30 Minute Curry

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Published: 29th June 2012
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Ever had guests phoning up and inviting themselves over for a visit?? This is not a dilemma for hosts that believe offering their guests a cup of tea and a biscuit will suffice, oh no!
Most hospitable Asian hosts will tell you that if visitors are going to, primarily close to a meal time, be it lunch or dinner, it would be unacceptable and completely rude not to offer meals, even if they turn it down. The offer should be there and the guests should really feel welcome. Within minutes, you will be chatting, dining and that feeling of panic you had an hour ago will be a distant memory.

There are two dishes which have been actual lifesavers for me. The beauty of these dishes is that it does not involve thawing any meat, which is a real annoyance specially when it entails repetitive frantic kettle boiling to defrost that chicken!

The other great element of the lifesaver dishes below is that they do not involve chopping masses of onions or vegetables. The secret here is using accessible store cupboard / freezer ingredients. So what are these dishes, you may well be asking?

Chickpeas and fish (not together!)

I often have at least a couple of boiled chickpea tins (black or white, does not matter) in my store cupboard. I also aways try and have some frozen white fish fillets such as cod, haddock or coley in the freezer. These are economical and can be purchased frozen from virtually all high street supermarkets.

So let the curry in a hurry process begin:

1) Very first, take out the fish from the packaging and let it sit in warm water until it is completely thawed. This normally takes less than 30 mins.

2) Drain 2 tins of chickpeas in a colander / large sieve.

3) Heat a small amount of olive oil in a medium saucepan (that has a lid) and add a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a small pinch of coarse black pepper and 2 crushed garlic gloves and stir fry for 30 secs.

4) Add the other spices, 1 tsp ground coriander, one teaspoon ground cumin, 1/two teaspoon salt, one/two teaspoon turmeric, one/2 teaspoon red chilli powder and stir fry for 20 seconds ahead of including a splash of water from the kettle to protect against the spices sticking to the pan.

5) Add half a tin of chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes on a high heat stirring at all times. If the sauce appears to thicken, add half a cup of water and decrease the heat.

6) Add the drained chickpeas and leave on simmer, while you peel and chop a medium sized potato.

7) Add the potato and let the chickpeas and potato simmer for ten minutes or until the potatoes have softened.

8) At this point, the fish will have thawed and separated into the fillets

9) Drain the fish and place on a large flat plate.

10) Use your fingers to evenly sprinkle these mixture above the fish: 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, 1 tablespoon tandoori masala, 1 tbsp coriander cumin powder. There is no need to sprinkle on the other side as when the fish cooks, the spices will even out in the sauce.

11) In a big shallow frying pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and add a teaspoon of mustard seeds. As soon as they start to pop, add a crushed glove of garlic and stir fry for 20 seconds.

12) Add the remainder of the chopped tomatoes and cook on a medium heat for two minutes and then add the fish fillets spiced side facing down and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.

13) Check the chickpeas and potatoes, they should really be cooked by now, and switch of the heat for the chickpeas.

14) Return to the fish and cook the other side for five minutes on a medium heat.

15) Transfer the two dishes to serving dishes and garnish the chickpeas with a sprinkle of garam masala or chat masala and fresh chopped coriander and garnish the fish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and chopped coriander / spring onions.
Serve fish with plain boiled pilau rice and chickpeas with some tamarind sauce if required.

Your visitors will be impressed and you will be pleased as punch (or lassi!) for not slaving away in a kitchen for hrs!

For more low fat recipes for dinner tonight, visit www.healthyindianrecipes.co.uk. Here you will not only find healthy Indian recipes but also simple cooking recipes that will make your mouth water without slaving over a hot stove for more than 30 minutes!

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