By Jo Cooksey
Comptons Gravy Salt is an ingredient you may not be aware of but as it is extremely versatile and useful, it is one that should be in every kitchen. It can be used to thicken, season and enhance the flavour of all manner of dishes and despite the name there are no meat products in it and so is suitable for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets.
The brand has been in existence since 1925 and is still made to the original recipe in Carlisle, Cumbria. These days, we are so used to making our gravy from granules that we forget the old ways of thickening and adding colour by using flour and gravy browning. To be honest, on a day-to-day basis I also reach for the granules but if I’m doing a ‘proper’ gravy for a roast or special occasion or if I want to thicken a casserole or soup, for instance, I still use flour and browning. In Comptons you have all those elements in one easy to use product.
Comptons challenged me to come up with a recipe that showcased the product’s versatility. Like many people, I have recently taken much more of an interest in incorporating much more by the way of plant-based meals into my diet. Discovering alternatives to meat-based proteins, as well as upping my fibre intake.
I recently worked on a charity cookbook that was made up of recipes given to us by many local, Manchester restaurants. Quite a few of them were vegetarian or vegan and one in particular I had my eye on was perfect to test Comptons. It was a recipe for a creamy Chickpea Curry, with Thai influenced flavours, given to us by The Pen and Pencil, from the Northern Quarter area of the city. Dishes that use coconut milk can sometimes look a little insipid so the (gravy) browning element of Comptons would add some depth and interest to the colour, whilst thickening and seasoning it at the same time. When I made the curry, it was so simple and quick and most importantly it was so tasty. Using Comptons definitely contributed to that, and both it and the recipe will be regulars in my kitchen.
Chickpea Curry (Serves 4)
1 x medium white onion, finely diced
1 x red chilli, finely chopped
3 x cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp medium curry powder
2 x tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g red cherry tomatoes
1 tsp Comptons Gravy Salt
1 x tin of coconut milk
1 x lime
5ml light soy sauce
5ml maple syrup
Pinch of salt & pepper
25g fresh basil
Serve with Basmati rice, naan bread or warm pitta.
1. In a medium sauce pan, heat a little olive oil before adding the diced onion, chilli and garlic.
2. Allow the onion mixture to cook slowly, without giving any colour. Add the curry powder – more if you prefer a spicier curry.
3. Turn the heat up and fry for 5 minutes, continuously stirring to stop the curry powder from burning.
4. Turn down the heat a little and mix in the chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and Comptons Gravy Salt. Stir well and slowly add the coconut milk.
5. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime, then place the rest of the lime in the pan, (we will remove this later but don’t want to lose that lovely sweet, sharpness).
6. Stir in the soy sauce and maple syrup, then adjust the seasoning to taste
7. Cover the pan and gently simmer until the chickpeas are soft, approx 20 mins.
8. Remove from the heat and using a slotted spoon, remove the lime. Add the chopped basil and stir in. Season to taste.
9. Serve with warm pitta, naan breads or basmati rice. Garnish with chopped red chilli. Enjoy!
We received a small fee for this post but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.