Indian Vegetarian Curry

I often pre-cut vegetables and freeze them. This allows you to make a wonderful dinner at the last minute, when most of the work has been done, without compromising the taste and texture.
The ultimate tip is to make your sauce before you incorporate your vegetables. No more tasteless curries with mushy vegetables.

Prepare the sauce before incorporating the vegetables. This will create a very tasty curry without overcooking the vegetables.
Like Chinese food, it is all in the preparation or what we call, mise en place. Cut up all your vegetables in advance and most importantly, the same size, so they can cook at the same time.
A tip from an Indian Chef. heat up your pan, until blistering hot, then pour the oil and wait, wait, wait, until it is very, very hot. Then you can saute your aromates and onions, until, almost caramelized, THIS is what makes a curry flavoursome.
You can cheat and include frozen green peas and beans. It works very well, as long as you add them at last minute and do not overcook them.

INGREDIENTS
4 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
4 Cloves
6 Green Cardamom slightly crushed
1 5cm Cinnamon Stick
3 Whole Star Anis
8 Curry Leaves (you can use dry leaves/I keep fresh leaves in the freezer at all times)
1 Large Onion chopped
1 5cm Piece Fresh Ginger crushed
4 Cloves Garlic, crushed
4 full Tablespoon Mild Curry Paste
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
1 Teaspoon Five-Spice Pwder
400 Gr. Canned Tomatoes – Crushed or chopped
2 cups of warm water
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh Coriander leaves to garnish at the end.
3 Small potatoes cut in bite size pieces
1 Sweet Potato cut in bite size pieces
1/2 Cauliflower cut in small florets
2 Cups of Green beans (frozen is perfectly fine)
1 Cup of Green Peas (frozen is also perfectly fine)
2 Carrots cut in halves and sliced diagonally
1 -2 Cups of Cooked Chick Peas – You can obviously use canned chick peas. I prefer to cook mine, as they are much firmer and seem meatier. If you use canned peas, include the liquid as well, it is full of flavour.

METHOD
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the cardamoms, cinnamon stick, star anise and curry leaves until the cloves swell and the curry leaves are slightly burnt.
Add the onion, ginger and garlic and fry until the onions turn brown. Add the curry paste, turmeric and five-spice powder and fry until the oil separates.
If you make a chicken curry, you can add the pieces right after and start the cooking process. Otherwise, add the chopped tomatoes and water.
Let the mixture cook for 10 -15 minutes, until the tomates are cooked and the liquid is starting to thicken. It is well worth the wait, to ensure the sauce has plenty of flavours and has a good consistency.
Taste the broth, it should be quite spicy and full of all flavours. You can add an additional tablespoon of curry paste if not hot enough.
Add the vegetables and cook everything for 10 minutes – The vegetables should still be firm to the tooth.
You can of course, prepare everything in the morning so the curry has time to steep and exude all its flavours.
Serve very hot and garnish with coriander leaves.

TIP DU JOUR :
Wait until your pan is very very hot, before adding the oil.
Wait until the oil starts to smoke before adding your spices.
Cook the sauce for 10 – 15 minutes, until it has a chance to thicken a little bit
and you can really taste all the flavours. THIS is essential to a tasty curry.
When preparing your vegetables, you can double the recipe and freeze half the vegetables for a further use. This tip was given to me from an Indian Chef. Better to freeze the vegetables raw than already cooked.
Since the vegetables are cooked al dente, you can safely freeze the curry for a future use.
You can also add A Squash, Pumpkin cut in pieces. A great addition.

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