Possibly the only good thing about Mummy having a cold (apart from staying home during the day and playing with her baby birdie) is the fact that she found herself making a more conscious than usual effort to cook something healthy and nourishing. So, in between sniffles, Mummy and Chef Gerald decided that a mixed vegetable curry would make the whole day look a lot brighter and more cheerful.
Unfortunately for us, we don’t have a curry tradition running in our family. Which means that we haven’t been able to learn a centuries old authentic recipe from grandma or any other trusted family member, but on he positive side, it also means that we feel free and indeed even obliged to do some experimenting along the way 🙂
We have given up buying ready-made curry paste a long time ago, mainly because of the Lonely Jar Syndrome. Does anyone else suffer from this? If unsure, the clinical symptoms below might help you decide if you have ever been affected:
1) Decide on a nice curry recipe – that just happens to require anywhere between 2 tbsp and 1/2 cup of a certain type of curry paste
2) Purchase said curry paste. It just so happens that it comes in a pretty jar. Net weight: 375g.
3) Above-mentioned curry recipe is followed – lovely dinner, might not have another curry for the next few weeks though.
4) Half full jar of curry paste becomes hopelessly abandoned in the fridge for several weeks.
5) By the end of this transition period, the integrity of its contents become increasingly doubtful, and
6) After several attempts at interpreting the small print on the label and lengthy debates between Mummy and Daddy about the fine nuances of meaning between “use by” and “best before”, Mummy would decide that it’s safer to dispose of the whole thing altogether.
Fortunately though, since our spices and cookbook collections have been growing at a steady pace lately, we have “discovered” that some of the most popular types of curry paste are actually made from a mixture of (real!!!) ingredients already residing in our pantry. Liberated from the tyranny of the lonely jar, we can now make as much or as little curry paste as we need.
Vegetable Tikka Recipe
The paste was inspired by the tikka paste recipe in a book called The World’s Greatest Ever Curries:
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
Squeeze of lemon juice
3 tsp white wine vinegar
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. The paste will still look quite dry at this stage, however you will have enough liquid in the dish to compensate. Otherwise, add a little olive oil and mix until the paste has reached your desired consistency.
For the vegetable curry:
2 tbps olive oil
2 medium or 1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400g tin light coconut milk
1 tsp sugar (optional)
3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
200 g small brown mushrooms, quartered
1 red capsicum, cored and diced
2 baby eggplants, sliced into 1 cm rounds
3 yellow squash, quartered
200 g Brussels sprouts, outer leaves discarded, base trimmed
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped, to garnish
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the onion and garlic and cook on high heat for 1- 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the mushrooms, increase the heat and cook for a further 2 -3 minutes, until the mushrooms have changed colour and have started releasing their juices.
Add the curry paste, coconut milk and 250 ml water (or stock if you prefer), stir and bring to the boil.
Add all vegetables except the Brussels sprouts to the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 – 12 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for a further 6 -7 minutes.
Add the sugar (if using) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with coriander and serve with steamed rice or naan bread. Serves 4.