Desperate times call for desperate measures.
This weekend was a doozy of a cold fest. With the long weekend, I briefly contemplated using the snow in my favour by breaking out the snowshoes… until I realized just how cold it was. With temperatures near -40C with the wind, Rob and I opted to stay inside most the weekend.
We actually had a plan. We needed to study.
We are working to becoming PADI scuba certified. Since our wedding in one of the best places to go scuba diving, we decided to capitalize on the uniqueness of the location. 5 hours of videos, 300 pages of a manual and multiple questions, we spent the majority of the weekend tucked away reading. Next weekend, we will attempt our pool portion of the training. Sadly, outdoor dives here will not resume until June, so we won’t be certified before we go, but it will make it much easier to go scuba diving.
Around this time of year, it is probably a good idea for us to go through our pantries and cold rooms. Please tell me I am not the only one with winter squashes that always seem to linger throughout the winter. No better time to use the winter squash along with a new variety of bean. Especially in curry form.
Susan gifted me these black chickpeas awhile back and I will admit, I prefer regular chickpeas. However, this curry was spectacular. There were a multitude of spices, added at different times to the curry, which created a rather optimally spiced dish. The fennel and panch phoran make this Bengali-inspired and a bit different from our typical curries. The black chickpeas made for a beautiful visual contrast but regular chickpeas could work, too.
How did you stay warm this weekend? Any scuba divers with beginner tips?🙂
Bengali Squash with Chickpeas
Adapted from Anjum Anand via BBC Food
1 tbsp coconut oil, or oil of choice
Big pinch of asafoetida
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp panch phoran (see recipe here)
1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt, to taste
2 tsp grated ginger
500g winter squash, peeled, seeds removed and flesh cut into 1 ½-inch chunks (I used a mix of delicata and kabocha– no peeling required!)
1 cup boiling water
2 cups cooked black chickpeas (or regular chickpeas)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Once hot, add the asafoetida, bay leaf, panch phoran and chili flakes and fry for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant but do not allow to burn.
2. Stir in the onion and coat it with the spices. Continue to saute for 3 minutes more, or until translucent.
3. Add the turmeric, cumin,m coriander, ginger and salt, to taste. Deglaze with a touch of water to prevent sticking, if needed, and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
4. Carefully place the winter squash in the pot and deglaze with the hot water. Bring the mixture to a boil by increasing the heat, then cover the pan and reduce heat to return to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through.
5. Stir in the chickpeas, garam masala and ground fennel seeds. Add additional liquid, if desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, until heated through.