Friday, 28 January 2011

REQUEST: Sweet Potato & Chickpea Masala ala King

for my good friend Pat "Jah Pat" King who I trade cooking knowledge for record collecting/djing knowledge with. he is a badman behind the decks.     

-1 large sweet potato or 2 smaller ones - washed and cut into 1 inch chunks
-3 tbsp peanut/coconut/vegetable oil or ghee
-1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
-1 medium large onion - diced
-3 cloves garlic - mashed to a pulp or ground up
-2 red chillies - diced  
-1 cup of brewed black tea (preferrably assam)
-1 400g can of peeled whole tomatoes - (make sure there is no basil in there)
-1 400g can of chickpeas, drained
-1 tsp sea salt
-1/2 tsp ground turmeric powder
-1 1/2 tsp fresh ground coriander seed or 1 1/2 of store bought ground coriander
-1/2 tsp fresh ground cumin seed or 1 tsp store bought cumin powder
-4 green cardamom pods - slightly crushed enough to open pods (optional)
-1/2 tsp garam masala powder
-black pepper to taste
-fresh chopped coriander + raw onion slices to garnish

Put sweet potato chunks in a large, wide, pan (at least 2-3 inches deep) and add water just to cover. Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook until sweet potato is just barely tender (like you can put a fork into a chunk, but not all the way through it). Drain sweet potato and set aside.

Dry out the same pan and place over medium high heat. Add oil/ghee before pan gets to hot. Once oil is hot (you can test by dropping a single cumin seed in and seeing if it sizzles immediately) add in cumin seeds and stir for 15 seconds. Then add onion and chillies, lower heat to medium and fry, stirring frequently, until onion is transparent (about 8 minutes). Add in ground/crushed garlic and stir well. Fry for about 1 - 2 minutes being careful not to burn garlic. Pour in the black tea and tomatoes and using a wooden spoon break up the whole tomatoes into a nice chunky consistency. Add in chickpeas, turmeric powder, salt, ground cumin, cardamom pods (if using and I suggest you do),  and reserved sweet potato. Bring up to a slight boil, stir well and then lower heat to medium-low. Continue to cook uncovered for about 15 - 25 minutes.

Check doneness of chickpeas and sweet potato (should be very tender). If sauce is too watery continue to cook for a bit longer. If sauce is to thick, add a bit of water and stir well. Just before serving, remove pan from heat and add in garam masala and stir.

Serve with ample amounts of chopped fresh coriander and over basmati rice or with a nice fresh naan bread.

This is all from memory so let me know if something is missing! 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

I went back to my sunny hometown...

....of Atlanta and woke up one morning and me and my brother Ben decided to go grab some breakfast. We went for the traditional:

(Ben and I, feeling satisfied, then proceeded to the nearest gun club and blew holes into a paper target featuring an armed man of Middle Eastern decent that looked exactly like Osama Bin Laden. It was a first for me.) 

You know your driving into the southeast when you see a Chick-Fil-A logo on the interstate exit food info sign.
If you get there before 10:30 (or maybe they have a few left over by like 11am) you can start the morning right with a country time favorite THE CHICKEN BISCUIT. 


Living in fried chicken shop land (East London) I almost forgot how good and fresh these guys are. They do go a cut above most chains and seem to be using chicken of a decent quality in their sandwiches. 

Kerala Carrot Salad

(pictured with basmati rice) 
An easy and colourful salad perfect for rice and augmenting spicy dishes. 

Enough carrots to fill a bowl when shredded 
1/2 cup desiccated shredded coconut
2 tsp coconut oil (preferably extra vigin cold single press expensive kind)
-----try substituting mustard oil for coconut oil for a more pungent and sharp tasting salad
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
10 - 15 curry leaves
1/4 tsp asofetida powder
2 dried chillies, broken up (or leave whole for less heat) 
1 tbsp fresh ginger paste 
1/2 cup loose packed chopped cilantro/coriander 
salt to taste 

Fill your large salad bowl with the shredded carrot (be sure to leave enough room in the bowl to toss the salad around and mix everything together well). Add in the desiccated coconut and incorporate well. 

Place a small iron or non stick fry pan heat over medium high heat. When hot add in mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to pop add in curry leaves, asofetida powder and dried chillies. Stir for 15 seconds and then add in ginger paste. Fry for another 30 seconds and then pour over the carrot and coconut mixture. Quickly begin to stir the oil into the carrots and coconut. After a few good stirs add in the chopped cilantro and mix well. Salt to taste, garnish with a bit more of desiccated coconut and serve with basmati rice and other spicy dishes.