Grains and cereals have been around for millions of years and there is evidence of this in the first hominids in the wear patterns of their teeth showing they were grain eaters.
Often hidden at the back of the cupboard or called on at times of great scarcity, grains and cereals are a cooks lifesaver. They are cheap, economical and go a long way and can be added in the tinned variety or soaked overnight or boiled for 30 minutes to make a complete inventive and delicious meal.
Here are some of my favourites which I use on a weekly basis - Basmati rice, wild black rice, red and yellow Lentils, Black eyed beans, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Bulgar wheat, Couscous and Freekha. There is so much variety for you to use in Dhals, curries, stews, and salads from breakfast to dinner. I suggest going into a shop and buying a grain you haven't used before and cooking with it. The possibilities will expand your cooking giving you such enjoyment in the kitchen with minimal costs.
1 large can 400g
1 small can 400g of coconut milk
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
100ml vegetable or chicken stock 2 tsp Vegetable oil or coconut oil
Small roasted sweetcorn pieces to garnish
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
Optional: 1/2 small Green or Red Chilli thinly sliced
In a dry frying pan or saucepan roast the Coriander, cumin and Fenugreek seeds to release their aroma and lightly toast. Add to a pestle and mortar and grind finely.
Heat the oven to Gas Mark 6 200c and roast the sweetcorn pieces until brown.
Slice the onion and garlic. Grate the fresh ginger. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and ginger until brown. Add the spices and ensure the onions and garlic are coated evenly and the spices are cooked through. Add the tinned sweetcorn. Stir and coat evenly. Add the coconut milk and stir slowly. Season with salt and pepper. Add vegetable stock. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Using a blender, coarsely blend the mixture so that you can still see the sweetcorn in the mixture. Add the vegetable stock if the mixture is too thick. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Before serving add the roasted small sweetcorn and fold in the washed spinach leaves which will wilt and cook within the hot curry. Coarsely chop fresh coriander and sprinkle over. Season with salt and pepper and serve with rice or lentils remembering that sweetcorn is a grain in itself. Serves 2
Optional: If you eat meat you can have this alongside chicken as it would work brilliantly with a BBQ or roasted chicken. Use any rice or grains to soak up the flavour. If you like it spicy then add more chilli.