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Meatless Day Challange: Southern Indian Vegetable Curry with Curry Leaves

Posted Jan 19 2010 12:00am

For those of you who cook at lot, I believe that you have quite a collection of cookbooks at home. Some of them have been untouched; most have been browsed through, while the others have bookmarks made with torn papers so you will remember the recipe to cook for the following day or next week.

I have this cookbook by Jamie Oliver which was given to me by my sister for my birthday about 4 years ago. I try not to buy cookbooks because most of the time I don’t follow the recipe. I do get inspiration by visiting the bookstore but I do control myself not to buy anything at the moment. So, whenever I look at a recipe, whether in cookbooks, magazines or the internet, I browse through it and change everything. Well, not exactly everything. Sometimes, when you don’t have an ingredient that the recipe calls for, you have to substitute it for something else. There are times that an impromptu idea would come up and there are also days that I want to cook spontaneously without looking through the recipe and follow every measurement and ingredient, which is what happens all the time.

For this week’s meatless day challenge, I came across this recipe while searching for dishes that contain curry leaves. And I happened to have some curry leaves in the freezer that needs to be used up. I was inspired to make this dish because of the cooler weather these past few days. But every time I cook a warming dish, the weather starts to change as well. But it's a good thing that it cools down at night.

While I followed the recipe for the spices, I changed the ingredients for the vegetables. You can actually use other vegetables other than the recipe calls for. The measurements are actually approximates, by the way. I was surprised that mom went for second servings as her taste with vegetables are very oriental.

This dish is definitely in need of rice and lots of cilantro leaves.

Here’s the original recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Southern Indian Vegetable Curry with Curry Leaves
(adapted from with slight variations)

Makes 4 servings

1 large onion
2 fresh green chillies
5 oz cauliflower (about 150 grams)
5 oz pumpkin
1 large Japanese eggplant
7 oz cherry tomatoes (about 200 grams)
12 small okra
1 cup cooked chickpeas

1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cumin seeds
½ tsp garam masala
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp chilli powder
a bunch of curry leaves

2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 to 1-1/2 cup coconut milk
unrefined sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

cilantro (to serve)
cooked brown basmati rice (to serve)

Before starting, you can prepare the following ahead of time: cooking the chickpeas, blanching the tomatoes to remove the skin (optional), and squeezing out coconut milk from the coconut meat (optional).

To prepare your mise en place, first peel and slice the onion, deseed and chop the chili. De-stem the cherry tomatoes. Next, cut the cauliflower, pumpkin, eggplant into bite size pieces (cut them to make sure that they cook at the same time); Trim off the okra and gather the chickpeas.
Next, measure all the spice ingredients, remove the curry leaves off the stem, gather the coconut oil and coconut milk.

To cook the curry, heat a large heavy-bottomed pan or wok (with cover). Add the coconut oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the mustard seeds and fry until they start to pop. Lower the heat slightly and add the green chilies, curry leaves, onions, coriander, cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric and chili powder. Stir and cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the cauliflower, pumpkin, eggplant and chickpeas. Pour in 1 cup of coconut milk and bring to simmer. Lower the heat, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add in the okra. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes more until the okra is tender (but I prefer them slightly crunchy) . If the dish is a little bit dry, add more coconut milk. Season the dish with salt and pepper.

To serve the dish, transfer to large platter. Serve with cilantro and brown basmati rice. Serve immediately.


Gluten-Free; Dairy-Free; Vegan

If you like this recipe, you may also like this Chana Masala (Curried Chickpeas) from Rouxbe Online Cooking School. Chickpeas never looked this good.

Dive in and enjoy.

Love and light,

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