Aubergine and chickpea curry with herbed quinoa

It’s the start of the new year, and as always, my resolution is to cook more and eat more healthily. The key to both of these is easy cooking. None of my recipes take long to make, but some of them require a bit of planning and some a lot of chopping, so this year I’m really going to try and come up with recipes where you can throw a bunch of things in your fridge together in less than 30 minutes. This is one of those recipes. I didn’t plan it – I just had a whole lot of veggies in my fridge and some quinoa in my cupboard and I felt like a quick curry. This dish really couldn’t be simpler. If you’ve never made a curry before because you thought it was hard – try this.

Aubergine and chickpea curry with herbed quinoa
Aubergine and chickpea curry with herbed quinoa

Serves 4

  • 250 g courgettes, chopped
  • 2 medium aubergines, chopped into smallish pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1 tin of chopped, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 heaped tsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • A couple of dried curry leaves
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (if you want the curry spicy)
  • Handful fresh coriander
  • Handful of flaked almonds (optional)
  • Fresh mint and basil (optional)
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • Feta, to crumble on top (optional)

Make the quinoa according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, fry the onions (I use coconut oil for frying when making curries – it’s much better than olive oil) and when they’ve softened a bit, add the garlic. Fry for another minute or two and then add all the curry spices and leaves. Mix well and fry until fragrant. Add the aubergine and courgettes and cider vinegar and fry for another five minutes or so (you may want to add a bit more oil at this stage if it’s a bit dry). Pour in the tinned tomato and turn down the heat so it’s simmering. Stir occasionally and add the red pepper and chickpeas after about five minutes. After adding the tinned tomatoes, the curry needs to cook for around 10 – 12 minutes, or until thickened.

Once the quinoa has cooked, squeeze in half a lemon, season with black pepper and chop up some fresh basil and mint if you have it. It’s not essential to add the herbs, but I love herby quinoa and I think they make it a bit more interesting. You only really need a tablespoon or so of each herb. I also love adding almonds to the quinoa for some crunch – mix in a handful or two if you have them.

When the curry is ready, serve it on top of a helping of quinoa with fresh coriander on top. I like crumbling feta over the curry, even though it doesn’t traditionally go with curry. I don’t cook with salt, so I find feta adds a bit of a salty kick to the dish.

Moroccan butternut and chickpea soup

I dreamt up this soup on a miserable rainy day a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s the first thing I crave when the weather turns horrible. It’s a really filling, warming soup, spiked with Moroccan spices and chilli. It’s really good with salty feta crumbled on top and served with toasted, buttered rye bread.

moroccan soup

Serves 4

  • 1 kg of peeled, chopped butternut
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of harissa pasta
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed ginger
  • Half a cup of red split lentils, rinsed well
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 1 tin of chopped, peeled tomotoes
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped roughly
  • Tumeric
  • Cumin seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Chilli flakes
  • Fresh coriander leaves and some feta, to serve
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder

Fry the onion in a bit of oil until it starts to soften. Add the harissa paste, garlic, ginger and a sprinkle of tumeric, cinnamon and cumin seeds. Fry until the spices become fragrant. Add the carrots, butternut and the tin of tomatoes. Fill up the empty tin with water and add that too, along with the stock powder. Turn the heat up to high. Let the soup boil for about 10 minutes, and then add the lentils. Keep it on a high heat, and stir occasionally. Once the butternut starts getting mushy, squish it and stir into the soup. The soup is ready when the butternut has melted into the liquid. Add the chickpeas and a pinch of chilli flakes if you like. Serve the soup with crumbled feta and coriander leaves.

Potato and chickpea curry

I made this the other day when some friends came over for dinner. Curries are the best dishes to make when you have to feed a lot of people – just double or triple recipe quantities. It’s also a good idea to make a curry the night before if you’re having people over for dinner, as curries are always better when they’ve had a day or two to stew. This curry is delicious for leftovers – just re-heat and serve with fresh coriander.

I got this recipe from a new favourite cookbook – Quick and easy Asian vegetarian recipes.

potato and chickpea curry

Serves 6 heartily

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • 6 potatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes (or less, depending on taste)
  • 1 heaped tsp ground tumeric
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Juice of one lime or lemon
  • 2 tsp crushed ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes until cooked. Drain and set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil or ghee in a wok over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and bay leaves and stir-fry until aromatic. Add the onion and stir-fry on a low heat for 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, ground coriander, cumin, chilli, tumeric, salt, and garam masala and stir fry over a low heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, potatoes and the water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce becomes thicker.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lime or lemon juice, and the ginger. Serve with fresh coriander and chutney.

Moroccan-inspired chickpea stew

Serves 6

I first made this on a chilly, rainy night – it’s mushy, spicy and hearty – a perfect stew for cold weather.

Moroccan-inspired chickpea stew

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into rough chunks
  • 2 medium brinjals, chopped into rough chunks
  • 400g courgettes, chopped into large chunks
  • 800g tin (or 2x 400g tin) peeled chopped tomatoes
  • 3 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • 3 cups of hot vegetable stock
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 100g dried apricots
  • 4 T sultanas
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 heaped tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 400g couscous
  • vegetable stock
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • zest of ½ an orange
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • ½ cup plain fat free or low fat yoghurt

Fry onion in a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. After a couple of minutes, add the garlic. Fry for a minute or two, then add in the spices. Get those going for about 3 minutes, and then chuck in your veggies, tomatoes and stock. Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, and then put the lid on and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Meanwhile, soak the apricots in some hot water for 10 minutes and chop them into rough pieces. Make the yoghurt sauce: combine the yoghurt with a dash each of paprika, cumin seeds and a light sprinkling of chilli flakes. Squeeze in about two teaspoons of lemon juice and mix in a tablespoon of chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

After 20 minutes of simmering, take the lid off the pot. Check the stew for consistency – if it’s too watery, turn the heat up. After about 5 minutes, add the apricots, sultanas, lemon juice and zest, and another ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Add chilli flakes according to taste.

When you take the lid off, start making the couscous. Make the couscous according to the packet instructions, adding orange juice to the veg stock. When the couscous is ready, fluff it with a fork and add the orange zest and parsley.

Serve the stew on top of the couscous, with a dollop of yoghurt.