the comfort edition:

Truth be told, this was made up on the spot. It tasted pretty damn good, but then again, because it wasn’t made with the creation of a recipe in mind, measurements won’t be exact.

 

 
It’s nearly Winter here in Sydney. It gets dark at 5. The sun only rises at 7. And there’s nothing I want more than comfort. On nights like this, most gravitate to the the online food ordering services that are in abundance. I gravitated towards two fridges, the pantry and spice cabinet.

 
Tonight, I drew on inspiration from one of my all time favourite dishes – the Moroccan Tagine, and created my own variation of it. I wouldn’t call my creation a vegetarian take on tagine, simply because I chose not to let my broth absorb completely. I wanted a distinction between liquid and vegetable, while still maintaining that rich, earthy flavour.

 
I served my dish with lemon and tumeric infused rice, a generous helping of fresh mint from the garden, fresh coriander, and lemon.

 

 

This dish was made with the thought of a busy working woman who still likes to eat healthy in mind. I’ve covered the essential foodgroups I eat as a vegetarian, and the best part is, that extras can be stored for other meals or to take to work/uni the next day.

 
As with the dishes I create, I like to invent on the spot. I’ve written with as much detail as I used when I was preparing my meal. The result was a tangy “tagine” whose vegetables were tender but held the chilli, subtle aroma of bay leaves, and the oomph of onion and garlic. The broth was light but flavourful. The tomato, onion and garlic came together to create a tempest in my mouth. They juxtaposed the sweet fleshiness of the raisins, that had almost disintegrated. The broth was tangy and held dimension. Paired with the vegetables and fresh herbs, it was a delight in my mouth.

 
Alongside the rice, the meal was light on the palette but still comforting and fulfilling.
This is an ideal sunday night meal, as extras will go a long way for Mondays at work. One pot meals have always been one of my favourites to make. I know that my meals for the next day are sorted. I can eat this dish with rice, cous cous, roti or bread. I’m gaining all my foodgroups and I’m eating the rainbow.

 
This dish can also be served with fresh Greek yoghurt, toasted walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. For a vegan alternative, soak the raisins in coconut milk. Coconut always works with root vegetables and will provide an additional layer of flavour in your broth.

 
The vegetables are also interchangeable. I made this dish with whatever was in the fridges. That I think is the best part. I didn’t need to do anything extra, and for a busy lifestyle, this option is perfect.

 

 

 



The “tagine” – for recipe’s sake

The base:

  • Two large truss tomatoes, finely diced
  • Two large red onions, finely diced
  • two cloves of garlic75 grams Iranian raisins, soaked in half a cup of buttermilk, 1 teaspoon of red chilli flakes and grated ginger. This should soak for approximately half an hour before you begin cooking.
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1.5 teaspoons of red chilli flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or a stock cube

The substance:

  • Half a large cauliflower, chopped into bite sized florets
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes (about half an inch)
  • 2 large carrots, cut into bite sized cubes (about half an inch)
  • 1 can of chickpeas (I like to rinse and soak mine for half an hour in warm water, just to remove any excess brine and salt)
  • a decent handful of snow peas, cut into thin pieces (I honestly did not measure how many snow peas I used. If you don’t have snow peas, use any other bean)

The rice:

  • 1 cup of basmati rice, rinsed and pre-soaked
  • the skin of half a lemon
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • half a teaspoon of tumeric

Making the “tagine”

  1. Soak your raisins in buttermilk, the chilli flakes and ginger and set aside
  2. Cut your vegetables and steam the cauliflower, carrots and sweet potato. This helps not only cook the vegetables thoroughly, but makes them more tender and open to absorbing the flavours of the broth.
  3. In a deepset steel pot, heat half a teaspoon of olive oil, and once the oil is hot, add your spices, except the bay leaves. Stir in the garlic, diced tomato and onion, and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, continuously stirring.
  4. Add in your yoghurt soaked raisins and bay leaves. Cover and leave for 10 minutes on a low heat.
  5. Add in your steamed vegetables, beans and chickpeas.
  6. Add 750ml of water and your stock. Cover and let cook for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once the cauliflower has almost disintegrated and the carrots and potatoes are tender but juicy, the “tagine is ready”.
  8. Top with freshly chopped coriander and mint, generously squeeze lemon on top, and serve.

The rice:

  1. In a large pot or rice cooker, add your rice, the amount of water you require depending on the vessel you’re using to boil your rice, lemon juice, lemon skins and tumeric.
  2. Once the rice is cooked, remove the skins and run under cold water for 10 seconds to ensure the rice is fluffy, light and the grains are separate.


xx Simran 

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