Stuff the pot–and your belly–with roots, stems and tubers with this easy curry recipe.
It’s a real winter here this year. Steady days of cold, sun and snow just the way I like it. Also, that means any time is time for stew.
Not surprisingly, my go-to is beef stew. (Here are some great beef stew tips from Serious Eats if you go that route.)
Since I’m always looking to change things up (yup, “variety” is my middle name), the last carrots from our garden, a week-old half head of cauliflower, kohlrabi and some kale stalks (yes, I am that cook who saves them all in the name of food waste reduction) set me on a different stew route.
Many types of vegetable curry
Really, it all started at the doctor’s office (not sick, just acupuncture) when the receptions asked for my last name.
“Curry,” I said. “Like the spice mix.”
“Oh, that’s my favorite dish,” she said, reminding me of how curry is so very many things–a varying combination of spice mixtures from mellow to fiery and spiced Indian meals to Thai red and yellow curries.
She chuckled at herself and said, “People probably say that to you all the time.”
“Actually, they don’t.” Funny that, and the fact that I don’t even think about how my name is associated with food very often.
Yes, I thought, looking at my sad assemblage of vegetables crying to be cooked a few days later. It is most definitely time to make curry. A very loose take on Indian curry using my favorite homemade curry powder blend.
Indian vegetable curry
I first made this easy, use-what-you-have, vegan curry stew last summer. We were camping in the foothills of Washington’s North Cascade mountains during a weekend when all it did was rain. Our annual get-together with five families and enough dietary restrictions to go around. When it was my turn to make lunch, I decided to warm everyone up with a heaping pot of vegetable curry cooked in coconut milk and served over steamed basmati rice.
By the magic we call cooking (really, isn’t it wild when you think about it how transformative cooking is–even, sometimes, for the cook?), stewing even the most marginal vegetables in flavorful coconut milk gives them new life.
And you get an easy but memorable meal that’s warming and nourishing. Just what everyone needs right about now, I think.
Vegetable Curry Stew
This is a use-what-you-have stew of mixed root (and other seasonal) vegetables, Choose at least three different types (cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, broccoli stems, kale or chard stalks, kohlrabi, celery root, rutabaga, turnip, etc.).
Serve this stew in bowls on its own or over steamed basmati rice. If you'd like to include a protein, add 1 to 2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, tofu cubes or diced raw chicken breast during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 8 cups mixed root vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
- 1 cup shaved coconut, for garnish optional
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant while stirring. Add the curry and cook for 30 seconds while stirring.
Add the onion, the mixed vegetables and the salt. Stir to coat them in the curry (pictured above) and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring now and then.
Stir in the coconut milk and when it simmers, lower the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Check the vegetables for doneness. If you'd like them softer, cover the pot and cook for 5-10 minutes more.
Meanwhile, toast the coconut in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, shaking the pan now and then, until the coconut turns golden, about 4 minutes.