With summer here and the sun warming our days & lives, I find the responsibilities of life fading away as I drift into a permanent state of summer vacations. Suddenly, errands & cleaning schedules have taken the back seat to outings & tanning. This of course, caught up with me only after three days, and it was all too late to catch up when I realized how long I had avoided laundry and how empty the fridge was. Reality check!
To prepare a quick lunch for my currently stay-at-home husband, I made a small inventory of what I had and headed to my trustworthy inspiration site, Pinterest. Turns out I had everything I needed for a delicious vegan curry, which was perfect for just us two! This particular version is an adaptable one pot curry, which means that with more or less the same sequence of steps, you can make so many different curries! The key elements include the base, the spices, and the bulk ingredients, and below I will detail a bit more of which of these you can alternate for a variety of yummy curries.
Like I’ve explained in one of my previous recipes, Chicken Tikka Masala, the British have adopted Indian cuisine as their own, making dishes such as curries part of their own culture. Anglo-Indian cuisine developed during the British Raj in India, as the British wives interacted with their Indian cooks. It was officially brought to England in the 1930’s by the Veeraswamy restaurant, which since its unusual opening in 1926 by an English General & an Indian Princess, has been offering the finest classical Indian cuisine embracing contemporary discoveries. It was recognized with a Michelin star in 2017.
Another important thing to note is that India is the second largest producer of potato – really?? There was a period a couple of hundred years back when a series of natural calamities left the land impoverished in the Gangetic belt. Potato, which came from the unaffected hill regions provided much nourishment, and in many cases even substituted meat in general. Since potatoes contain a good amount of carbs, people lived healthily on a diet of potatoes and milk, the two main ingredients of most of the Indian dishes.
For the Curry
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of mustard
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 thumb of ginger, finely grated
- 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
- 5 medium baking potatoes, cut into cubes, parboiled
- 1 large plantain, cut into cubes, parboiled
- 1/2 can (200g) of chopped tomatoes
- 1 can (400g) of coconut milk
- 1/2 can (200ml) of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
- Fresh coriander, for garnishing
Start by steaming or boiling the potatoes for about 8 minutes to parboil them. This recipe also works with a number of alternate bulk ingredients. For vegan curries, you could also use a can of chickpeas, butternut squash, or lentils! The base & spices are the norm for these curries, so play around with different ingredients – I added plantain to this particular version for an added sweetness…it was great!
In a large pot, heat the oil over high heat. Fry the mustard and cumin seeds. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions. Sweat them for about 5 minutes. Add the ginger & garlic and fry for another 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the bulk ingredient – in my case, potatoes & plantain!
Add the liquids: tomatoes, coconut milk, & water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for as long as 20 minutes. Be sure to check how the potatoes are doing ever so often, you don’t want them to be too hard or too mushy. Sprinkle with garam masala and season with salt & lemon juice to taste. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice, naan bread, & additional lemon wedges!