Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Warming Veggie Curry for the New Year

After a massive eating fest during the holidays, I felt as though I should really stop eating.  Or at least stop eating what I had been.  The two grand daubes were lovely, but heavy.  The multiple potato gratins were delicious sides, but sleep inducing.  The cookies...oh the many cookies. Something has to be done.  Must eat a bit better.  Must stay away from the beastly food.
Yet, it's still winter so I need something rich and warm as well.

A nice Madras style vegetarian curry fits that bill quite nicely.

This recipe is an adaptation from a recipe on Epicurious (read: draws heavily from), but it has been altered due to my need to increase certain flavor profiles in the dish.  I needed a bit more heat, a bit more acidity, a bit more bite, a bit more garlic and so on.  The original Epicurious recipe is decent but I thought a few modifications were useful.

Ingredients

The ingredients are divided into different sections based on when they are added to the pot
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Tb ground ginger, or 2 Tb ginger paste, or 2" segment of ginger root
  • 4 Tb peanut or sunflower oil
  • 1 Tb garam masala
  • 1 Tb ground cumin
  • 1 Tb Amchoor powder (dried mango powder)
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded, chopped
  • 2 Tb tomato paste
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 2 makrut/kaffir lime leaves
  • 6 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1 # sweet potatoes / yams, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 # potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 2 tomatoes, cored, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz spinach leaves
  • 1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

Build the Curry

  •  Combine the first 8 ingredients into a food processor and blend to a paste.  Stop periodically and use a spatula to push down escapees into the bottom of the processor to make sure everything is nice and smooth.
  • Heat a large enameled pot over medium heat.  Add the curry paste.  Spread the paste across the bottom of the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes until fairly aromatic, stirring fairly frequently to make sure the paste does not burn. 
  • Add the tomato paste and mix thoroughly.  Continue to cook and stir for another 5 minutes until the curry paste is fairly brown.
 
  • Add the next 4 ingredients and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Scrape the bottom of the pot to incorporate any of the bits of curry paste which had stuck to the bottom.

Cook the Veggies

  • Add sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, salt, and pepper to mixture in pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.
  • Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve some lovely basmati rice.

 Couple Notes

  • One of the things that I added to the Epicurious recipe is Amchoor Powder.  It has a nice little citrousy bite from the dried mango that I felt the curry paste was lacking on previous attempts.  
  • One thing I have added but didn't was curry leaves.  You can definitely add them during the stewing period (like the makrut lime leaves), but I didn't in this case.  Experiment away if you'd like.
  • Speaking of which...Makrut lime leaves.  When you find fresh ones and you use them and you have some left over, freeze them.  They hold up to freezing quite well.  Much better than if you leave them in your fridge and forget about them.  They will be pretty dried and nasty if you just refrigerate instead of freeze.

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