Wednesday, July 6, 2011

When lamb is expensive, go legumes

Spicy tasty chickpea curry is enough to convince one to go vegetarian

When lamb is expensive, go legumes

Since moving to Switzerland, I’ve had to learn to adjust to some things; different brands, different ingredients, even no ingredients (seriously, no white vinegar?! It’s a crime not to have white vinegar on fish and chips!). It’s meant that some of the recipes that had become midweek staples back home in Australia – harissa chicken for one – I haven’t made since being here because I haven’t found harissa (though to be fair, I haven’t really looked).
Swiss cows have expensive taste -
CHF70/kilo for a steak!

One thing that I wasn’t prepared for – and which I still don’t understand – is the cost of meat. It’s ludicrously expensive – CHF27 a kilo (roughly AU$30/kilo or US$16/lb) for top quality beef mince; CHF70 a kilo for good beef fillet steak. That cow must have had expensive taste in its previous life. I don't understand it; Switzerland is admittedly not a big country, but if you saw the number of cows I do when you go past just on a train, you'd wonder why beef is so expensive too. Ironically though, I've found Switzerland - or at least my part of Switzerland - to be cheaper for seafood; seafood is getting quite costly in Australia. 

The cost of meat, especially beef, has meant that we’ve had to have more chicken or vegetarian dishes. One of my favourite vegetarian dishes uses chickpeas, which I just love. Chickpea curry from – I think – Family Circle’s Classic Essential Curries is a recipe I’ve had for years. It’s from one of my mum’s cookbooks and was one of the first recipes I put into the first volume of my recipe volumes. I love it and it’s so easy to make.

Chickpea curry in all its glory
I have no idea how authentic it is – especially since this time around I couldn’t add garam masala because I forgot that I didn’t bring any from home – but it tastes delicious. The chickpeas are really soft and tender, especially if you use canned ones, along with the sweet acidity of the tomatoes and the spicy aroma and flavour of the spices. If vegetarian dishes taste like this, I’ll have to find some more and blog on them!

1 comment:

  1. What a tragedy to have to make this without garam masala! You'll have to get someone to post some to you.