Vegetable curry is a great option when you don’t feel like venturing to the shops to buy special ingredients for dinner. Our pantry shelves are always stocked with the spices we need; and there’s alway tins of chickpeas and lentils hanging around to bulk it out; so as long as you have a few vegetables in the fridge, dinner suddenly becomes easy.
It wasn’t that long ago that the suggestions of a meal focusing solely on vegetables would have been shouted down. Admittedly I would largely ignore the protests and point out that if you like potato or carrot, or pumpkin or green beans, then you can just eat those. This strategy meant that the end product would often be loaded with the preferred vegetable, leaving the not-so-fussy-eaters to eat what was rejected. With the addition of a tin of chickpeas or lentils, there was suddenly even more that they would eat. Food for families is always a balance, finding ways to accommodate the varying stages of ‘I don’t like that’, which seems to develop even though they’ve never tried it.
And the good news is, they grow out of it and the crazy balancing act disappears. Foods that were rejected as kids are suddenly favourites and comments like: ‘I can’t believe I used to hate this’, will start to be made. Interestingly, it was never the flavours they rejected, but rather what was lurking below. So, vegetable curry is especially good when they are big and you can add what ever vegetables you like.
This curry uses all the ground spices you would expect: cumin, coriander, turmeric etc, but it also includes whole cardamon pods and peppercorns. The only problem with this is someone is sure to grumble when they inadvertently bite down on a cardoon pod, leaving the rest of the table laughing at their expense. The sauce is made up of a tin of crushed tomatoes and coconut milk, which makes it just a bit more creamy in texture. I don’t add the vegetables all at once but add them as I chop them. So while the spices are cooking add the hard vegetables (potato, then carrot, followed by the pumpkin), then throw in the softer ones that don’t need as much cooking. I always recruit a stirrer for this part, so that nothing catches on the bottom of the pan while I’m chopping the vegetables. And you guessed it: leftovers in puff pastry! Is that a curry pie or a curry puff? Enjoy!
- 1 tbs oil
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp black peppercorns
- 4 green cardamon pods
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp garam masala
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- a knob of ginger, grated
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 270ml tin coconut milk
- vegetables of choice chopped into small chunks (1 large potato, 1 carrot, small piece of pumpkin, 1 zucchini, capsicum,few green beans, 4-5 mushrooms quartered)
- coriander leaves, to garnish
- basmati rice to serve
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cardamon pods and turmeric for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and fry until the onion changes colour, stirring so that it doesn't burn.
- Stir in the cumin, coriander, garam masala and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time so the spices don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the chopped vegetables and stir to coat with the spice mixture.
- Add the tomatoes and coconut milk and mix through. Simmer over a low heat until the vegetables are cooked through. Season to taste.