Thursday, May 1, 2014

Frugal Foodie on a British Pound: Taste of India

Happy May Day! Apparently, that is a thing here in the UK. Anyway, enough about sunrise celebrations (see my pretty photo!), let's get serious. Curry. This year I got a bit more creative with my barley and pulses, having had quite enough of the former with carrots and the latter, well, with carrots. So, with a few pence, I snagged a can of chopped tomatoes and a few pinches of mixed spices. I figure, if the 'World's Hunger Capital' can subsist off of dhal, why can't I make curry work on poverty line budget?
According to the World Food Programme, almost one third of India's population (a whopping 1.2 billion people) lives on less than $1.25 per day (~£0.75). Trailing on the tail of yesterday's income disparity discussion, it's worth noting that average income has risen considerably in the last couple of decades, and yet the country is fraught with social exclusion and an income chasm. But in spite of this state of affairs, India retains this long and rich tradition of spice use. For example, cumin seed is used to aid digestion. Mustard seeds come in various colors, but also have roles in myth for teaching humility. And Fenugreek is also known for its medicinal uses, particularly in Ayurvedic tradition. On that note...

Curry on a Budget
1 1/2 cups yellow split peas, soaked overnight
2 cups boiling water
1/2 onion, chopped
1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
1 sweet potato, diced
1 carrot, chopped
2 tbs salted peanuts, chopped
1 tbs mixed whole curry spices (e.g. fennel, mustard, and cumin seeds and Fennugrek)
2 tsp salt

1. Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, with about a tablespoon of water, and cook the onion and spices covered for about five minutes.
2. Add all the rest of the water and salt, and bring to a boil. Throw in the split peas, sweet potato, and carrots. Cook covered on medium for 15-20 minutes before adding the tomatoes. Leave on the heat for another 5 minutes.
3. Toss in the peanuts, cover, and then reduce heat to low and let sit for a solid 30 minutes. Serve warm over rice or barley. Enjoy!!

Unfortunately, no amount of curry is going to curb the impending climate change impacts that threaten India and many other surrounding nations. But that is definitely for another day...

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