Fragrant Vegetable Curry
Curry conjures up all sorts of images depending who you are, where you’re from, what your local takeaway serves and whether or not you are fortunate enough to have friends who have been taught by their parents how to make the best tasting curries using fresh spices!
I think I’ve always liked the actual taste of curry, but my first memory of curry in the form of curry flavoured pot noodles is a far cry from what I know now is real curry! When I was at university the first time (a very long time ago)! I used to make giant batches of what I thought was curry! I was actually on a weight loss plan and my house mates were amazed that I would make a giant pan and eat it all in one sitting and still lose weight! 😋Okay, so it was basically a whole pan of (student budget) boiled vegetables – probably a whole head of broccoli, a cauliflower, carrots, onions and not much else (don’t we have so much more vegetable choice nowadays)! How did I make it into curry? Well, I just added a pre-mixed curry powder and mixed it in! I recall it being delicious but I’m certain my tastes have developed somewhat considerably since then!😂
I have several really good friends who are Bengali and when I first saw their spice cupboards and the amount of different spices which went into a simple vegetable dish I was more than amazed! I’m not suggesting you go out and buy a load of spices (yes I am really!) but the more variety you have, the greater your food will taste! The most important basic spices to have for a great curry are cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric and red chili and if that’s all you have the budget or space for, that’s what I would suggest to start with. For this recipe I actually used a seed mix called panch puran which combines fenugreek, nigella and cumin seeds with mustard and fennel seeds – its widely available in Asian stores and when the seeds crackle and pop the smell is intoxicating!
This particular curry was made for my Mum – who has only in recent years realised how delicious curry can be. I recall the first time Mum said “I went out for a curry” I almost fell of my chair in amazement! 😋I didn’t make this curry too spicy but feel free to add more of each spice if you like the heat!
Fragrant Vegetable Curry (Vegan & Free-From)
- Oil of choice
- 1 onion diced
- 1 teaspoon panch puran (or sub 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds)
- 2 potatoes peeled and diced
- 2 sweet potatoes peeled and diced
- 1/2-1 teaspoon salt (I used Maldon sea salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- small pinch of chili flakes
- 50g block of creamed coconut
- 200ml boiling water
- 1 x 400g tin chickpeas drained
- 1 large handful fresh spinach
- Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion until translucent.
- Tip the panch puran (or cumin seeds) into a space and cook for a couple of minutes until they start to pop.
- Add the potatoes, stir, then cover and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes. Check during this time and stir if necessary.
- Throw the sweet potatoes in, mix then cover again for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Sprinkle over the salt, cumin powder, coriander, turmeric and chili.
- Dissolve the creamed coconut in the water and pour into the pan.
- Stir the chickpeas in, cover and leave for 5 minutes. Taste test and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Finally add the spinach to the pan and gently stir through until wilted.
Tips & Storage
- Serve with your favourite accompaniment! Rice, bread, salad, poppadum’s.
- Turn the heat up if you like and double the quantity of all the spices.
- Whip up a quick raita using plain yogurt, salt, finely shredded cucumber and chopped mint. Serve alongside the curry.
- Make this instead of getting a takeaway and add some sides such as vegetable bhajis or lentil pakoras.
- Store any leftovers refrigerated for up to three days.