I’ve recently decided that eating meat with pretty much every meal is just too much, although I’m currently cooking a steak as I type this.. oops. A couple of evenings a week I’ve been preparing vegan or vegetarian dinners, not only is this great from a health perspective but it also encourages more creative cooking and has opened my eyes to new ingredients and cooking styles!
The first of these meat free recipes that I’d like to share is this Trini inspired channa and aloo, or chickpea and potato curry. I did some research online and discovered that this dish is usually eaten with a thin, flaky flatbread called a paratha roti so I thought I’d give these a go too and I am so glad that I did. They go so well together that I can’t imagine having the curry without the roti now! I was also lucky enough to speak to a Guyanese lady who advised me that she always makes her roti with self raising flour, so that’s what I did and they turned out great.
If you don’t fancy a meat free meal, skinless chicken thighs or breast pieces are a great addition to this curry. Simply seal them in a frying pan before adding them to the curry at the same time you add the vegetable stock.
While the curry is 100% vegan friendly, I did use a mixture of oil and butter when making my roti but you could use a butter substitute or the vegetable oil alone.
For the curry
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium heat chillis, finely diced (I like to use 1 red and 1 green because it looks nicer!)
400g tin of chickpeas, drained
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tin of chopped tomatoes, drained of all liquid
750ml vegetable stock (I used 1 and a half kallo organic vegetable stock cubes in water)
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3 tbsp medium curry powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp black pepper
1 large handful of parsley
For the roti
2 cups of self raising flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of water
2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp vegetable oil
I’ll be alternating between instructions for the roti and the curry, so if you are only making the curry just skip these parts.
Add half of the water and again, mix well with your hands. Don’t worry, this is supposed to be messy!
Continue to add a little water at a time and knead until it forms a smooth, soft dough that lifts away from your bowl without leaving any residue. If your dough becomes too wet and sticky, simple add another hanl of flour.
Wet a piece of kitchen towel, place it on top of dough and leave to rest for 30 minutes. The kitchen roll will stop the dough from forming a hard crust.
Once 30 minutes has passed, place 2 tbsp of butter and 2 of oil into a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until all of the butter has melted. Place to one side and sprinkle flour liberally on your work surface. Remove the kitchen towel from the dough and place it on your floured surface – it should feel really stretchy at this point.
Stretch out your dough into a sausage shape and divide it into 4 or 5 equal portions using your hands or a knife.
Take one portion, and place the rest on a plate to one side.
Roll the dough into a ball with your hands and then flatten it into a disk.
Making sure your surface is well floured, use your rolling pin to roll out the dough into a large, flat circle.
Place a knife in the centre of the dough and cut downwards to the outside of the circle.
Fold the dough around until you end up with a cone shape.
Pick up the cone with the open end facing upwards and use your thumb to tuck all of the edges in.
Flip the dough up the other way, and press the pointed end into the centre with your thumb.
Repeat these steps with each portion of dough and place them back in the mixing bowl or on a plate with some wet kitchen towel on top.
Leave these to rest for another 20-30 minutes.
Now for the curry!
I prefer to prepare my ingredients for the curry and measure out all of the herbs and spices first. This means that it will pretty much take care of itself while you are cooking your roti.
Dice the onion and chilli, crush the garlic, peel and cube the potatoes.
Add the 3 tbsp curry powder to a dish with 2 tbsp water and mix to form a paste.
Measure out the thyme leaves, tumeric, paprika, all spice and black pepper.
Pour 3 tbsp vegetable oil into a large, deep pan or stock pot and place over a medium heat.
Add the onions and fry for a minute, then add the garlic, chilli, curry paste, thyme, tumeric, cayenne pepper, paprika, allspice and black pepper.
Mix well and continue to cook for a further minute before adding the potatoes and chickpeas.
Allow the potatoes to cook for 2 minutes and then add the chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 25 minutes.
Now our roti are ready to be rolled out and cooked.
Take one of the roti “balls” and using two hands, flatten into a disk of even thickness.
Ensure your surface is well floured, as well as your rolling pin, and roll out into a large thin circle. Keep flipping and turning it as you roll to ensure the thickness is even. It should be slightly thinner than a tortilla wrap. Don’t worry if you cant roll out a perfect circle yet, it takes practice!
Place a very large non stick pan over a low heat (do not add any oil), pick the roti up and place it flat in the pan.
When you see bubbles start to appear, brush it lightly with the butter and oil mixture you used earlier and use a spatula to flip it over.
Brush the other side with the butter and oil too, wait 20-30 seconds and flip again.
Repeat this process again until you see brown flecks on both sides of your roti and then place it on a plate.
If it’s a little thick then roll the dough thinner for your next roti, if it’s a little hard then don’t cook it for as long next time.
Follow the above steps for the rest of your roti.
Once all of your roti are cooked, check on your curry, it should have a nice thick consistency now. If it’s not thick enough then turn up the heat and cook it for a further 5 minutes, if its too thick just add a few tbsp of water.
Serve with some fresh spinach or even some coconut rice and enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe. I’d love to see your pictures if you decide to use this it, you can tag me in them on twitter or on Instagram @_YumLily !