New Year store-cupboard supper: Aubergine and broad bean curry

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas break and are feeling rested for the new year ahead.

As is only to be expected over Christmas, I’ve been eating a lot of indulgent food and having a few too many large helpings of Bailey’s on ice. I had a break from cooking while visiting family, but am excited to share more recipes with you in 2016.

As I’m sure it has for many people, my January has got off to a frugal start, especially as I’m saving to get married this year. I’m attempting to take packed lunch into work every day this month and trying to resist the temptation of eating out (though I’m doubtful on that front).

This evening I conjured up this store-cupboard supper of aubergine and broad bean curry, which I used with leftover ingredients in the fridge and cupboards. I’m really pleasantly surprised by the end result; it was delicious!  

This is a low-fat vegan curry, using lighter coconut milk. The sweetness of the coconut milk is balanced out by earthy tomatoes, forming a rich, moreish sauce. The texture of the soft aubergine slices are contrasted nicely with the firm broad beans.

I just happened to have a can of broad beans hanging around, but you could easily add an alternative pulse like butter beans, or perhaps some green beans, to retain the lovely green colour.

Serve this with brown rice and a dollop of mango chutney if you fancy and you’re in for a tasty yet healthy meal. And, it’ll be on the table within 45 minutes, so it’s achievable for a weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 small red onions, or 1 large one
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1.5 tbsp Balti paste, or an alternative medium curry paste
  • 350g chopped tomatoes
  • 250g lighter coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 can broad beans or 195g frozen or fresh broad beans

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
Serves 3

Method

  1. Peel and chop each onion in half, then finely slice and dice them.
  2. Pour the oil into a wok or large frying pan and put on a medium heat.
  3. While the oil is heating through, chop off the ends of the aubergine and slice in half longways. Slice each half into fairly thin half moon pieces, around 3cm, so they’re thick enough to soak up the lovely spices, but not so thick that they’ll take a lifetime to soften.
  4. Add the onion and aubergine to the pan and cook for around 10 minutes, or until the aubergine pieces begin to turn translucent. Stir frequently.
  5. Meanwhile, put some water on to boil in a saucepan, ready to add your brown rice. I use two mugs of water to one mug of rice for two portions.
  6. When the aubergine looks translucent, stir in the garlic cloves and balti paste. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk and 100ml of water and bring to the boil, stirring everything in together.
  7. Add the ginger and coriander and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. When the water for the rice is boiling, pour in the rice, stir well and simmer for 25 minutes.
  9. When the curry has been simmering for 15 minutes, tip in the broad beans and mix in with the curry. Continue simmering for a further 10 minutes.
  10. When the curry sauce has reached a deep red colour and has thickened up, take the pan off the heat and season well. Serve alongside the brown rice.

This recipe was inspired by Nigel Slater’s aubergine curry (Guardian website).

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Pumpkin, pepper and pearl barley stew

This seasonal stew is the perfect meal as Halloween and Bonfire Night approach. Pumpkin, pepper and sweetcorn bring a satisfying sweetness to the dish while the spices contribute a rich depth of flavour.

It’s packed with an array of colourful veggies and nutritious pearl barley grains so it’s really good for you. It’ll be on the table in 40 minutes and will please your vegan friends.

This comforting stew is sure to delight your tastebuds and leave you feeling nicely full.

 

Ingredients

  • 275g pumpkin, chopped into small cubes
  • 60g frozen sweetcorn (or you could use tinned)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 60g pearl barley, rinsed under cold water
  • 100g cabbage (I used sweetheart), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 200g chopped tomatoes
  • Fresh coriander to serve (optional)

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 2

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, pepper and garlic and cook for five minutes.
  2. Add the spices and pumpkin and mix together well. Cook for a further five minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the tomatoes, cabbage and stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and pour in the pearl barley and sweetcorn. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the pearl barley has cooked through with a little bit of bite left.
  5. Season well and serve in large pasta bowls with a coriander garnish on top.

This recipe was inspired by Leon Fast Vegetarian’s squash, corn and bean stew.

Tofu and vegetable chilli udon

This rich, fiery Asian inspired vegan noodle dish is packed full of wonderful spices and flavours. Thick, smooth udon noodles make for a hearty, filling base, the green pepper adds a nice crunch and vibrant colour, the portobello mushrooms bring an earthy, silky texture and the fried tofu soaks up the delicious spicy coconut broth really well.

This dish is reminiscent of many of the flavours you’d expect at a restaurant like Wagamama, with the coconut and chilli and unusual noodles. It’s pretty quick and easy to make, so whip this up and you’ll be sure to impress your friends!

Tofu and vegetable chilli udon

Ingredients

  • 150g tofu (I used Cauldron original)
  • 200g low-fat coconut milk
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • lime juice
  • 6 baby portobello mushrooms (what I had in the fridge – you can use a different type)
  • 1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 300g quick cook udon noodles

For the curry paste

  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 2

Method

  1. Place the tofu on a large plate and balance a chopping board and heavy pan on top of it (or something else heavy that is likely to balance). Leave it for 15 minutes or so, to drain out the water.
  2. Meanwhile, make your curry paste. Place all of the curry paste ingredients – except for the sesame oil – into a deep-edged bowl and blend with a hand blender until it’s as smooth as you can get it. Add the sesame oil and then give it another go with the hand blender to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Stir it with a spoon to make sure you’re happy with the consistency; it should thick and a few little lumps are fine.
  3. To make your broth, place a large frying pan on to a medium heat. Add the curry paste and fry gently for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a further five minutes.
  5. While that’s simmering, cut your tofu into cubes, around 3-4cm.
  6. Using another frying pan or wok, add the sunflower oil and put it on a relatively high heat.
  7. Add the tofu and fry it until it’s golden brown, for around 7-10 minutes, turning it frequently.
  8. After 3 minutes, add the pepper and mushrooms and to the tofu pan and continue to turn them frequently with a fish slice or wooden spoon.
  9. Return to your pan of simmering broth and stir in the noodles.
  10. When the tofu has browned up and the pepper has softened, pour all of these ingredients into the pan of broth. Mix together well.
  11. Add the lime juice and cook on a low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Serve in large bowls with a slice of lime on the side and eat with chopsticks.

This dish is inspired by Simon Rimmer’s Malaysian-spiced noodles.