Tuesday, 20 January 2015


I've never professed to be a brilliant chef . . . if I ever do, you can feel free to point at me and call me a lying twat. (Please nothing stronger than that - I might cry.) But I have definitely been getting a bit better in the kitchen of late. And one of my favourite things to make is curry.

I tend to follow recipes religiously, even if I've made them a few times and should really know them back to front - I'll usually have the book open in front of me or the website up on my phone and start panicking if the book flips shut or my phone locks in case I miss a vital step. I have made curry so often though now that I can do it without the aid of a recipe and am willing to improvise a bit.

This is how my favourite new "go-to" curry came to be. A couple of weeks ago, over the Christmas holidays, I had a night in the flat myself as the boyfriend was away out with his friends for a bit of a drinking session. I decided to make myself chicken curry with the frozen veg and meat that was in the flat. Unfortunately, I decided to defrost the chicken in the microwave and accidentally cremated it instead. So I had to try and find something else to use in the curry instead . . . and that's when I happened across a tin of kidney beans!

Much to my surprise, it tasted brilliant accompanied by a single serving pack of Uncle Ben's basmati rice and a little blob of light Philadelphia on the side (I was out of natural yogurt, which is my usual curry accompaniment). And my boyfriend, who doesn't reheat anything, got home from the pub and ate the leftovers and loved it too.

So tonight, to see if it had been a one-off, I decided to recreate it again. And turns out it also tastes good to us when we're both sober too!

To serve two people:


1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
1 red pepper
A handful of mushrooms
250 ml passata or chopped tomatoes (I used passata with garlic & onion as I had half a 500 ml carton left from yesterday's mushroom stroganoff)
1/2 of a veg stock cube in about 100ml of water
2 teaspoons of hot chilli powder
1 teaspoon medium curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 400g tin of kidney beans, drained


Chop up the onion and garlic and throw it in a hot frying pan with some frylight (You can obviously use oil instead but I try to keep the calories down whenever I can). Once these are sizzling nicely, throw in sliced red pepper and mushrooms, followed by your passata/chopped tomatoes and stock.

Then add in your spices. I usually only add a teaspoon of the chilli powder at this point and throw in the rest closer to the end. You can change up your spices according to taste, I'm fairly wimpy when it comes to spicy food and find this combination and amount of spices are quite strong but I can just about cope (although my lips are stinging quite a lot by the time I finish eating!).

Once you've mixed the spices in well and your mixture is nicely bubbling away, chuck in your kidney beans and leave them to simmer for around fifteen minutes. About five minutes from the end of the cooking time I added the other half of chilli powder and stirred in well.

I served this up with a packet of basmati rice and a generous blob of fat free fromage frais, which turned out to be a good way of cooling my mouth down!

This curry is great for many reasons.

1) It's easy to make
2) It uses a lot of ingredients you're likely to already have in your freezer
3) It uses good, healthy ingredients
4) It doesn't contain meat, if you're trying to avoid that
5) It is Slimming World friendly
6) I worked out that, even with the rice and fromage frais added, it's less than 500 calories for one portion (remember this recipe makes two portions so if you decide to eat it all yourself, you'll need to double that amount!)
7) It's easily adaptable. You can use the curry sauce base and add meat instead, or chickpeas, or more veg, depending on what you're feeling like. The possibilities are endless. I've made it a couple of times with chickpeas in the past, but personally I think it works the best with kidney beans.
8) It's approved by the boyfriend as a good post-pub drunken snack! (who needs chips and cheese??? Um - I do?!?)

I would definitely recommend you give this recipe a shot next time you're not sure what you want for dinner!

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