Tag Archives: spices

Chickpea, spinach and onion curry (Vegetarian, but don’t tell anyone.)

10 Apr
Curry sunbathing

Curry sunbathing

I really like this recipe. It’s very easy. Secondly for those of us who like to pretend to be healthy every once in a while, this isn’t the wort recipe in that regard, it’s actually pretty good. And if it isn’t please don’t shatter my illusion.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks in Doha, and the spices down here are brilliant, so whenever I cook here I like to use them wherever possible.  Also the red onions are fantastically sweet and are a joy to cook with. They lack the harshness that most raw onion has at home. I used a curry powder mix that you can buy in the Souq here. It’s cumin/chilli/coriander etc. As always use whatever you can find easily. Or you could make up your own, there are plenty of recipes online.

Ingredients: (Makes three very generous portions- 4 normal ones.)

2 tablespoons curry powder mix

1 tablespoon Garam Masala

oil of your choosing- enough to make the spices into a loose paste

1 red onion

1 tin chickpeas

1 tin tomatoes

1 bag of fresh spinach

Method:

Heat a pot, before adding the oil, fling the spices in and let them toast for a short while. Probably best to stir them around a bit so nothing catches. When you start getting their aroma, add in the oil. (The proportions above make a punchy curry. Feel free to reduce or increase the spices.)

Before this mixture catches, which can happen very quickly, throw in your chopped red onion. Fry this at a gentle heat until it softens, you don’t want it to get too much colour. Then add in the chickpeas and toss them in the spicy oniony goodness. Add in the tin of tomatoes and let it bubble away gently. It’s not a bad idea at this point to scrape the bottom of the pot for any of the spices etc that may have stuck during the frying stage.

I left this bubble for about 15/20 minutes while some brown rice cooked. With about 5 minutes to go I flung in the spinach and let it wilt.

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Doha food guide

24 Apr

I have just returned from a trip to Doha, Qatar’s capital. It is a truly astonishing place.  It is an intriguing blend of cultures.  While parts of the city hark back to its Arab history, it is developing into a metropolis that would rival many a capital city. I could write on for some time about this remarkable country and its phenomenal growth in recent years- but we would be here for hours. Let’s talk about the food.

There is a huge variety of cuisines available to sample. In the new hotels that stud the city, you can sample any cuisine you may choose from Greek to Chinese. More tradition fare is available in the local restaurants where you can enjoy delicious grilled meats, wonderful flat-breads and delicious hummus. A local favourite is this local lemon-mint drink. It consists of  lemon juice, sugar syrup, blended with mint and sometimes ice. It is insanely refreshing and cuts through the ever-present heat.

On this trip I ate in Mykonos. A Greek restaurant at the Intercontinental Hotel. The zucchini/courgette balls were the highlight of the meal. They were falafel type creatures made from shredded courgette.They were delicate and fragrant and maintained an impressive crunch after cooking.

Another evening we made our way to The Cellar in the Oryx Rotana hotel. This is a tapas/wine bar and was thronged on the night we ate there. The food was very strong throughout. We had an assortment of dishes at the table. The highlights were aubergine grilled and served with the sweetest sliced onion salad I have ever eaten, lamb chops chargrilled, grilled prawns and patatas bravas came with a delicious, creamy aioli.

What I would recommend to any traveller to Doha is a visit to Souq Waqif.It is a traditional middle-eastern souq that offers an array of spices and foods that would delight anyone with even the slightest culinary inclination. The pungent smell of spices permeates the warm air, as does the smoke from hundreds of Hookah pipes.

Stocking up on spices is always a high priority whenever I visit the Souq. As you can see the prices are very agreeable ( 5 Qatari Riyals (ish) to the Euro.) In addition the spices are all superbly fresh and give a tremendous bang for your buck. Saffron is €8 for 5 grams for example. The shop fronts are guarded by sacks after sack of flower petals and pulses. Other shops sell every variation of pot and pan you could wish for, some so big you could comfortably bathe in.

I will be back to Doha, and I look forward to sampling more of the great food this city has to offer.

My question to you is: Where is the most impressive market you have been to? What are your memories of it?

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