I cooked my first meal for my family when I was about ten years old. I was absolutely obsessed with shredded honey chilli beef from the Chinese and decided that I just had to try making it for myself. Whilst my family “ooh’d” and “ahh’d” at my creation, in retrospect, I’m sure I served them up a greasy, bland excuse for my favourite dish. It was the start though, and I’ve loved cooking and experimenting with food ever since. There is something so therapeutic about the whole process and trying out new flavour or ingredient combinations is one of my favourite past times. If i’m bored, you can guarantee i’ll be making something elaborate for dinner just for something to do. When I moved away from home 3 years ago (has it really been that long), the importance of making meals nutritious became the forefront of concern, whereas beforehand I was cooking just for fun and usually recreating my favourite junk food. I also discovered just how great vegetables are for bulking out a meal at a relatively low cost. Recently, I’ve lost my taste for meat a little. I’m still a complete carnivore at times, don’t get me wrong. But on the occasional day the very thought of having meat can make me feel nauseous. So, i’ve been experimenting a lot more with vegan/vegetarian recipes and alternatives. This is one of my experiments which turned out to be my favourite. It is so full of flavour and is only around 500kcal for the meal- including rice! This is a completely vegetarian recipe, but meat can easily be added if you’re so inclined. Alternatively, ditch the halloumi and the dollop of Fage on top and this is the perfect vegan dinner.
The following measurements are recommended to serve 2-3 people. If you are making it for a larger group, just bulk it up with a lot more vegetables!
- 1 white onion
- 3 peppers- red, green & yellow
- Full packet of mushrooms
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 packet halloumi
- Half bag spinach
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 garlic cloves
- Fresh coriander
- Mild curry powder
- Ground cumin
- Chilli powder
- Garlic powder
- Stock cube (use a meat one if you want a richer taste)
- Brown sugar
- Rice- I use pilau or coconut basmati rice.
- Naan bread (Optional).
- Prepare vegetables by cutting as thin or chunky as desired.
- In a large frying pan or wok, cook all the vegetables until soft including the chopped garlic cloves and chickpeas.
- Add in a small amount of water and crumble in the stock cube.
- Add in all the seasonings and a table spoon of brown sugar. Add in the chopped tomatoes- I like to scoop the tomatoes out of the tin to drain the juice a little as the sauce can become too thin.
- Add the coconut milk, mixing until all the spices are combined with the curry as a sauce and the stock cube is fully dissolved.
- In a separate pan, fry the halloumi (cut into chunks) in paprika for approx. five minutes. [Side note: I personally like to fry halloumi in a seasoning as the seasoning forms a layer to help the halloumi develop a crispier coating on the outside].
- Finely chop the coriander and add into the curry. Add in the halloumi.
- Allow the curry to simmer for around 15 minutes- taste and add in more seasoning depending on desired taste/ spice level.
- Just before serving, cook the rice and heat up the naan bread in the oven. Throw half a bag of spinach into the curry and stir until it begins to wilt. [I like to throw the spinach in at the very end so it doesn’t fully cook but if you prefer a stewed spinach then add it in earlier].
- Serve with Fage yoghurt- a dollop on top gives a delicious, creamy and slightly sweet kick to the curry!