Sunday, 3 June 2012

Can Ketchup Count as One Of Your 5 a Day?

I don’t see why not. Ketchup is bursting with tomatoes --Heinz boasts 132g of tomatoes per 100g of ketchup--and tomatoes are full of lycopene which not only is very good for you, but will turn you into a werewolf. Just kidding. Or am I? Eat lots of ketchup and wait for the next full moon and just see if I’m lying. 

 I have a strange relationship with ketchup--sometimes I am indifferent, sometimes I can’t stop thinking of ways to use it. I am currently in one of those Mmmmm Ketchup moments. Every couple of weeks Spiderman ambles down to the local chippy and buys us some lovely fat chips all hot and fried in sunflower oil and wrapped in plain paper. (that’s like “steak fries” to my American peeps) Yum. I normally eat them the British way with salt and malt vinegar (this is really good if you’ve never tried it) but recently I have had the Ketchup Craving. 

 Imagine my surprise when I found this recipe for Quick Ketchup Chickpea Curry in a Hugh  Fearnley-Whittingstall cookbook. He is an omnivore chef whom I really admire because he is very against factory farmer and he is a meat reducer. He also raises and kills his own meat--I’ve always thought that if you want to eat meat you should be willing to raise it and kill it yourself or you shouldn’t eat it. I think most people (including myself) don’t have the bottle for that. That’s why people like to be disconnected from their food-- if they knew the conditions that animals were forced to live in it would turn their stomachs. Ignorance is bliss. He once made a comment about eating puppies that had loads of people up in arms, but what he was saying was “why are some animals considered food and some animals considered pets?” I totally agree. Why does our society think only cute animals deserve compassion?   Anyway, I digress. I adapted his recipe a bit to add more veg and here is my version.

Quick Ketchup Chickpea Curry

Preheat oven to 200C/400F

Peel and dice a small sweet potato

Coarsely chop a red onion

Coarsely chop a red pepper

Spray with oil, grind on some pepper, sprinkle on up to 1 tsp of red pepper flakes.

Roast for 30 minutes, stirring half way.

Meanwhile start cooking some sort of grain like rice or quinoa.

After you stir the roasted veg heat a pot on the stove top with a smidge of oil and add:

Thumb sized piece of gingerroot, finely chopped or grated

1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

Cook for 1 minutes then add:

1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups if you cook from scratch)

2 tsp curry paste or curry powder

5 TB ketchup

Enough water to make a thick sauce--about ¼ cup

Then add salt and pepper to taste

When the veg are roasted stir them in and add a squeeze from a quarter of a lemon. The lemon bit is optional. The original recipe said the juice from half a lemon but I thought it made it too sour--ketchup is quite vinegary.

It was indeed quick and easy. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall also says you can make it more like a chilli by subbing kidney beans for the chickpeas and adding 2 tsp smoked paprika instead of the curry paste. We’ll try that some other time and see.

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