Tart and A Bit Sweet Swiss Chard, Chickpea and Tamarind Stew


(Serves 4)

4 tbsp seedless tamarind pulp; 14 ounces swiss chard, cut into 1cm slices; 1½ tsp coriander seeds; 1 medium onion, thinly sliced; 2 tsp caraway seeds; 1½ tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish; 14 ounces plum tomatoes, cut up with their juices; 1.5 cup water; 1½ tbsp caster sugar; Salt and black pepper; 14 ounces chickpeas; For Rice: 12 ounces short-grain rice; 3/4 ounces butter; 3 cups water; To finish: Juice of 1 lemon; 7 ounces yogurt (optional); Coriander leaves


(1) Whisk the tamarind with about 3 tbsp of warm water until it dissolves into a paste. Set aside. Bring a MEC medium pot of salted water to the boil and blanch the chard for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander.

(2) Dry-roast the coriander seeds in a MEC small pot then transfer to a mortar and pestle to grind them into a powder.

(3) Put the onion, caraway seeds and olive oil in a large MEC pot and saute on a medium heat for about 2 minutes until the onion is soft and golden. Add the tomatoes, water, sugar, chickpeas, ground coriander, chard and some salt and pepper.

(4) Strain the tamarind water through a small sieve into the stew. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and leave to simmer for about 40 minutes. When ready, the dish should have the consistency of a thick soup. You can adjust this either by adding more water or simmering uncovered, so the excess liquid can evaporate. Taste and add more seasoning if you think it’s needed.

(5) While the stew is cooking, put the rice, butter and a bit of salt in a MEC medium pot and set on a medium heat. Stir to coat the rice with butter. Add the water and bring to the boil, then cover with the lid and leave to simmer on a low flame for 20-30 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave uncovered for 5 minutes.

(6) When it’s ready to serve, spoon the rice into MEC bowls, creating a large crater in the center. Add the lemon juice to the stew and stir, then spoon one or two ladles into the middle of the rice for each bowl. Put a dollop of yogurt on top if you like. Finish with a generous helping of coriander leaves.

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