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Chickpea, Lentil, Peppers, Garam Masala and Almond Winter Salad

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This is an adaption of a truly awesome salad originally created by Chris Honor. Chris is an Aussie chef running this amazing little café in London called Chriskitch. Check out the cook book of the same name – it will become one of your go-to recipe books. The idea, as with most of Chris’ cooking, is to get a balance of sweet and spicy flavours, alongside soft and crunchy textures. It is an intriguing pairing of different ethnic ingredients, a kind of India comes to Europe on a platter. It really works and it has become one of my go to salads. If you have any doubts about salad as a meal, check out Jay Raynor’s review of Chriskitch….” For me, making a salad has always been the thing you do after you've done the cooking. Then I dragged my sorry arse to Muswell Hill, met the salads made by Chris Kitch and understood that I was wrong….”

Serves 4-6

400g Puy lentils

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 or 6 mini peppers, red and orange mixed

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons garam masala

2 small red apples

2 radishes sliced thinly

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 x 400g can of chickpeas, drained

80g whole almonds

100g baby spinach leaves

a few sprigs of fresh mint, leaves stripped and torn

fine sea salt

3 chicken thigh fillets seasoned with 1 tablespoon of garam masala (for a vegetarian version replace the chicken with 180g of feta)

3 tablespoons mango chutney

balsamic vinegar, to serve

Pre heat the oven to 200° C.

Mix the chickpeas with a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of garam masala. Place on a tray and roast for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Pan fry the chicken fillets in a tablespoon of plain oil in a non-stick pan, 8-10 minutes each side. Allow to cool and the slice. Keep the pan for frying the peppers in.

Place the almonds on a tray and roast for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Chop the almonds.

Cook the lentils according to the packet instructions, then drain and set aside to cool.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in the same pan you used to cook the chicken, add the peppers and cook over a high heat until they soften. Add 2 teaspoon of garam masala, then lower the heat and continue cooking, stirring, for another minute or so. Remove from the heat.

Cut the apples into batons – use a mandolin if you have one or your sharpest knife. Put them into a bowl and add lemon juice.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the lentils, chickpeas, spiced peppers, almonds, apples, radish spinach, mint and a good pinch of salt and toss gently with your hands to combine.  Mound up on a platter and top with the chicken. Drizzle over the mango chutney, add a few splashes of balsamic and serve. 




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