curry

Slow Cooker Chickpea and Pumpkin Curry

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We love slow cooker curry in our house and easily eat one every week. I love being able to chuck something on first thing in the morning and know that all I need to do for dinner that night is cook some rice (I often do that in advance and freeze it too, saving even more time!).

This slow cooker chickpea and pumpkin curry is slightly sweet, creamy and very mild and a huge hit with my kids, especially my 2.5 year old who will ask for curry for days after we've had this one. Chickpeas are a fantastic source of fibre and magnesium, two nutrients most of us need extra of! The spices are great for settling tummies and reducing inflammation and the veggies are generally the cheapest you can get, making this a very cheap (and nutritious!) family meal.

It freezes well (minus the potatoes) and tastes even better when kept in the fridge for a few days before eating. I hope you enjoy my favourite slow cooker curry! x

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Serves 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 mins in a hurry; 6 hours slow cooked

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped (OPTIONAL but delicious)
  • 1 medium potato, washed and cubed
  • roughly two cups butternut pumpkin, cubed
  • 1 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 1 tin diced tomato (salt reduced)
  • 1 tin coconut cream
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (or 300 g pre-soaked and cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • few cracks of pepper to taste
  • 1 ½-2 tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp stock paste
  • couple handfuls of chopped greens like kale or silverbeet
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METHOD

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Sauté on a medium heat until the onion is translucent (approx. 5 minutes). This step intensifies the flavour, but can be totally skipped if your in a hurry.
  2. Set up your slow cooker*. Chuck in the cooked onion mix, and the rest of the ingredients, and combine well.
  3. Cook for 6 hours on low heat (stir occasionally to prevent the sides drying out). Chuck in the chopped greens in the last 10 minutes or so and mix through. Serve with cooked brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice. A dollop of natural yogurt goes very well with this too!

*If you don’t have a slow cooker, this can easily be slowed cooked in the oven at 180 degrees for 1 ½-2 hours, just chuck it in a casserole dish or dutch oven (you will need to stir occasionally). It can also make a pretty quick meal by cooking on the stove top in a large pot. Follow step one, then add the veggies and sauté for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. It’ll be tasty but the flavours won’t be as rich.

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Homemade Mild Curry Powder

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Homemade curry powder is such a cheap and simple thing to make, I don't know why people don't make their own more! Store bought curry powder often has colours, additives and preservatives, so making your own enables you to know exactly what you are putting in your cooking.

I don't generally insist that people choose organic produce when cooking, but when it comes to herbs and spices there really is a huge difference! Spices will last up to 12 months when stored in an airtight container, so despite being a bit more expensive, you will still get bang for your buck. And did you read the Choice review that talked about the actual percentage of oregano that was in common/popular brands of herbs? Make sure you buy reputable brands such as Gourmet Organic Herbs or by bulk herbs online from Honest to Goodness or shops like Terra Madre (if you live in Melbourne).

This curry powder will make enough for 5-8 curries (depending on how strong you like your curry) and will last approximately 12 months in an airtight container.

In a bowl, combine:

  • 4 tsp cumin ground cumin

  • 4 tsp ground coriander

  • 3 tsp turmeric powder

  • 2 tsp mustard powder

  • 1 tsp cardamom powder

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

 

Place in an airtight container and store away from heat and direct sunlight.

Chana Dal - Yellow Split Pea Curry

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At Westside Wellness we could live on curry forever!! Chana dal is a nutrient dense, fast, easy and budget-savvy meal. I cook it at least once a fortnight. The kids love it and it has mild and simple favours as far as curry goes. You can always swap the frozen peas for a handful of fresh spinach leaves to brighten the meal up. 

Chana dal is made with split yellow peas - these legumes are packed full of fibre, carbohydrate, protein (including tryptophan, the precursor to our happy hormone - serotonin) and other minerals and vitamins. Yellow split peas contain both soluble and insoluble fibre which helps to keep your bowels regular, balance your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. And best of all - they are really filling! A cup of organic yellow split peas costs only $3 - so it's also an easy way to fill the family up when you are shopping on a budget!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs extra virgin coconut oil
  • 500gm desiree or nicola potato, washed and chopped into large bite-sized chunks
  • 1 cup of yellow split peas, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 chunk of fresh ginger, grated (about the size of your thumb)
  • 1 tbs garam masala
  • 1 heaped tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 x 400g can of tinned tomato (or 4 medium sized diced fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • 1 tbs stock paste (or stock powder)
  • 400mL water (or swap the stock past and water for bone broth).
  • 1 x 400mL can of full fat coconut cream (alternatively you can make your own)
  • 1 x cup of frozen peas 
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Half a bunch of coriander, chopped

Method

  1. Wash the yellow split peas and leave to soak for as long as you can (up to 12 hours)
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a large pot on medium heat until shimmering, then add the onion.
  3. Once the onions start to soften (about 4 minutes) add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, fenugreek and cumin powder. 
  4. Allow the spices to coat to the onions and the garlic and ginger to cook gently.
  5. Strain the yellow split peas and add them along with the potatoes to the onion mixture.
  6. Once the potatoes and peas are all coated in the spices then add the tomato paste, chopped/tinned tomatoes, stock paste/powder and water.
  7. After bringing the pot to the boil, add the coconut cream and quickly turn to the lowest heat.
  8. Simmer for 35 minutes, stirring the pot regularly to prevent the peas and potatoes from sticking to the pot.
  9. Add the peas and cook for another 8 minutes.
  10. Serve with chopped coriander and fresh lime juice. You can serve with cooked brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice to stretch the meal further.
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Serves 6

 

Red Lentil & Veggie Curry

Another favourite of Renee's, this red lentil curry is flavoursome without being too 'spicy' for little ones but also tasty for grown ups. The cooking time helps to break down the veggies (hello hidden veggies!), meaning suspicious kids won't know any better and you will feel good knowing the whole family has eaten a veggie loaded meal.

This curry is great made a couple of days in advance, which allows the flavours to grow, and it freezes and defrosts well. A great one to prep on the weekends for a quick reheat through the week!

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Serves 4-6
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs toasted sesame oil (you can use olive or coconut oil too)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 inch piece each of fresh ginger and turmeric, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, cut into 1 cm cubes

  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1 cm cubes

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1 cm cubes

  • 2 tsp mustard seeds

  • 1 cup split red lentils

  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds

  • 3 tsp ground coriander

  • 2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/2 tsp salt + pepper to taste

  • 4 cups water (tap or filtered, just not hot)

  • 2 handfuls of finely chopped leafy greens (spinach, silverbeet, kale etc)

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METHOD

  1. Slice the eggplant, sprinkle salt on each slice and leave aside for 5-10 minutes (this helps to remove any bitterness). Then chop into 1 cm cubes.
  2. In a large pot, add the sesame oil and heat over a medium flame. Add the onion and mustard seeds and sauté until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, turmeric and ginger and sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Add all the veggies and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring to combine everything well.
  5. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, water and add all of the spices, lentils and salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Drop to a medium flame, place a lid on the pot (3/4 on to allow some air to escape) and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the chopped leafy greens and stir through. Serve with cooked rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice or toasted flat bread.

 

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