This quick and easy vegetarian
meal was invented one day in a hurry, from what I could
find in the fridge and pantry. It’s not authentic anything…
but I think it owes its rich flavour mix to the cool spicy
vegetable side dishes which my Sri Lankan friend
Irangani makes to accompany family meals.
It can be made with the usual large fresh leeks, and
ordinary tinned chickpeas from the supermarket, but
tastes even better if you have small young leeks, and a
tin of the Italian organic chickpeas. Leftovers kept in
the fridge till next day will taste even better.
Most of the spices are already mixed in the Indian tinned
tomatoes. You’ll also need a small jar of Greggs chilli
paste, a spoonful of black (dark brown) mustard seeds,
and a few whole coriander seeds. (Freshly crushed
coriander seeds have an ‘orangey’ aroma which is essential
for this dish, and for many of the curries that I make. The
ready-ground coriander powder has other uses but won’t
substitute here.) If you want to impress dinner guests, you
can crush corander seeds in a stone pestle and mortar…
but if you are cooking for yourself, just keep a handful
of seeds in a spare pepper grinder, ready for use.
It’s hard to go wrong with a flavour base of fresh garlic
(maybe with a little shredded fresh ginger), plus a few
mustard seeds, fresh-ground coriander, and a touch of
chilli paste, all gently fried in a little oil.
1 large tin chickpeas (organic if possible)
1 tin Watties Indian-spiced Tomatoes
1 to 2 TBS olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
3 small leeks (or 2 medium ones) Use white
and the paler green parts. Cut each leek in
half lengthways, then slice across finely
into half-circles and break these up a bit.
1/2 tsp Greggs chilli paste
1 tsp fresh ground or crushed coriander seed
1/2 tsp dark mustard seed.
• Drain chickpeas.
• In a heavy-bottom pan, gently fry garlic in oil until it just begins
to turn golden. Add leeks and cook on for a few minutes until
they soften. Move leeks away from the middle of the pan.
• Put in 1 tsp of oil, chilli paste, and seeds and fry gently for a
few moments until the mustard begins to pop. Then mix
• Stir in the tomatoes and chick peas. Simmer for about 5 minutes
until the flavours have blended. Serve with brown basmati rice,
cooked with a teaspoon of vegemite in the water.
Beans, whole grains and vegetables… healthy food…