion begins to colour add the ground spices, turn them a few times and add the water. Chop the tomatoes, carrot and celery and add them, with the green chilli. Cover and simmer over a low heat until the vegetables are all cooked (see above). Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Set aside a ladleful (removing any tomato skin) fish out any whole spices, and blitz the rest. Add the reserved ladleful back in to give a bit of texture.
Meanwhile, put the rice in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave it to soak for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour. Drain and rinse with cold water shaking off as much water as possible.
Preheat the oven to 195°C. Cut the squash into crescents about 1½ cm thick at their widest. Grease an oven proof tray and lay the squash slices on it. Brush with a little oil and make a few turns of black pepper over them. Roast for 40 minutes.
Drain and rinse the black chickpeas.
Put the drained rice in a saucepan with 600ml of water. Bring to the boil, covered and then turn the heat down to a simmer. It should take 30 – 35 minutes to cook and absorb all the water. Keep an eye on it as it gets near the end of the cooking time. Add salt to taste and turn off the heat. Leave to rest for 5 minutes in the covered pan.
When you are ready to serve, reheat the sauce and add the chickpeas. Cook for 5 minutes to thoroughly heat through. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Add a knob of butter (or coconut cream from a block if vegan) to give it a glossy shine.
To serve, put a mound of black rice on a plate with a few slices of squash leaning on it. Pile the chickpea curry in the front and garnish with the ginger, chilli, coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Now just see if you can spot that witch!