7 minute “chicken” curry

Wait, what? Everyone knows you can’t make a good curry from scratch in 7 minutes, right? Actually, you can, if you know the shortcuts to use and *why* curries take hours to begin with. It’s the slow cooking of all those onions and tomatoes down to a thick sauce… So by using those pre-cooked crispy onion pieces you buy in tubs and passata, you get a similar enough sauce in a fraction of the time. Once you’ve added the spices and chicken substitute (we used quorn) you can hardly tell the difference from the much longer version (see one of our previous posts, sweet potato & spinach curry).

Use whichever spices you like, or if you want to get realy fancy, fry and grind your own… But then you may aswell make the curry the long way. This recipe is more about good, healthy, yummy and fast than authenticity, although it is far superior in that respect too to most other speedy options.

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Ingredients – serves 2
500g passata
1/3 tub good quality crispy onion pieces (nothing but onion, flour, salt and oil please – we used top taste)
500g chicken substitute of choice (we used quorn chicken style pieces)
1/3 tsp each turmeric, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, chilli flakes (or to taste)
2 tsp garam masala or curry powder
Salt to taste
Rice to serve

1. Put everything in a saucepan at once. Add a little water then bring to the boil
2. Cook for about 7 min or until the chicken pieces are done. Stir every so often and add a lil more water if required to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan
3.  Serve with rice or naan.
Enjoy!

Vegan kimchi

A spicy, salty fermented pickle that is the basis of many korean dishes. A couple of my past posts have used it so I thought it only right to post the recipe properly.  Adapted from maangchi’s easy kimchi recipe on her site.

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Ingredients – makes about 2 litres
3lb cabbage
1/3cup salt
2 cups pureed korean pear – aka  Asian pears, but I’ve also used ripe conference pears, about 2 largish ones (peeled & cored before blending with a lil water)
1/3 cup soy sauce plus some salt
2 cloves garlic (the original calls for wayy too much imo. Wayyy too much)
1tsp minced ginger
1 cup minced onion (1 large onion)
3 green onions
1 granny smith apple
2 medium carrots, peeled
1/2 cup hot pepper flakes, or if like us y can’t get a hold of that, 46g ancho chilli powder plus 1tsp hot paprika & 2 generous pinches chilli flakes

1. Cut the chinese leaf into small pieces and remove the stalk. Wash well 2/3 times and drain (pic 1)
2. Add the salt and toss well. Allow to sit for 30 mins then toss again, repeating this 3 times. The leaves will wilt, release water and shrink considerably in size (pic 2)
3. Wash and drain the chinese leaf well. Chop the green onions, carrot and apple into matchsticks and add (pic 3)
4. Put all remaining ingredients into a food processor with 1.5 cups of water and blend until smooth (pic 4)
5. Mix your paste into the veggies, then store in a plastic tub in the fridge until needed. You can eat it immediately or let it ferment a couple of days at room temp to get a bit more sour, before storing in the fridge.
Enjoy!

oat & banana flapjacks

This recipe was adapted from the Dietician UK website.

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Ingredients – makes one 9×13″ pan

400g rolled oats (I used 300g jumbo organic steel cut and 100g mornflake instant)
150g butter or spreadable butter, or margarine/ non-dairy alternative
2 tbsp honey or golden syrup
2 large, ripe bananas, mashed

1. Melt the honey or syrup and fat together in the microwave, in a large bowl.
2. Mix all the ingredients together
3. Spread into an oiled, parchment lined 9×13 ” pan and bake at 150 degrees C (fan). No need to preheat.
4. Half an hour later, or when the top is starting to turn golden, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing. Allow to cool fully then store in an airtight container.
Enjoy!

Incredible korean style crispy green pancakes – vegan, gluten free, low carb, paleo

You know when something tastes so good you can’t resist eating it while you cook, and when you finally get to the table you forget all about things like table manners and cutlery and start tearing bits off with your hands in excitement? This is one of those things. It took me a full 15 minutes of eating before I could muster enough sense to pick up the fork. I’m stuffed now but still find myself longingly staring at the uneaten half of my third helping. Oh yes. This is one to get the fat-pants out for.

Except, it isn’t… It’s almost all veggies, with gram flour, onions, vegan kimchi  (thank you miss Maangchi!) and seasonings – apart from the oil used to fry them in there aren’t that many calories in them at all, for the way they taste. It’s like an amazing, crispy, pakora-like pancake but a billion times better… No overabundance of powdery dough, just the sweet, cruncy green veggies coated in a light layer of delicious, crisp, spicy batter… If I don’t stop describing this thing soon I’ll cave in and finish my plate. Make this. Especially if you find – as we did – a beautiful bunch of beets with greens intact that it’d be a crime to waste. They’re like kale but softer, less grassy and more sweet tasting. Although I’m sure baby kale or de-veined regular kale would work just as well.

Adapted from Maangchi’s kale pancake and kimchi pancake recipe vids on YouTube.

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Here it is next to some stir-fried veggies… Yummm

Ingredients – serves 3-4
1 large bunch of beet greens with stalks, maybe 150g, chopped
1.5 pak choi, washed, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green onion (scallion), chopped
1 medium chilli pepper, de-seeded and chopped finely
1/4 tsp smoked Paprika
1/2 cup kimchi of choice (we used vegan homemade – to Maangchi’s easy recipe with soy sauce instead of fish sauce & pear instead of rice flour slurry)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp toasted Sesame oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp salt
About 3/4 cup water
Up to 1 cup gram flour, or as much as required to make a thin batter that coats everything.
Generous amount of oil to fry in (2tbsp per pancake)
Optional – toasted Sesame seeds as garnish

1. Put everything except frying oil and gram flour in a large bowl
2. Mix well then add half the gram flour, mixing and gradually adding more until a thin batter coats everything and there are a few tablespoons more of it at the bottom of the bowl
3. Heat your pan with 2tbsp oil on high, putting ladlefuls of the mixture into it when hot, then flattening them out to make a relatively thin pancake (thinner means crispier and tastier). Fry until crispy on the bottom (around 3 min) then flip using a spatula, or just using the pan if you want to show off. Cook the other side until that’s crispy too, a few more min.
4. Transfer to a plate then start the next pancake in the same way. Stack the pancakes to keep them warm as you cook. Try not to eat too many as you fry!
5. Serve immediately, topped with toasted Sesame seeds if you like.
Enjoy!

Vegetarian cheese buldak – vegan option

This was adapted from Maangchi’s recipe on YouTube for tradition korean cheese buldak – firey chicken topped with cheese. We made it twice in the last two days with our chosen chicken substitute and it is delicious! Spicy, flavoursome, savoury with a little hint of sweet, a little crunchy from the veggies, soft and juicy from the “chicken” and covered in cheese- what’s not to like? Sometimes fake meat recipe substitutions fail because the flavour is off, in this it was perfect because all the punchy pepper and strong flavour takes over and all you really need from the substitute is its texture.

I’ve made a couple of changes to her recipe – first I added some fresh (unfermented) kimchi because, hey, why not? (also made to her “easy kimchi” recipe but made vegan and lower carb by using soy sauce instead of fish sauce and pureed pear instead of rice flour slurry), and I didn’t have any korean hot pepper flakes or paste in the house so I substituted with a mix of hot and smoked Paprika, and a few crushed chili flakes and some other stuff, to mimic the smoky-hot-sweet flavour.  If you want to make this vegan just use a vegan cheese on top instead (she used mozzarella so something like that, we used feta because we had it in the house and my other half has a thing for it).

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Ingredients – serves 2 generously, 3 moderately

1 med/ large onion, diced
Sunflower oil to fry – 2tbsp
500g chicken substitute of choice – we used quorn chicken style pieces (nb ours contains egg)
1 cup vegetarian kimchi (you can leave this out if you want)
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp pomegranate molases (optional)
1 tsp each smoked & hot paprika
1/4 tsp crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder (more if you like garlic)
1/4 tsp ginger powder (or less to taste)
4 tbsp Sundried tomato paste
2 tbsp toasted (dark) sesame oil
4-6 tbsp crispy onion pieces, optional
400g cheese of choice to top – we used 200g feta because that’s all we had about

1. Fry the onion in a little oil in a large, heavy frying pan until starting to brown
2. Add the “chicken”, kimchi if using, and fry for a couple of minutes
3. Mix all the other ingredients apart from cheese into a paste, then add to the pan with about 1.5 cups water, stirring very well
4. Stir, cover and simmer for about 12 min or until “chicken” is done – don’t let it boil too dry and burn though. It should have a thick juicy sauce. In the meantime preheat the grill /broiler to high
5. Top with cheese and a little more water if the sauce is too dry (the grill will dry it more) – just a couple of tablespoons – then grill until cheese is toasty and soft. Serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Sweet potato & chickpea mash

With sliced green onion, veggie sausage and melted cheese on top. Yum, yum & yum!

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Ingredients – makes 1 bowl

120g steamed or roasted sweet potato, peeled, mashed
100g chickpeas, cooked, drained, mashed
Half a green onion (scallion), finely chopped
1 vegetarian sausage of choice, cooked, chopped
2 tsp mayo of choice (I used egg free homemade)
Salt & pepper to taste
20g grated cheddar to top

Put everything in a bowl apart from cheese
Mix well, then season
Add cheese then melt under the grill or in the microwave
Enjoy!

Deep filled Spinach & feta pie

This was inspired by the pie at Muffin Break. I’d never seen so much spinach packed into anything before, especially not anything this delicious!  Great to boost those iron & vitamin levels too 🙂

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Ingredients – makes one 10″ pie

250g pastry of choice (we used puff pastry – but use your favourite)
1kg spinach, frozen or fresh
2 medium onions
2 medium – large carrots
1 sweet pointed red pepper (ramiro)
150g crumbled feta cheese (up to 300g if you prefer)
3 egg whites or 2 small whole eggs
1/2 cup mature grated cheddar to top
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 level tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
3-5 tbsp olive oil to fry
3 tbsp dried or 5 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Place a large saucepan with the oil on a medium heat.
2. Peel & quarter onions then finely chop in food processor (don’t wash it yet, we still need it). Add to pan and fry until translucent.
3. Peel and cut carrots into chunks then process until finely chopped. Add to pan & fry 1-2 min.
4. De-seed pepper & food process until fine. Add to pan & fry for 2 mins. Tip filling into a large bowl. (now you can wash the food processor)
5. Fry spinach in the pan until wilted and the juices are starting to run out. You need to reduce the liquid so you can either squeeze it out carefully using ladles and spoons before placing in the filling bowl, or fry until the liquid dries up. Either way, spinach less water goes into the bowl.
6. stir in all of the other ingredients except the pastry and cheddar. This is your filling, hooray!
7. Line or grease (or both) a deep 10″ pan, I used a cake tin lined with foil, should have greased it too as it stuck a little. Roll out the pastry to cover the base & edges in a very thin layer.
8. Spoon filling into pastry, top with cheese then bake for around 1 hour, or until set in the centre & cheese is golden.
slice when cool for best results
Enjoy!