It’s loquat season, time to try Catherine’s vegan curry
How did we get to March already?
I swear I’m still finding pine needles in my house and my bank balance is still recovering from Christmas. Yet here we are! The weather is pretty atrocious but there are tiny spots of sunshine in the trees everywhere – it’s loquat season and I am loving it!
Loquats are one of the few remaining genuinely seasonal things we have. When I was little, we only had satsumas at Christmas and strawberries in the summer. I still love both those things, but having them available all the time definitely knocks the shine off. The seasonality makes loquats fun, but just like many other fruits – you need to get a good one to really appreciate how great they are. It’s the same with blueberries or peaches – get a mushy or flavourless one the first time and you just won’t see what everyone else is talking about. But get a good one …. Ahhh that’s the best. And to pick your best loquats, make sure they are properly canary yellow (no hint of green) and twist off the branch easily.
You can eat loquats just like a plum; give them a good rinse first and brush off any sticky bits or leaf debris. I pop them in the kids lunch boxes just as they are. But I also seed them, peel them and turn them into jam or a fruit compote for yoghurt. One of my favourite ways to use them is with this amazing vegan curry. As with all vegan recipes, it’s best if you use a combination of different pulses (in this case lentils and chick peas) and then combine with a wholegrain. Combining different vegan protein sources helps to raise the bioavailability of the amino acids meaning that you optimise the amount of protein you get. This recipe does just that.
So this weekend, pop out and pick some loquats off the trees. There’s something so satisfying about picking your own food and then turning it into a meal right away. Enjoy!
Vegan loquat, sweet potato and lentil curry (serves 4-6)
½ c dried red lentils, soaked and rinsed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 ½ c loquats, seeds out and chopped (1 cup after preparing)
¼ tsp dried ginger
¼ tsp dried nutmeg
1 ½ tsp curry powder
1 cup chick peas (drained and rinsed)
2 cups sweet potato, peeled and chopped (I used 1 large, 1 medium)
2 cup organic vegetable stock (chicken works fine too, but then not vegan)
½ tin coconut milk
2 tbs honey
1 tbs tomato purée
Oil – refined coconut or light olive oil.
Serve with brown rice and steamed green vegetables.
1. Soak your red lentils for up to 24 hours, but for a minimum of half an hour. Drain and rinse well.
2. Put a large pan (Le Cruset works well) over a low heat with a tablespoon of refined coconut oil or light olive oil.
3. Add the chopped onion and spices (ginger, nutmeg, curry powder) and sweat over a low heat until the onion is tender.
4. Add the loquats, coating well in the spice mixture and allow to cook for a few more minutes.
5. Stir in the sweet potato, red lentils and chick peas.
6. Pour over the stock and stir in the honey and tomato purée. Stir well.
7. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover with the lid off-set and cook for at least 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
8. Shake/stir up the coconut milk and make sure it is well mixed. Add half the can to the curry and allow to heat through.
9. If your curry is too liquid, mix 1 tbs corn flour into a paste with 2 tbs water and then stir in to the curry over a low heat. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens.
10. Serve with brown rice and plenty of steamed green veg!
Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram