Friday, 22 July 2016

King Prawn and chickpea curry

Curry is one of the UK's absolute favourite meals and, especially in Glasgow where there are curry houses galore, curry is heralded as the takeaway treat. Chief amongst the curries is Tikka Masala, claimed to have been derived in none other than sunny Glasgow, and yet that's where our love affair with curries seems to slightly come undone.

Authenticity with our curries seems to deviate wildly from our Tikka Masalas to Chinese chicken curry awfulness straight from the packet. I'd be hard pressed to tell you how many people make their own but I suspect that with the plethora of takeaways available it's far easier to get on Just Eat and order in that put the care and time into making your own.

Don't mistake me for being a hater of the takeaway or curry house, far from it. I've had phenomenal curries eating out but the truly best thing about making your own is being able to tailor it to your tastes and adding whatever it is that suits you at that particular time. Curries are some of the most versatile meals you can make and the various global influences at play in making them (India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia) only add to the options available to contribute to your experience.

I ask all of you to not be afraid in giving it a go. Get yourself a blender or even a smoothie maker (just clean it well afterwards, nobody wants savoury smelling and tasting smoothies!) and get to work. Give yourself a shopping list of the foundations of a curry: onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and think about how you like it. Do you like it mild? Then get yourself some cream, cocounut milk or ground almonds to help you along. Do you like it fresher and a bit more lively? Get the coriander, tomatoes or fruity chillis in the mix. Do you just like it super hot? Well that one is easy, ramp up that chilli input.

Regardless of what you want out of your curry there's plenty of options available to you. Think colours, aromas, texture and taste and let your better greengrocery intuitions follow. All I ask is that you give it a go and experiment with what suits you.

When you're done get eating and get snapping as the main reason this blog exists is to get you guys involved in cooking your own meals.

Now, as for my curry it was very much on the mild side and featured more sweet and sharp flavours to suit the tastes of this household. It was served up with broth loving ramen, salt and pepper prawns and toasted and crispy chickpeas.

Curry  Sauce

2 thumb sized pieces of (this is standard measurement for) ginger 
5 garlic cloves
1/2 red onion
1 fresh chilli (deseed and de-membrane if you like or keep for extra heat)
1sp tamarind
1tsp paprika
2tsp fish sauce
1tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2tsp garam masala
1tsp turmeric
1tbsp tahini
2tbsp tomato sauce (yes, ketchup!)
3tbsp soy sauce
1bsp rice wine vinegar
Juice of whole lime
200 ml chicken stock
200 ml coconut milk
50g ground almonds

For the rest of the curry

4 chesnut mushrooms (thinly sliced)
1/2 whole red pepper (diced)
25g sesame seeds
200g prawns
200g chickpeas (drained)
2 stems of ramen noodles (or any other noodles you fancy)
1/2tsp cumin powder
Oil of your choice for cooking


Add your ginger, garlic, onion and chilli to a blender or smoothie maker (if it's a smoothie maker add a little water to loosen it up) and blitz until it forms an aromatic paste.

Add your coconut oil to a large heavy duty pan or wok and melt with a medium to high heat and add in your paste. Once the oil has dissolved from solid to oil let this cook out, stirring frequently, for around 5 minutes and then add all your remaining ingredients as above, less your stock, milk and almonds, and cook on a medium heat for a further five minutes, continuing to stir.

Once cooked through and darkened add your stock, milk, almonds and mushrooms and cook on a medium to low heat for a further 15-20 minutes, remembering to stir through to ensure nothing sticks to your pan.

In leaving your sauce to simmer this gives you time to cook your chickpeas, noodles and prawns to complete your meal. Leave this to around 5 minutes before you are ready to serve up your curry.

Firstly, drop your noodles into boiling water 5 minutes until al dente, or soggy if you really really must. Whilst they are cooking get two pans ready both lightly oiled and set to a medium to high heat ready for your prawns and chickpeas. To cook your chickpeas add to the pan and sprinkle with salt and cumin, ensuring you do not shake too often to allow the chickpeas to char, adding flavour.

To complete your meal, in a separate pan, cook your prawns at the same time as your chickpeas by adding to the pan once it is very hot and generously season with salt and pepper, ensuring to toss regularly to get a nice even coating of seasoning and cooking. The prawns are ready when they curl, turn pink and go tender. Both your chickpeas and prawns will require around 5 minutes each.

To serve add the peppers and sesame seeds to your curry and your noodles to your curry sauce. Toss it all together and out onto your bowls topping with your sumptuous prawns and charred chickpeas. For extra freshness and kick you can dress with the juice of half a lime, chopped chilli and coriander.

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