My first sell. A moment I would remember in all of my culinary career. Two friends from work saw my blog and decided they’d put their money where my mouth was. When you make your next veggie dinner they said, make us an extra portion and we’ll pay. I jumped at the chance. And by accident I made a profit. It was all thanks to my green grocer.
I live near Clapham but I’m too far from any mainstream supermarkets to make it worth my while to pop in on the way home. I was thrilled when I found a local green grocer round the corner that sold a mixture of local, seasonal and imported veg, the former dominating the latter.
That day I had looked up what to cook. I decided I’d go seasonal and British where possible and thanks to my green grocer, I could do it, and for not a lot of pennies. Aloo gobi caught my fancy, a vegetarian dish often served as an accompaniment to main course Indian dishes, it’s full of fresh herbs and warming spices and relatively easy to make (about 45 mins including prep and cooking time).
All the ingredients in this dish are at their peak time of year. I told my grocer what I planned to cook but unfortunately he looked at me with confusion, said ‘that’s nice dear’ and gave me a free chilli. To this I added a huge cauliflower that could have made a meal in itself, a bunch of vibrantly green spinach, two packets of earthy new potatoes that retained a crunchy bite when cooked, a chunk of ginger, a bulb of garlic, two tomatoes from Kent and a packet of fresh coriander. All this set me back less than a fiver. £4.93 to be precise.
All I needed at home was some left over white onions, basmati rice, red lentils to make an accompanying dhal and some dried herbs. The ingredients detailed on the recipe below not only fed 3 on the night but there was enough for 5 lunchboxes. That’s 8 portions for about £6 of ingredients.
The textures of the crunchy aloo gobi and the smooth saucey dhal were perfectly complimentary. The aloo gobi was full of rich cumin (which I think could have been cut through by a squeeze of fresh lemon) whereas the dhal had subtle hints of cinnamon, cloves and ginger. The rice was cooked with turmeric and so turned an incredible bright yellow. Thanks to the cooking technique, the texture of the rice was not dissimilar from that you get in Indian restaurants; light and feathery. It was rinsed first and then cooked in the microwave in stages and then allowed to steam under cling-film for an additional 5 mins. No fuss, no need for attention and minimal washing up.
I genuinely didn’t get bored with eating this (well maybe by my 4th portion) the flavours seemed to develop and richen every day. Wintery, easy to make, warming and flavourful. Definitely worth a go.
Recipe coming soon.