Winter has come, and although our winters are relatively mild, after the past few months we need ALL the warm comfort that we can get.
Winter in South Africa ranges from VERY cold (in places like Bloemfontein and Sutherland) to actually warm (almost anywhere in Kwazulu Natal). In Pretoria, where I live, our winters are mild and short with cold nights and temperate days. But still, the contrast between 36C days in summer and 19C days in winter is enough to make you long for something warm and comforting. Add to that the Covid crisis we all had to wither and you are in definite need of a warm hug in the form of a creamy curry.
This dish is inspired by a paneer curry I found in one of our popular food magazines. Because I didn’t have time to make my own paneer (because who buys paneer? Just kidding – if you buy it, no judgement here) and I had a few sad-looking butternuts, I changed it up a bit. I love me some salad, so on the photos, you might wonder where is the curry – it is under all that sambals. Just use your imagination for the rest, after all a creamy korma made with butternut and chickpeas will end up just looking like an orange blob without the accompaniments to add some colour.
Butternut and chickpea korma on cauli-rice
When mixing the spices, you are welcome to mix extra that you can then keep bottled in a dry, dark place for easy use next time. I take a short cut and soften the butternut in the microwave. You are welcome to either bake the whole squash in the oven until tender, or chop the raw squash and then fry the cubes until tender. For the chickpeas – when draining the canned chickpeas, keep the liquid that they were brined in. You call this aquafaba and it can be used as an egg alternative to make vegan meringues, pavlova and more.
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Butternut and chickpea korma
Esrida Brits | 11 May 2020
- prep time: 15 min
- cook time: 30 min
- total time: 45 min
Servings: Serves 2 to 3 with rice or flatbread
For the spice mix
- 5 ml granulated garlic
- 10 ml ground ginger or 5 ml dehydrated ginger flakes
- 10 ml ground turmeric
- 10 ml garam masala
- 10 ml ground coriander
- 10 ml ground cumin
- 5 ml ground chili
- 6 cardamom pods
- 60 ml coconut oil
For the curry
- 1 can coconut cream
- 1 medium butternut, cubed
- 45 ml coconut oil
- 1 can chickpeas, drained
- 100 g cashew nuts
- 125 ml full cream yogurt, for serving
- coriander leaves, for serving
- sambals (chopped tomato and red onion), for serving
- Rice or flatbread of choice, for serving
For the spice mix
- Make the spice mix by mixing the garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, cardamom pods and chili. If you enlarge the recipe, you can store this mix for next time. For use in this recipe, toast the spice mix in a hot pan, then add the coconut oil to form a paste. Add the coconut cream and seasoning, then set aside.
For the curry
- In a hot pan, place the coconut oil, then fry the butternut until soft and golden (to save time, soften the butternut in the microwave first, or roast in the oven. You can make extra, then freeze the left-overs for use as butternut mash, soup or to sweeten other dishes).
- Add the chickpeas and cashew nuts, allowing the nuts to colour slightly.
- Add the spiced coconut cream, bring up to a boil then remove from the heat.
- Serve dolloped with yogurt, with sambals and coriander and enough rice or flatbreads to mop up all the juices. Enjoy!
Another tip I can give? Make extra of this recipe, then freeze the extra portions for those lunches or dinners where you just do not have the time to come up with something fast and nutritious.
See you soon!