Indian Vegetarian Curry

I was going to make my first food post about the dinner tart we made the other night, but I need to do some more work on the recipe.  So here it is: my first food post.

We often make a variation of this simple Indian curry – it’s meatless, yet hearty and rich.  The flavor ends up being fairly complex without getting out of hand, due to a myriad of spices we end up using.  We love this in the winter, and hope you enjoy it.  By the way, it’s called a curry, but it doesn’t actually contain curry powder.  The turmeric and other spices do the trick.

FYI, this makes a big pot of stew, which easily serves our family of 2 adults and 2 kids twice.  So if you enjoy leftovers for lunch or supper next day, this is a great amount – if not, feel free to play with the amounts.  It’s pretty hard to screw this recipe up, and we’ve often toyed around with it – leaving things out or adding things in.  Have fun with it!  Another reason we love this recipe is it typically comes out quite saucy, which is great to serve over rice and that takes care of a simple, quick supper.

Ingredients:
canola oil
1 large yellow onion, diced – we usually don’t dice it too small – this would be a matter of preference though
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled & grated (I’d say about 1 tbsp. when you’re done)
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth – this recipe also works with vegetable stock – thanks Janelle!
1 cup coconut milk (you can also use milk or cream – it’s far better with coconut milk)
A cinnamon stick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper – we always use sea salt, again a preference
4 cups of cauliflower florets – we don’t always have cauliflower on hand – optional
Roughly 3 cups of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes – we usually do 1″ cubes max
2 medium tomatoes – these need to be cored and seeded and then chopped – it can be rough chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds (about 1 cup) – don’t make the rounds thicker than 1/2″
1 can lentils (chickpeas) – obviously drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro – lots of cilantro haters out there – it’s a must though

In any heavy-duty pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook
until it starts to brown, 3 – 4 minutes – you’ll want to be stirring a lot. Bring the heat down to medium (or medium low if necessary) and continue to cook until the onion is fully browned – usually about 5 – 7 minutes longer. Add the garlic and ginger and keep cooking the mix for a minute or so.  This lets those flavors blend nicely.  You’ll also want to continue stirring a lot.  At this point, add the coriander, cumin, turmeric and cayenne – and give it a good stir again.  Add the tomato paste and stir until it’s blended with the spices really well – take about a minute of stirring.

Now add the broth, coconut milk, the cinnamon stick, about a tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp.
pepper and bring the whole shebang to a boil. Bring the heat down to medium low or low and simmer for 10 minutes.  This is when the smell will get irresistible.

Add the cauliflower (if you’re using it), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots. Crank up the heat again to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil.  And now, for the last time (I promise) bring the heat down to medium low, cover your pot, and just let it simmer until the vegetables are tender – strangely, we find this varies but usually they’re good in about 20 – 25 minutes. You can ditch the cinnamon stick now – it’s done its work.

Stir in the chickpeas, lime juice, and the zest.  We always taste it at this point and season to our preference with salt.  Now we most often just stir in the cilantro right at the end, but you can also serve it with the cilantro as a garnish, or leave it out if you’re weird.

Absolutely no reason to go through more work than what I’ve written here – serve it on a good quality white basmati rice.

The verdict:  this recipe is as easy as it gets, but I’d rate it easy to medium only because of the increased effort while you’re continuously adding ingredients and bringing the heat up and down.  We absolutely love this recipe – we’ve fiddled around with adding green beans, using cream instead of coconut milk, etc.  I feel it is definitely worth the effort, and as I’ve already mentioned – we would make it again, and we have.  Finally, our kids’ reactions:  Abigail – she eats most things and enjoys them – she loves it, but always finds it a bit spicy.  Amalie – she’s pickier and she doesn’t enjoy this recipe – anything with a bit of a kick doesn’t work for her.  Let me know what you think of this recipe and we’d love to hear about any variations that you’ve tried that worked.

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About Wildsau

I’ve been a cliched happily-married husband for over 10 years, father to 2 girls and 1 boy. I’m an outspoken guy, Apple evangelist, car freak, mini-van driver and a seeker of justice for the people. I’m a proud lifelong resident of Edmonton, AB and love my Edmonton Oilers. I truly enjoy a good coffee, especially paired with conversation, and I’ll take a piece of pie any time. I'm starting to enjoy quality teas lately but that's probably my age. My wife and I love cooking, creating gourmet experiences and sharing them with people, whether it’s in person or with pictures. My career allows me to work with people at their most vulnerable, and I appreciate their trust in me. I try to exercise empathy in life, as I realize I could easily be walking a mile in someone else’s shoes before I know it. Follow me on Twitter at @Wildsau if you’re interested in my daily blathering. But buckle up and be forewarned, it’s not for the faint of heart at times.
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