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Gruntie’s Tarka Daal

Gruntie’s Bengali 5 spice red lentil Daal

Gruntie’s Bhindi Bhaji

Gruntie’s Mushroom and blue cheese Risotto

Gruntie’s Tarka Daal

This delicious daal can be eaten with rice or as a side dish with a main curry.

Ingredients: 300g red lentils, 1 litre of water or veggie stock [non veggies – chicken stock works very well], 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic, a couple of chopped red or green chillis, small piece of fresh ginger, 2 or 3 finely chopped large tomatoes – skin removed [or use half a tin], a dash of vegetable oil and a knob of butter, a teaspoon of ground cumin, half a teaspoon of ground coriander, a teaspoon of turmeric, half a teaspoon of garam masala, handful of fresh coriander, a generous pinch or two of salt. Optional – a pinch of asafoetida, a few curry leaves, a handful of finely chopped spinach,

Method: In a large saucepan, cook the lentils with the turmeric and ground coriander in the stock until soft [around 20 mins or so]. While this is cooking whizz together the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and gently fry [in another pan] with the oil and butter for a few minutes until the onions start to brown. Stir the onion mixture into the cooked lentils along with the ground cumin and asafoetida. Throw in the tomatoes with the curry leaves and salt. Mix it all together and allow to simmer and reduce for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking. You can add more water if required at this stage. Finally throw in the fresh coriander and chopped spinach and garam masala, simmer for a few more minutes and there you have it. Adjust seasoning as you desire and serve decorated with fresh coriander sprinkles. You can allow the daal to cool and reheat it when required. The daal also freezes rather well.

Gruntie’s Bengali red lentil 5 spice Daal– coming soon!

Gruntie’s Bhindi Bhaji

This is quick and easy. I like mine to be mild but aromatic, it accompanies a curry really well.

Ingredients: To serve 4 peeps as a side dish [or 2 – 3 as a main] – 500 g of okra, 1 small onion roughly chopped, 3 or 4 ripe tomatoes skinned and choopped, one clove of finely chopped garlic, half a teaspoon of ground cumin. half a teaspoon of ground coriander, half a teaspoon of turmeric, small stick of cinnamon, a sprinkle of chilli powder, salt and pepper, veg oil.

Method: Lightly fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes in a medium sized saucepan and then throw in the spices and seasonings. Give it a stir and allow to simmer for another minute before adding the tomatoes and let it simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring on occasion. Give the okra a rinse, top and tail them and cut them into 1 inch pieces before adding them to the pan. Stir the okra gently into the spicy tomato mixture, partially cover and simmer for a final 10 minutes or so. You can add a splash of water if the mixture is drying out too much. If the okra is a bit slimy it needs a few more minutes cooking. Serve with rice or as a side dish.

Gruntie’s Mushroom and blue cheese Risotto

This a bit of a fiddle but not complicated to make. Even peeps who do not like blue cheese love this. I like my risotto to be very cheesy indeed and use a large amount of parmesan and gorgonzola, the quantities given below are more conservative. If you are vegetarian you will need to source vegetarian cheese for this recipe.

Ingredients: To feed 4 peeps- 350 g risotto rice [Arborio or Carnaroli], 40g of dried porcini mushrooms, 250g roughly chopped mushrooms, 1 litre of veg [or chicken] stock, 2 glasses of dry white wine, 1 small red onion roughly chopped, 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped, 100g of grated parmesan [I like it cheesy], a large knob of Gorgonzola piccante cheese, a glug or two of olive oil, a knob of butter, handfull of fresh parsley- chopped, a pinch or two of dried [or fresh] thyme, salt and pepper.

Method: Start by soaking the dried mushrooms in some freshly boiled water and leave for 20 minutes. Make up the stock and keep it warm on the hob in a suacepan. Add the porcini liquid to this stock through a sieve [to get rid of any bits]. Then in a heavy based saucepan gently cook the onions and garlic for a few minutes. I use red onion as it looks attractive in the risotto. Throw in the rice and stir to make sure it’s glistening with the oil and butter then pour in a glass of white wine and let it bubble before stirring in the porcini mushrooms. [The other glass of wine is for you while you cook the risotto!]. Ladle the warm stock into the rice one spoon at a time. Stir after each addition and simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice has softened and all of the stock has been absorbed, [You can more stock or water if required]. In a third saucepan quickly fry the mushrooms in some oil and then gently stir this into the rice, then add the parmesan and some of the chopped parsley and plenty of ground pepper. Finally stir in the gorgonzola cheese and serve sprinkled with some chopped parsley, adjust the seasoning if needed. As you can see by the photo I like to add a few asparagus spears, a green salad works well on the side too.

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