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Cover: Some like it hot

Recipes with cumin

03Apr 12

Light Chicken Tandoori Fillets

Light Tandoori ChickenMany people hear rumours that Indian food is fattening, but it doesn’t have to be. Many Indian recipes are quite light, and, the ones that are not can be re-worked to be made so. Often I take traditional recipes and find ways to cut down on the fat and calories.

For example, there’s a very low-fat and low-calorie way to enjoy a traditional Chicken Tandoori dish. First of all, if you only use chicken breast, it is much lighter. Secondly, using low-fat yoghurt cuts down on plenty of calories. And finally, by cooking it in the oven rather than frying it, you avoid all the extra fat from oils.

In some ways this is similar to my Chicken Tikka Masala recipe which uses more sauce and is served with rice.

Ingredients:

  • 800g chicken breast, cut into thin fillets

For the marinade:

  • 250g plain, low-fat yoghurt
  • Lemon juice from 3 freshly-squeezed lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves, ground
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 5 ground cloves
  • 1 clove of cardamom
  • ½ tablespoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

Preparation Method:

  1. Mix the yoghurt and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  2. Mince the garlic. Put it in the mortar and add salt to make the garlic easier to grind. Mash thoroughly. Do not remove it from the mortar.
  3. Add the cumin and coriander to the mortar and grind. It should almost form a paste at this point.
  4. Add the clove of cardamom and the 5 cloves. Crush well.
  5. Put these ground ingredients into the bowl with the yoghurt and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Add the ginger, cayenne pepper and turmeric and stir well.
  7. Add a pinch of black pepper.
  8. Put the chicken fillets in a Tupperware or a small container and cover them completely with the marinade.
  9. Leave in the fridge for at least 8 hours (but no more than 14).
  10. Take out the chicken and discard the marinade.
  11. Place the chicken on an oven tray or gridiron. Cook it for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.
  12. I personally like using the grill option in my oven, as it creates the delightful texture of the slightly crispy black lines, caused by the gridiron. I highly recommend it!

Makes: 4 servings
Takes: 25 minutes for the marinade, 8 hours to marinate, and 20 minutes for cooking

Note: Check out my recipe for spicy tomato chutney as a possible dressing for the chicken. If you are looking for something sweeter, this goosegog chutney is also a fine choice.

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26Mar 12

Tangy Red Daal

Tangy Red DaalWhen I was younger, my friends would complain that their mums always cooked the same things. One schoolmate ate a roast sandwich for lunch every day. Another girlfriend of mine confided in me that in her house, each day had an assigned dish: Mondays were for fish and chips, Tuesdays were bangers and mash, etc.

 

In my family, we ate a lot of Daal, the Indian word for lentils, but I never complained! There are four different types of lentils, and each can be prepared in many ways with a variety of flavours. This was useful for my Mum who tried to vary our menu.

I like my Daal spicy, but I tend to tone it down a bit when cooking for friends. Out of the many lentil recipes that I enjoy, I want to share this Tangy Red Daal with you. It isn’t quite as soupy as this hearty lentil and herb soup, but it is nice served with a bit of rice. I call it tangy because it has a bit of a kick, but it doesn’t sting your tastebuds, as other recipes might.

Ingredients:

  • 200g red lentils
  • 10g ginger
  • 5g mustard seeds
  • 10g fresh coriander, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 onions
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 5g ground cumin
  • 5g cayenne pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 250ml water
  • salt and pepper
Preparation Method:
  1. Sort the red lentils on a white counter or table cloth to pick out any rocks or small pieces of dirt mixed in.
  2. When finished, rinse in cold water. Bring water to the boil and add lentils. Semi-cover and let cook for 35 minutes or so until the lentils are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the onions, jalapeño pepper, garlic, ginger, bell pepper and tomatoes.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, ginger and peppers. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is soft.
  5. Add the cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir.
  6. Add the tomatoes and keep stirring for another 6 minutes or so until the tomatoes are fairly well-cooked.
  7. Transfer the vegetables into a big pot and add just enough hot water to cover the contents of the pot. Let boil for 6 minutes and then add the cooked lentils, stirring well.
  8. Add salt and coriander to taste.
  9. Pour into a bowl and garnish with coriander. Serve warm.

Serves: 6

Time: 75 minutes

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26Mar 12

Spicy Chickpeas with Masala

Spicy chickpeas with masalaPulses are a regular part of my diet. I am especially fond of chickpeas; they are used for many different types of foods such as stews, curries or salads (try this Carrot and Chickpea Salad). They can also be mashed up to make hummus or falafel. In this Spicy Chickpeas with Masala recipe, I take this otherwise bland pulse, mix it with red pepper and spinach, and create a feisty plate for all Indian-food lovers to enjoy! Although it might be a tad spicy, serving it with rice provides a nice balance.

Chickpeas are very high in protein and fibre. However, they are much easier to digest than other pulses. I appreciate that fact, and I keep it in mind to avoid any embarrassing situations regarding my digestive system.

These tiny seeds are an important part of Indian industry as India is the top producer of chickpeas in the world. Did you know there are actually two types of chickpeas? The common English variety is actually called kabuli. It is lighter and larger than the Indian chickpea, desi. The native desi is smaller, darker, and a bit healthier than the Kabuli. Regardless, either one will work perfectly in my spicy chickpea recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of cooked chickpeas, about 800 grams.
  • 200g fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small tomato, diced into cubes
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5g fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preparation Method:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat up a few teaspoons of olive oil.
  2. When hot, sauté the onion, pepper, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and soft.
  3. Clean the chickpeas by rinsing them in a colander and draining. Pick out any empty shells.
  4. Add the chickpeas to the frying pan, then the vegetables, and mix well.
  5. Add all the spices and the tomato to the mix, stirring well.
  6. Next place just enough hot water in the pan so as to cover the vegetables. This is to create a sauce-like texture when finished.
  7. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Reduce heat and add spinach. Cover again and allow the spinach to simmer for 2 more minutes with the rest of the vegetables.
  9. Take off the stove and serve on top of rice.

Makes: 4 servings
Takes: 45 minutes

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