Saturday, October 24, 2009

Easy Coconut Milk & Chick Pea Curry

So picture this scenario: you're close to broke and constantly scrounging your cabinets for something that isn't totally boring for dinner. Rice...beans....random spices....ugh, what a bore. You're so sick of the same thing for dinner every night. Wait, did I say "you"? I was actually talking about myself...

Deciding to get creative with canned vegetables is a good idea if you're extremely busy, like Laura and myself. My favorite item to use is canned garbanzo beans, aka chick peas. They are really cheap (even if you buy the organic kind), nutritious and so versatile. Like any bean, these suckers are packed full of protein!

So in an effort to satisfy my (rather constant) craving for Indian food but also having a rather small budget when it comes to eating out (oh graduate school loans, I love you so much...), I obviously consulted one of my cookbooks. This time, I went to Beth Bee's Rabbit Food Cook Book and got inspired by her recipes for curry tofu & peas and chana masala. However, because I didn't have all the ingredients for either one (even substitutions...ugh!), I decided to use what I had to work with to create something of my own!

Chick Pea & Brown Rice Curry with Coconut Milk, Raisins, and Cashews

What you will need (as usual, amounts are totally variable depending on what you like):
-brown rice (totally up to you, homeslice)
-1 can of garbanzo beans/chick peas
-1 can of coconut milk (you won't use the whole can)
-a ton of curry powder
-sea salt (regular iodized salt works too)
-raisins (optional)
-cashews (optional)
-cinnamon (optional)
-cloves (optional)
-chili powder (optional - if you are crazy into spices I bet this would be awesomeeee)

Start your brown rice first. It takes about 30 minutes give/take to cook so that's how long this dish will take to make. Hey, I didn't say it was fast, did i?

While that's cookin' away, get out a pan (non stick is best but whatever is fine). I guess you could use a pot, too, if you plan on using a lot of coconut milk. Put about a tablespoon of olive oil (less if you'd like, but you do need some oil) in the pan and put in allllll the spices you want so that they get hot with the oil. Turn the heat onto medium. DON'T FORGET THIS PART; it makes your dish amazingly more flavorful if you heat the spices with the oil. Oh yeah but leave the salt that for the end.

Once the oil/spices are hot n' making your house smell great, you can add the can of beans. Drain it first and then dump the whole thang in with the spicey oil. Using a wooden spoon or something equivalent to that, mix up the beans in the spices so they are coated nicely and start to look that awesome curried-yellow. Adjust the heat so that you won't burn the spices in the oil, and add more spices if you think you didn't add enough in the first place. .

Stir and stuff on and off for like five minutes or whatever, and then add as much coconut milk as you think you'll want. If you want just a little coconut milk flavor/creaminess, just add a little. If you want your mixture to basically be a sauce with delicious beans, add a lot more. Its totally up to you, but make sure to adjust your spices to be relative to how much coconut milk you put in. (Also, it's worth noting that you don't *have* to use coconut milk. I've made this recipe without it and it's just as tasty! )

Along with the coconut milk, add your raisins and cashews. If you want, that is. Neither of these things are essential for the basic recipe but are SO GOOD if you have them lying around. Another good substitute if you aren't feeling the sweetness of raisins is to use a red onion instead. Very nice savory flavor without the sugar of the raisins.

When you've got all you want added, turn it down to low and let it simmmaaaah. Put the lid on and sit back until your rice is done cooking. And once your rice is done, you know what that means.....

Chow time.

Plate it up and eat!

I can't believe I hated beans when I was younger. Especially with so many great recipes floating around!!! What was I thinking?I hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as I do :)


(Oh yeah and on that note, sorry about the lack of updates, the last month has been absolutely crazy for both of us. Apologies. Also, we are both students (Laura is finishing her undergraduate degree and I am in the throes of grad school midterms) and have not been as active as we'd like to be on this blog. Don't doubt us though, we've been cooking up a storm! In the future I promise a post about the sustainability group I am now a representative of, and also some recipes including the best chocolate chip cookies and granola. So get ready!)

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