One of the first things I learned to do when we moved to France was translate French recipes.
Each month I picked up copies of Cuisine et Vins de France and French Saveur at the local tabac and with my trusty French dictionary at my side I dutifully studied the names of ingredients and cooking terms, making translation notes in the margins and jotting down measurement conversions.
It's amazing how easy it is to pick up a language when the subject is something you're really interested in!
There's a great series of small, recipe packed cookbooks by Marabout for the very reasonable price of €4,95 each. I've bought two so far, one with Indian and Thai curries and one with recipes for comforting, wintery food called Tout Chaud.
I've made a few recipes from each book and one of the best so far was an aromatic, homey vegetarian curry. It is some serious comfort food! Low in calories and high in flavor and vitamins - I swear it makes you feel stronger after you've eaten it a plate of it.
The original calls for the addition of canned chickpeas, which I didn't have in the cupboard, so the recipe has been adapted to what I had on hand. Add them if you like, but this version is also fantastic!
Sweet Potato, Pea and Spinach Curry
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, crushed with their juice
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 ounces fresh baby spinach, washed
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup frozen baby peas
- plain yogurt (optional)
- Warm the oil in a deep pan with a lid and sauté the onions over low heat until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle the curry powder, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt over the onions and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring, until fragrant.
- Add the sweet potato, canned tomatoes, brown sugar and water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes over low heat, until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
- Add the spinach and baby peas and cook for another 2 minutes, until spinach is wilted and the peas are warmed through.
- Taste and correct for salt and add more cayenne if you like it really spicy.
- Serve with steamed basmati rice and a dollop of the optional plain yogurt.