25 September 2011

I Needed A Fix Of Vegetable Curries

I Needed A Fix Of Vegetable Curries

A Glut Of Vegetables From Riverford Farm

I’ve been remarkably uninspired recently, cooking for fuel and nothing special.  However, this weekend saw a bit of space in the hurried ferrying around of kids, allowing some time to think rather than simply cook to feed the gannets – usually, a rushed matter of speed and practical cooking.  It coincided with a glut of vegetables courtesy of Riverfood Organic from our weekly box scheme.  I fancied vegetarian food and something spicy.

The first thing I came up with was a Tofu & Tomato Curry and then secondly a Keralan Style Vegetable Curry.   These were eaten with a classic dhal and saffron rice.  All were packed full of a broad range of classic Indian spices – earthy flavours from coriander, cumin and turmeric, then rich sweetness via the cardamom and cloves.  In the Keralan Curry I used a bit of asafoetida to give the curry a curious onion-like spiciness.  Then in the Tofu & Tomato Curry, I added some extra texture through black mustard and black onion seeds (often called nigella or black seed) and some fruitiness through lemon and orange juice.

Starting with the Tofu & Tomato Curry, I started with the curry spiced tomato sauce, while preparing the tofu.  Then made the Keralan Style Vegetable Curry while preparing the dhal.  These recipes are given below.

Tofu & Tomato Curry

Tofu And Tomato Curry

250g / 9oz Tofu (when wet)

1tbsp Sunflower oil

80g / 2¾oz Onion, finely chopped

2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped

400g / 14oz Tinned tomatoes

2tsp Turmeric

2tsp Coriander seed powder

1tsp Cumin powder

¼tsp Chilli powder (optional or more if you can take the heat)

1tsp Black onion seeds

1tsp Black mustard seeds

Juice of ½ lemon

Juice of ½ orange

1tsp Garam masala

1tbsp Chopped fresh coriander leaves

Prepare the tofu by putting the tofu in a bowl, then place a plate on top of it together with some weights.  This will squeeze most of the water out of the tofu, giving a better texture to the tofu.  As the tofu dries out, pour off the water.  When dried through, chop the tofu into chunky 5cm pieces.

Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy based pot.  When heated up, put the onion and garlic into the pan and cook until translucent.  This will take around 4 – 5 minutes.  As they turn clearer, add the ground spices and stir into the onion-garlic mix.  Cook for around 1 minutes, then add the tinned tomatoes.  Cook the tomato mixture for 5 minutes.  At this stage, your need to blitz the tomato sauce either using a hand held blender or transferring the sauce to a food blender and whizzing it up.  When smooth, transfer the sauce back to the pot.

At this stage, add the black onion seeds, black mustard seeds and fruit juices to the sauce and cook for 2 minutes.   Add the tofu chunks and simmer for 10 minutes.  Around 2 minutes before the end, add the garam masala and the chopped coriander leaves.

Keralan Style Vegetable Curry

Keralan Vegetable Curry

2tbsp Sunflower oil

½ Onion, chopped finely

125g / 4½oz Cauliflower florets

125g / 4½oz Green beans (I used a mix of fine and chunkier beans)

125g / 4½oz Carrots

250g / 9oz Potatoes

1tsp Coriander powder

1tsp Turmeric

400ml / 14 fl oz / 1¾ cups Coconut milk

Juice of ½ lemon

2tbsp Chopped freshly cut coriander leaves


3 Tomatoes, chopped roughly

2 Cloves of garlic, chopped roughly

1tsp Cardamom powder

½tsp Cloves powder

1tsp Turmeric

1tsp Coriander powder

¼tsp Chilli powder (optional or more if you can take the heat)

¼tsp Asafoetida (optional)

1tsp Garam masala

Pinch of sea salt

2tbsp water

Prepare the vegetables as follows: break small florets from the main head of the cauliflower; chop the green beans to about 3cm long pieces; chop the carrots to 3cm chunks; cut the potatoes into 5cm chunks and keep fresh under some cold water in a bowl.

Start by preparing the sauce.  Put the tomatoes, garlic, spices and the water into a food blender or bowl, then using a hand blender or the Magimix, blitz it all up to a smooth sauce.  Set aside for a bit.

Add the sunflower oil to a heavy bottomed casserole pot.  When hot turn down the heat, add the onion and cook gently for 3 – 4 minutes until translucent.  Add the spices and stir into the onion, then put in the carrot pieces and the tomato sauce.  Put the top onto the pot and cook at a gentle simmer for 2 – 3 minutes, then add the potato chunks.  Cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the green beans and cauliflower and stir in.  Pour in the coconut milk and heat the curry to a boil, then put on the lid and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes until all the vegetables are soft.  About 2 minutes from the end, add the lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves, stirring in.

South Indian Vegetable Curry