One of the reasons why meat free Monday is such a great idea is that cooking veg is usually much less time consuming than a similar meat dish would be (in fact for that reason I think I’d change it to meat-free mid week if it were up to me, but all you meat lovers out there can breath a sigh of relief- it isn’t). And right now we’re finally coming to the time of year now when nature is really on our side, when most of the veg just needs the briefest of cooking times or even just dressing, helping make our lives so much easier and stress free. And tastier. Take this family friendly curry for example. It’s jam packed full of some really healthy spices and is ready in just less than half an hour. Perfect for any mid week night when the time (and more probably inclination) just isn’t there for starting on dinner preps before lunch is even finished.
Now the star in this curry is your courgettes (zucchini) and even though they are not known for their super health giving properties they are still a fresh vegetable and will give you a high fibre, low calorie meal. Not only that but they’ll top up your vitamin C levels and help keep your potassium levels up. The key to having great tasting courgettes (as it is with so many veggies) is not to overcook them. Make your curry up to the last stage, and when your table is set, call the kids down and only then throw them in the pan. I find two minutes does the trick nicely; they will carry on cooking a bit as you serve and will have the perfect bite left to them when you sit down. If courgettes aren’t your thing, don’t panic; the recipe is adaptable. It’s the one I turn to when I fancy a curry and have one vegetable that I really want to focus on. With altered cooking times, you could try any veg but cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli or aubergine would all work wonders.
When it comes time to serve, you could of course go the usual route and serve this curry with rice. It would still be delicious, but it’s always good to ring the changes and me and my lot really love these chick pea flatbreads. They are packed full of protein, so are surprisingly filling and great for growing boys (always a plus in my house). They don’t take long to make although you will need gram (chick pea) flour to give you that lovely Indian flavour. If you can’t get hold of it, don’t stress. Feel free to mix it up a bit and try them with other flours. The nuttier the better. Remember they are gluten free anyway and as they don’t need to rise you could give teff or buck wheat a go, or if you’re not gluten free, spelt. Put cutlery on the table by all means, but rip these tasty little pancakes up as you eat them and use them to shovel your curry in. If nothing else the children will love it.
Courgette and Chick Pea Curry with Chick Pea Flatbreads Recipe
For the flatbreads:
300g gram flour
1/2 tsp salt
330 ml water
For the curry:
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 red chillies, finely diced
4 cms piece ginger, grated
4 curry leaves (if you can’t get them, skip them out)
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
4 tomatoes, diced
500 ml vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin of chick peas
Juice of one lemon
Start by making your flatbreads.
Mix the flour and salt together. Gradually pour in the water, whisking all the time. When you have a smooth batter, heat up your lightly greased frying pan.
Using a small ladle, spoon ladlefulls into the pan and cook as you would a pancake. Flip over and cook the other side then transfer to a plate over a pan of simmering water to keep warm. Don’t worry too much though about keeping them piping hot, room temperature is also fine.
Now you are ready to start on your curry.
Slice your onion thinly and start to soften it in a splash of rapeseed oil on a medium heat. Meanwhile grind all the spice seeds in a pestle and mortar.
After about ten minutes throw the ground spices into the pan with the crushed garlic, chilli, turmeric and grated ginger. Stir around for a minute or two until you start to smell the gorgeous curry smell.
Next add the tomato purée and cook that for a minute as well before you pour in the stock with the coconut milk, chick peas, curry leaves and the chopped tomatoes.
Bring it to the boil then let simmer for ten minutes or so to let the flavours come together.
When you are almost ready to serve, add the courgettes to the pan and carry on cooking for two minutes.
When you’re done, sprinkle over the freshly squeezed lemon juice and coriander. Serve with the flatbreads on the side.