Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eat: Delicious Veggie Curry

Recently, my husband and I hosted a dinner party with exclusively vegetarian guests. Such ingredient limitations presented a good opportunity to try out a vegetable-based dish. What’s more, I knew that these particular friends were all culinarily open-minded and would enjoy something a bit more exotic. The final result was this week’s recipe, Vegetable Curry. In Western cultures, “curry” tends to be used as a general term for dishes hailing from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, or other Southeast Asian areas. A wide range of spices can be used in algorithmic ways to create an array of flavors. This particular recipe features turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and yellow curry powder. I think this recipe is a great introductory dish for those who are tepid about curries since the flavor is full but not overpowering. It also has a nice cilantro-yogurt sauce that is a cinch to make and offers a cool creaminess to the meal.

I suppose I should mention that I have historically been quick to identify myself as a carnivore. However, I have gradually been drawn to more and more vegetable-based dishes. If my veggie pursuits continue to turn out as fantastic as this one did, I may find myself roaming the produce section more often.

TIME: 30 minutes prep + 5-6 hours cooking
YIELDS: 6-8 servings
MY SOUNDTRACK: Vampire Weekend


½ cup of fat free plain yogurt
2-3 tablespoons of dried cilantro (or ¼ cup fresh)
1 ½ teaspoons lime or lemon juice
1 of clove garlic, finely chopped
dash of salt
dash of freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerated until served.

Additional garnishes include raisins or sweet chutneys like mango or apricot.

Vegetable Curry…

2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of yellow curry powder
½ teaspoon of ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium eggplant, cubed (1”)
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 cup sliced ( ¼“ ) baby-cut carrots
15oz. can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of pepper
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 cups uncooked brown rice or couscous

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the onion is translucent, add your garlic and cook a few more minutes while continuing to stir. Blend in the curry powder, turmeric, cinnamon and red pepper. Stir the mixture over heat for an additional 30 seconds.

Note: be careful when handling turmeric as it can stain skin, clothing, and even countertops! Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way…

2. Coat a 3-quart slow cooker with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Combine all of the ingredients (including the onion mixture) in the slow cooker, leaving out the spinach and rice.

3. Cover and cook on low setting for 5 to 6 hours. Approximately 5 to 10 minutes before serving, add the spinach to the curry.

4. Prepare the rice or couscous per packaging directions. I made brown rice which took 40 minutes to cook. Stir the curry before serving over a place of rice or couscous; top with sauce.

This week’s recipe can be found on Betty Crocker’s wonderful website!

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