As a devoted carnivore I was a little skeptical when first asked to cook a vegetable curry. I had to resist my innate response to hurl a cookbook across the room! It is not that I don’t appreciate and enjoy vegetarian food when it is thrust in front of me, rather I do not enjoy cooking it (this dish being the exception to the rule)!
For those that like their curries mild and aromatic – this is the one. Beautifully subtle with a noticeable kick of chilli. It is light yet rich and incredibly versatile – you are free to go wild on the choice of vegetables. Despite the terrifying number of ingredients it is surprisingly simple.
(It would work wonderfully with seafood and chicken too!)
For the spice blend: 10 Cardamom Pods, 4 tsp Ground Coriander, 2 tsp Cumin Seeds, 1 inch Cinnamon Stick, 20 Black Peppercorns, 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds, 5 Cloves
For the curry base: 2 tbsp Veg Oil, Large Piece Ginger (Finely Chopped), 2 Garlic Cloves (Finely Chopped), 2 Medium Red Chillies (Seeds Removed and Chopped), 2 Medium Onions (Chopped), 2 Bay Leaves, Sea Salt
To Finish: 2 Courgettes (Diced), 2 Medium Aubergines (Diced), 1/2 Large Cauliflower (Cut into Florets), 100g Button Mushrooms (Halved), 150g Cherry Tomatoes (Halved), 2 Tins Coconut Milk, 1 Cup Hot Water, Juice 1 Lime, Handful Coriander Leaves (Chopped), Sea Salt
1) Make the spice blend by toasting all of the spices in a dry pan on low for 5 minutes. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind to a powder.
2) Begin the curry by sweating the spice mix with the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli in the veg oil for 5 minutes.
3) Add the coconut milk and hot water and allow to come to a simmer. Add all of the prepared vegetables except the tomatoes and cover. Cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked. Remember to stir occasionally.
4) Stir through the tomatoes, lime juice and coriander and season to taste before serving.
Best served with basmati rice and chapatis. Enjoy!