South Indian Vegetable Curry

April 10, 2015 | By | Reply More

vegetable curry

Where Mr. President and I live, April tends to remind you that you’re not quite “out of the woods” just yet when it comes to winter. Some days can feel like they span three entire seasons in less than 24 hours. In the morning, the sparkly frost-coated grass crunches under my feet when I venture outside with my coffee to check on the garden. By mid-day, I can be convinced that it really is spring if I sit in the bright sun long enough. At dusk, the air turns brisk again and the way the light looks just before sunset reminds me of fall.

It’s these nights that I crave a substantial, warm-me-from-the-inside kind of meal. As the pastured meat supply in our freezer dwindles, I’m reminded of all the vegetarian dishes I love. And besides, I took the Meatless Monday pledge! This stew is so full of flavor and packs a good amount of heat – it’s my favorite curry, hands down.

This is a perfect recipe with which to practice “mise en place,” – a French phrase meaning “put in place.” Basically, mise en place means getting all of your ingredients together, prepped, and organized before you start cooking. You can put chopped ingredients together in bowls in the order they are added to the dish. Mise en place is an important skill taught in culinary school and practicing it means you’ll never forget an ingredient or have to furiously chop things at the last minute while your dish is cooking.

vegetable curry

Mise en place, s’il vous plait!

While this vegetable curry is easy to make, it may require too much prep work for a busy Monday night. If you make it on Sunday, it will taste even better the next day. The bonus? This is just the thing for using those lonely ol’ sweet potatoes you’ve had in your pantry all winter.

This recipe is adapted from one I thankfully discovered in Fine Cooking.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

2 Tbsp. ghee or olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger

1 Tbsp. ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

3/4 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup coconut milk (a full-fat variety for best results)

1 cinnamon stick

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small head cauliflower, broken into medium-sized florets (about 4 cups)

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups)

1 14.5 ounce can whole tomatoes drained and chopped or 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 1 cup)

1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

6 ounces fresh spinach

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tsp. freshly grated lime zest

Chopped fresh cilantro for serving

vegetable curry

Ghee is a pantry staple

Step one:

2 Tbsp. ghee or olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh ginger

1 Tbsp. ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

3/4 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

In a large stockpot, heat the ghee over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes until it begins to brown. Reduce the heat and cook until the onion is nice and brown and very soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Then, add the spices and cook for about 30 seconds, just to toast them. Add the tomato paste and stir to blend.

vegetable curryStep two:

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup coconut milk

1 cinnamon stick

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small head cauliflower, broken into medium-sized florets

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 14.5 ounce can whole tomatoes drained and chopped or 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds

Add the vegetable stock, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add all of the vegetables and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Fish out and discard the cinnamon stick.

Step three:

1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

6 ounces fresh spinach

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tsp. freshly grated lime zest

Chopped fresh cilantro

Stir in the chickpeas, spinach, lime juice and zest and stir until spinach is wilted.  Season again with sea salt, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chopped cilantro. You can serve the stew over rice, but it certainly can stand on its own.

 

 

 

 

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Category: Food, General, Main Dishes, Recipes, Spring

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