1 February 2014

Chicken in Green Sauce with Sprouted Chickpeas and Fenugreek


Since I started using my sprouter, I've been purchasing all sorts of seeds, nuts and pulses to try out. It's exciting and I suspect I'm well stocked already for the rest of the year.

Now, sunflower seeds have become a staple in our salads and Lundulph seems to like them too. But apart from that, I'm experimenting. I bought a bag of black onion seeds, because I thought it would be nice with a mild onion flavour in the salad, but sadly they didn't sprout. The latest seeds I tried were chickpeas and fenugreek, both of which worked very well. I had some doubts about the chickpeas - they were so dry and hard and I know that in Bulgaria they are roasted and ground and used as a coffee substitute, but isn't it amazing what a few hours of soaking does to a viable seed? Actually, the sprouting book said soak for 8 h, then sprout for 2 - 5 days. The packet said soak for 18 h, then sprout for 3 days. So I tried both and can reveal that the ones soaked for 8 h sprouted a bit better, perhaps because they had those 10 extra h for sprouting. Other than that, I didn't notice any difference in taste, so 8 h it'll be in the future too.

The fenugreek seeds were interesting - not only do they smell like they should be in a curry, but they have a weird shape too, so you wonder if it really is seeds you have or something fabricated and shaped in that way. But they did sprout and well too. We had some in our salad the other day, which was OK. However, I think they are better in a curry.

So yesterday I decided to do just that. Now that I'm clearing out the freezer, I discovered a bag full of puréed ginger, shaped in ice cubes and frozen ready for use. And also some baked elephant garlic, conveniently sliced. When I found these, I realised it's been ages since I made a curry from Mridula Baljekar's book.

Flicking through the pages, there were several recipes that looked nice, in the end I decided on the one called Chicken in Green Sauce or Hariyali Murgh. But with a number of alterations, partly due to lack of the right ingredients and partly additions, as I wanted to use up the chickpea and fenugreek sprouts.

3 - 4 portions

30 g fresh coriander
6 green finger chillies, stalks removed
10 - 12 pickled onions, roughly the size of a medium sized fresh onion
2 tsp dried mint
4 slices of elephant garlic, each about the size of a regular clove
6 tbsp of puréed ginger
125 g canned tomatoes, without the juice
55 g plain yoghurt
500 g chicken breasts
0.5 tsp hot chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
4 green cardamom pods
4 tbsp sprouted fenugreek seeds
3 dl sprouted chickpeas
salt to taste


  1. Wash the fresh coriander and finger chillies and cut into smaller pieces and place in a deep bowl. Rinse the pickled onions and quarter, then add to the bowl.
  2. Add the mint, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and yoghurt to the bowl, then blend until smooth. Transfer to a large non-stick pan.
  3. Trim the chicken breasts if needed, then cut into bite-sized chunks and add to the pan along with the remaining spices except the salt.
  4. Place the pan on high heat and stir through to mix everything. Let fry for about 5 minutes until the chicken turns opaque.
  5. Now cover the pan and turn down the heat to low, then let simmer for 20 - 25 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid, turn up the heat to medium and add the sprouts and salt and let cook for a further 5 - 6 minutes.
  7. Serve with pita bread.

OK, so there's nothing green in the photo of my curry, I think it's because I only used coriander stalks, having used the leaves for the look-a-like tabbouleh the other day and stalks are much paler. Using dried mint, instead of fresh also contributed to the lack of green-ness. But it's Winter and so our mint plants are dormant, I must remember to pick some and freeze this year. If using fresh mint, use 15 - 20 leaves. It still turned out to be one wonderfully tasty curry.

When it comes to the pickled onions and canned tomatoes, well, I thought I had fresh onions, but no, so I had to resort to the pickled ones. But I'm glad to have used them up, they were tasty, but would have lived in the fridge for a long time. As for the tomatoes, I did have fresh ones, but wanted to keep them for our salads, now that we're having salad for dinner every other day.

Lundulph wasn't too keen on the chickpea sprouts, he reckons the texture was wrong for a curry, he would have liked them more "cooked". That can be amended by adding them a bit earlier, I wanted to try and preserve the freshness of the sprouts as much as possible. Personally, I quite liked the extra crunch.

Next up for the sprouter are two types of lentils. I'll start them off tomorrow night and have them ready for next week-end.

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