Chickpea dhal, coconut and spinach flat-bread and curried crushed new potatoes

Serves: 6

Prep time: about an hour

Cooking time: including prep time about 90 minutes

This dish is an amalgamation of a few dishes into a bit of a greatest hits. The curry butter in the crushed potatoes (one of my favourite recipes from my pub chef days) is a wonderful thing to spread under the skin of a chicken before roasting it, or to stuff a chicken breast with before breadcrumbing for a great alternative to a classic Kiev. The flatbread recipe I’ve overhauled to give an improved texture after recently learning about the development of gluten and the respective raising strength of bicarb and baking powder.

You will need:

For the potatoes :

250g butter soft

1 tbsp oil

1 apple (Granny Smith works well)

100g shallots peeled (onion works but shallots are best)

5 cloves garlic peeled

1 1/2 tsp Sweet smoked paprika

1/2 tsp Hot smoked paprika

1/2 tsp Ground turmeric

1 tsp Cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1kg New potatoes

100g Creme fraiche

125g Petit pois or peas

4 Spring onion thinly sliced

1 bunch Fresh coriander chopped

1 tsp Nigella seed toasted

Salt and pepper to taste

For the dhal:

3 tbsp oil

1 thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped

4 cloves garlic thinly sliced or crushed

1 medium onion sliced

2 cardamom pods

1 tsp mustard seed

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

3 tsp ground coriander

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tin coconut milk

2 tins chickpeas

2 tbsp red lentils

1 big pinch of dried curry leaf

Salt to taste

Juice of 1/2 lemon

For the flat bread:

300g plain or strong flour – plus extra for rolling

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

110g cooked spinach chopped– fresh or frozen, squeeze out any excess liquid but keep it in a jug

100g natural yogurt

Oil for frying

Making it:

The potatoes:

Puree the apple (peeled and cored), garlic, shallots and salt together. Fry in the oil over a medium heat stiring frequently until the mix starts to dry out.

Stir in the spices and cook for 2 more minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cooled whip the soft butter until pale and then beat in the spice paste. This will keep in the fridge for about a week or wrapped up in the freezer until you remember it.

To finish, simply boil your new potatoes until they are just cooked then drain them and return them to the hot pan, add 100g curry butter and the creme fraiche and lightly crush the potatoes with a fork. Add the spring onion, coriander and petit pois and stir until mixed (try not to break up the potatoes too much). Season to taste and then serve topped with a light sprinkle of toasted nigella seed.

The dhal:

In a saute pan or large frying pan, toast the cardamon pod and mustard seeds, add the oil then the curry leaf. Add the onion and cook until translucent then add the garlic and ginger – if you don’t like biting into them now’s the best time to remove the cardamon pods. Cook for 2 more minutes then add the turmeric, cumin and coriander and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the tomato paste and coconut milk and raise the heat but keep it under a simmer. Add the lentils and cook out for 5 minutes before adding the chickpeas. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the lentils are soft and breaking down to thicken the dhal. Season and add the lemon juice and it’s ready to go.

The flatbread:

Get a large, heavy bottomed, frying pan on the heat. In a large bowl mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the yogurt and spinach, then pour the juice squeezed from the spinach into a jug and add water to give a total volume of 195ml. Add the spinach water to the flour and yogurt mix and stir until combined.

Work quickly now as gluten starts to form within 3 minutes and allowing it to develop too much will make for dense flatbread. Portion the dough into 6 balls and roll out on a well floured surface until roughly 5-6″ diameter. Add some oil to the frying pan and fry the breads off one at a time for about 2-3 minutes a side.

Serve up and enjoy.

Variations:

Before I started cooking I thought about serving this with a skewer of chicken tikka and a chilli and cucumber raita, I’m sure it would work well but it doesn’t need it. Some onion or saag bhaji though would finish this beautifully.

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