Mung Bean and Vegetable Curry, and Chickpea, Pumpkin and Coriander Fritters

I don’t know about where you live, but near where I live few of the Border’s bookstores are closing.  I was surprised to hear the one in downtown was closing and they already started to slash down their prices.  I went to the downtown Border’s to see what’s on sale (well, pretty much everything), but the magazines were all 40% off.  Usually, I don’t buy “high end” magazines which cost about $10, but with 40% I was able to purchase 6 of the nice food magazines!  I got today’s recipes from “Food and Travel” magazine from the UK. 
Mung Bean and Vegetable Curry:
serves 4
225g dried split mung beans
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fresh green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
8 curry leaves (dried or fresh)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
2 carrots, sliced
400g can chopped tomatoes
100g fresh spinach leaves, stalks removed and leaves chopped
small bunch of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

Put the mung beans in a large saucepan and add 1 litre of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Drain well and set aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan set over a high heat.  Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chillies and curry leaves.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture is aromatic.  Stir in the turmeric and cumin and cook for 1 minute more. 
Add the carrots, tomatoes, mung beans and 125ml water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until the carrots are tender and the mung beans are soft and breaking up.  Stir in the spinach and coriander and cook for a couple more minutes until the spinach has wilted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with Indian bread of your choice or basmati. 
My opinion: As usual, I added a bit more spices than instructed because I like more on a spicy side.  I also washed and rinsed the mung beans 2-3 times and soaked overnight (cooks faster this way).  I do have to say this will become one of the many comfort foods I crave and eat!!  This curry has rounded taste (nothing will jump out), it’s just purely comforting to eat.  I served this curry with basmati, but I think it will go equally well with roti or naan. 

Chickpea, pumpkin and coriander fritters:
makes about 24
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large fresh green chilli, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
500g peeled pumpkin, cut into large pieces
200g canned chickpeas, well drained and rinsed
40g fresh or frozen peas
2 Tablespoon besan (chickpea flour)
a handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
vegetable oil, for deep frying

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat and cook the onion, chilli, garlic, and ginger for 2-3 minutes, until softened.  Stir in the turmeric, cumin and garam masala and cook for 1 minute, until aromatic.  Remove from the heat. 
Cook the pumpkin in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes.  Add the chickpeas and peas and  cook for a further 2 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender.  Drain well and mash with a potato masher, making sure the chickpeas are roughly broken up.  Combine in a bowl with the onion mixture, besan, coriander and salt. 
Fill a heavy based saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat over a medium-high heat.  The oil is ready when the surface is shimmering.  Using slightly wet hands, form the mixture into walnut-sized balls and drop them into the hot oil, 5-6 at a time, and cook until golden.  Transfer to paper towel lined plate. 
My opinion: Yum, yum, yummy!!!  Sweeter version of samosa filling – very addictive, eat with care!!!  I took a short cut and used canned pumpkins instead. I cooked the chickpeas and peas by themselves for about 2 minutes in a boiling pot of water.   Canned pumpkins have a bit more liquid so I added a bit more besan into the mixture.  I also used a serving spoon and scooped up some mixture and transferred into the hot oil.


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