Thursday, 8 April 2021

SWEET POTATO & LENTIL CURRY WITH CRISPY SESAME CHICKPEAS


This sweet potato curry is literally comfort in a bowl and pretty healthy and nutrient packed at the same time!

I love the fragrant broth in which the sweet potatoes and lentils cook, made from a mix of coconut milk, peanut butter and red Thai curry paste. 

Then there are the crispy chickpeas, pan fried with soy sauce and sesame seeds, which offer the most amazing finishing touch to a dish that is rustled up in less than 30 minutes but taste better than any takeaway curry, plus you know what goes in it! 

And to make it even more of a crowd please if you leave out the fish sauce and this is also totally vegan friendly.

The perfect supper dish now that we are back to winter temperatures for the time being!

Serves 2 generously 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce (or extra soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 rounded tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander, chopped plus more for serving
  • cooked rice for serving
  • pomegranate seeds for serving 

CHICKPEAS
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


METHOD

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. 
  • When the oil shimmers, add the shallots and cook 3 minutes until soft. 
  • Add the ginger and sweet potatoes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 
  • Stir in the curry paste and cook another minute. 
  • Add the 3 cups broth, lentils, fish sauce, soy sauce, and peanut butter. 
  • Bring the mix to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. 
  • Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are soft and the sweet potatoes tender. 
  • Meanwhile, make the chickpeas. 
  • Heat a large, high frying pan over medium heat. 
  • Add the 2 tablespoons oil and the chickpeas. 
  • Cook, stirring occasionally until the chickpeas are crisped all over, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the soy sauce and sesame seeds, tossing to combine. 
  • Cook 1 minute, remove from the heat.
  • When the lentils are cooked, stir in the coconut milk, spinach, and lime juice, cook 5 minutes. 
  • Remove from the heat and add the coriander. 
  • To serve, divide the rice among bowls and ladle the curry overtop. 
  • Top with chickpeas, coriander, and pomegranate seeds. 
  • Enjoy!

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

PAN FRIED HOMEMADE VEGGIE BAO BUNS

 

These little vegan, veggie packed bao buns are super fun to make and look rather impressive. Even better they taste like the real deal, packed full of fresh flavours and with buns that have a lovely pillow like texture!

Don't be intimidated by the cooking steps and dough assembly involved, they don't have to end up looking perfect to taste insanely good and I loved learning how to achieve a proper Chinese bun like texture by both pan frying and steaming the buns!

A perfect weekend project while we await for the outdoor hospitality to reopen next week in the UK!


INGREDIENTS

Dough
  • ⅔ cup warm water approx. 95°F (35°C)
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar optional
  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour + more for dusting

Veggie Filling
  • 1-2 tbsp sesame oil ⁣ for frying
  • 1 stick leek finely chopped
  • 7 oz white cabbage shredded
  • 1 large carrot shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 7 oz smoked tofu finely chopped (or sub mushrooms, *see notes)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp sriracha

For frying & steaming
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup water

To serve
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

Dipping Sauce
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp  honey
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp sriracha or sambal oelekoptional

METHOD

Making the dough
  • Mix the yeast with the water and sugar in a small bowl and set aside for around 5 minutes.
  • Whisk together the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. 
  • Pour in the water with yeast slowly and stir with a chopstick (or wooden spoon) until it clumps together. Transfer to a work surface and knead with your hands (or use a mixer with dough hooks) until a smooth and soft dough forms, about 5 minutes.
  • Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rest for about 45 minutes, or until the ball has doubled in size.

Preparing the filling
  • Heat the oil in a pan and finely chopped mushrooms. 
  • Add the leek, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender.
  • Then add the soy sauce, salt and sriracha to taste. 
  • Mix well and set aside to cool.

Assembling the buns
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, and knead it briefly to remove all air bubbles.
  • Then roll it into a long log and cut into 10 pieces (or more for smaller buns). 
  • Work with one piece at a time and cover the rest with a clean kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out.
  • Flatten one piece of dough with your palm and roll it into a round wrapper with thinner edges, about 4.7-inch (12 cm) in diameter.
  • Add about 2-3 tablespoons of filling to the center, then fold the bun up and around the filling, making sure to seal the top. 
  • Repeat until all the buns are assembled.

Cooking the buns
  • Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. 
  • Place the buns in the pan with the pinched-side up (make sure to not overcrowd the pan!), 
  • and cook for about 2-3 minutes. 
  • Once the bottoms are golden-brown and crispy, flip them over and carefully, pour in ¼ cup of water to create steam. 
  • Immediately cover the pan, reduce to low heat and allow buns to steam for about 10 minutes, or until the water has evaporated.
  • Remove from pan, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the dipping sauce as desired. Enjoy!