I seem to have had no time at all to enjoy cooking for the past few weeks, it has been a steady diet of ‘what can I make quickly?’ without the pleasure of actually enjoying the process. Yesterday was no less busy but, starved of inspiration and looking for something satisfying for a 5:2 diet day, I stumbled across this forgotten gem in one of my notebooks.
Please forgive me, but it was stunning. It had all the freshness and vibrancy of the best restaurant dishes, and I put that entirely down to fresh ingredients and the use of appropriate garnishes. I made up a fresh batch of Masala paste for this, and I also used a generous amount of chaat masala sprinkled over the top at the end. Links to my recipes for both are in the ingredients list, please try them, they turn a great dish into a magnificent one, and all for around 400 calories per serving (using rice as an accompaniment adds more)
RECIPE – Serves 3
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 fat garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 tbsp masala paste
2 tsp nigella seeds
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 400g tin of chick peas
2 roasted red peppers (good quality from a jar is fine), in bite-size pieces
200g piquante peppers (from a jar)
a small bunch of coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves picked
the zest and juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp chaat masala
Place the oil and garlic in a large, cold pan and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until the garlic has been gently fried to a light golden brown.
Add the masala paste and nigella seeds and cook out for a minute or two until deeply aromatic, then add the tomatoes, chick peas (including the water from the tin, it acts as a great thickener) and both kinds of peppers. Simmer for twenty minutes until the nigella seeds are soft. Add the chopped coriander stalks.
If you have the time, leave this to sit for a few hours while the flavours get to know each other. Otherwise, just before serving, finely grate the zest of half an lemon over the top, then drizzle the juice over the top. Evenly scatter the chaat masala over everything, then dress with the coriander leaves.
DO NOT STIR! Bring it to the table and lift up each spoonful from underneath to serve, by doing so you will preserve the intensity and integrity of each flavour. It makes a real difference.