From chickpeas to savoury porridge: Yotam Ottolenghi’s thrifty recipes
A weekday lunch of braised chickpeas, a savoury brunch porridge and a grown-up take on rice pudding
The world has seen more than its fair share of closed doors lately – shops, restaurants, the barber, your neighbours’ – but that has, in turn, led to the opening of some others.
And if there is one door that has swung wide open in recent weeks, it’s the one that leads into the kitchen. From the keenest of cooks to the humblest of beginners, the kitchen has provided us all with the one thing we’ve been missing the most: freedom.
Spatulas and whisks are the tools that have given us the freedom to create delicious meals out of the humblest ingredients, leaving extravagance behind (at least for a while). Be resourceful! Be savvy! Cook!
Savoury oat porridge with ginger-garlic crumbs
Porridge gets a savoury twist here, with the flavours ramped up by crisp, ginger-garlic crumbs and umami-rich soy butter, making this a great breakfast or brunch dish. Double up on the crumbs, if you like: they will keep in a sealed container at room temperature for up to three days, and are especially good sprinkled over eggs or rice
Prep 10 min
Cook 35 min
12 spring onions, trimmed and cut in half lengthways (180g)
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
80g ginger, peeled and finely grated
12 garlic cloves (ie, about 1 head), peeled and crushed
4 large eggs
160g jumbo rolled oats
2 tbsp soy sauce
50g unsalted butter, fridge-cold and cut into 2cm cubes
1 tsp chilli flakes, or more if you like extra heat
Toss the spring onions in a bowl with a tablespoon of oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Put a large, nonstick saute pan on a high heat and, once hot, add half the spring onion and cook, turning a couple of times, for three minutes, until softened and charred in places. Transfer to a plate, cook the rest of the onions the same way, then put the pan to one side to cool slightly.
Wipe out the pan, add two tablespoons of oil and put it on a medium heat. Once hot, add the ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until deeply golden and crisp. Transfer two-thirds of this mixture to a small bowl and leave the rest in the pan.
Meanwhile, drop the eggs in a pan of boiling water and cook for six minutes, until soft-boiled (or longer, if you prefer). Drain the eggs, then peel them and set aside.
Put the oats in the ginger and garlic pan with a litre of water, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. On a medium-high heat, bring to a gentle simmer, then cook, stirring occasionally, for about four minutes, until the oats are soft and take on the consistency of loose porridge (add a splash of extra water if you need to loosen it more).
Meanwhile, put the soy sauce and a generous amount of pepper in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer on a medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to low and slowly whisk in the butter cubes, two or three at a time, until just melted, before adding the next batch. Repeat until you have a well homogenised mixture, and don’t let the mix boil, or it will split.
Divide the porridge between four bowls. Top each portion with some soy butter and spring onions. Cut the eggs in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on top. Finish with the reserved ginger and garlic crumbs and a sprinkling of chilli flakes, and serve warm.
Tamarind and tomato braised chickpeas
With the help of a few simple pantry ingredients, the unassuming chickpea can be transformed into a hearty meal fit for any weeknight supper. If you want to make this with tinned chickpeas rather than dried and soaked ones, cook the sauce ingredients separately with about 600ml water until thick and rich, and add the drained tinned chickpeas for only the last 20 or so minutes. And if you can’t find tamarind, use two tablespoons of lime juice and half a teaspoon of sugar instead.
Prep 10 min
Soak 8 hr+
Cook 1 hr
400g dried chickpeas
1¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
10 dried mild red chillies, or ¾ tsp chilli flakes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp mild curry powder
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
105ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
100g tamarind block (the Thai variety), or 2½ tbsp tamarind paste
500g tomatoes, roughly grated and skins discarded (400g net weight)
2-3 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra picked leaves to serve
1½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed in a mortar
Start the night before by putting the chickpeas and a teaspoon of bicarb in a large bowl and adding enough water to cover by about 4cm. Cover with a plate and leave to soak overnight, or for at least eight hours.
Next day, drain the chickpeas and put them in a large saucepan with the remaining three-quarters of a teaspoon of bicarb, the whole chillies (or chilli flakes) and 1.8 litres water.
Bring to a boil, skimming off any froth, lower the heat to medium, then stir in the tomato paste, curry powder, three-quarters of the garlic and four tablespoons of oil. Cook for 20 minutes, then add a teaspoon and three-quarters of salt and a good grind of pepper, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the chickpeas are quite soft but not falling apart.
Meanwhile, put the tamarind in a heatproof bowl, pour over 250ml boiling water and leave to sit for 15 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze the pulp to release the seeds and extract as much flavour as possible, then strain through a sieve set over a second bowl and push down the solids, scraping them to push out as much liquid as you can; you should be left with about 140ml thick tamarind liquid. Discard the solids.
Add the tamarind liquid to the chickpeas and cook on a medium heat for seven minutes more, until the chickpeas are nice and soft, and the liquid has reduced slightly, then stir through the chopped coriander.
Drain the grated tomatoes in a sieve, discarding any excess liquid, then put the pulp in a bowl and combine with the remaining garlic, remaining three tablespoons of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper.
Stir half the grated tomato mixture into the chickpeas, then divide the stew between six bowls. Top with the remaining grated tomato, the cumin and a few coriander leaves, and serve warm.
Browned butter and lime rice pudding
This is a grown-up twist on the humble rice pudding that involves toasting and grinding some of the rice and sprinkling it on top for added texture (it’s also a great topping for yoghurt or ice-cream, incidentally). If you don’t have pudding rice, use any rice you have to hand such as basmati or jasmine.
Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
80g unsalted butter
180g pudding rice, plus 2 tbsp extra for roasting
¾ tsp flaked sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
500ml whole milk
230g condensed milk
2 limes – 1 finely zested, to get 1½ tsp, and juiced, to get 1 tbsp, the other cut into 6 wedges, to serve
1 tbsp demerara sugar, or light brown sugar
Put the butter in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, for seven to eight minutes, until it’s melted, nutty and deeply brown, then set aside.
Put the rice, half the browned butter, salt, cinnamon and 700ml water in a large, nonstick saute pan on a medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer. Turn down the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until most of the water has been absorbed and the rice is just cooked.
Add the whole milk, condensed milk and 250ml more water to the pot, and bring the mixture back to a simmer on a medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook gently, stirring from time to time, so the rice doesn’t catch, for 30 minutes, then stir in the lime juice.
Meanwhile, put the extra rice in a small frying pan on a medium-high heat, and toast, shaking the pan regularly, for five to seven minutes, until deeply browned and fragrant (you don’t want to burn it, but you do want to take it to the edge). Transfer to a spice grinder (or mortar), add the sugar and blitz (or grind) to a coarse powder (it needs some bite).
When the rice pudding is almost ready, warm the remaining brown butter on a medium heat. Transfer the rice to a large, shallow bowl and pour over the butter. Sprinkle over two tablespoons of toasted rice and all the lime zest, and serve with the remaining rice and lime wedges.