So this week I’ve had my friend Alex come to visit for a few days, which was really lovely and great to have a catch up as we don’t get together that often. However, this did pose one problem… she’s a veggie! Now for me, this isn’t really a problem, I really love vegetables and quite often cook up a veggie stir-fry or some sort of vegetable based pasta dish when I’m cooking just for me, but how to satisfy a veggie, plus my meat eating family and make sure my Dad doesn’t feel like he’s been cheated out of a ‘proper meal’..? My solution…. curry, because who doesn’t love a curry?
I love nothing more than getting the whole family involved in the kitchen, even if they’re just sitting at the side ‘supervising’ with a glass of wine (this is officially my sister’s role). I really enjoy having everyone milling about in the kitchen while dinner’s on the go plus it’s always nice to have a few helpers with the chopping. This may be why you’ll always find several glasses of wine floating around my worktop!
My ingredients for this dish were very much based on what needed to be used up in the fridge, so they can always be switched around for what you prefer or what you have left over in the fridge. Aubergines, butternut squash and even potatoes work brilliantly in a vegetable curry, or maybe you could swap the onion for spring onions or the cauliflower for broccoli. That’s one of the beauties of a vegetable curry, it’s really easy to swap ingredients around or use up your leftovers, same goes for the herbs and spices, I couldn’t find fresh coriander in the supermarket so I used parsley and added some dried ground coriander from the spice rack. I’ve also used a tikka masala curry paste, again because I already had it in the cupboard, but swap this for something you prefer if you like, maybe a rogan josh?
1 large onion (diced)
1/2 a swede (cut into bite size chunks)
1 parsnip (cut into bite size chunks)
1/2 a courgette (cut into bite size chunks)
1 small cauliflower (cut into bite size pieces)
1 stick of celery (sliced
1 tin of chickpeas (with their juices, don’t bother draining)
a few handfuls of handful baby spinach
1 fresh red chilli (finely chopped)
1/2 jar tikka masala curry paste
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp of ground coriander
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
500g creme fraiche
1 mug basmati rice
a few whole cloves
Carrot Salad (inspired by a dish in Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals)
4-5 carrots (depending on the size enough to fill a small salad bowl and make a decent side dish)
1/2 a fresh chilli (finely chopped)
bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped (works better with coriander if its not sold out in the supermarket)
juice of 1 lemon
Serve also with a couple of naan breads (warmed in the oven) and a pile of poppadoms with some chutney and dips
1. In a large pan heat a couple of tablespoons of oil, add the harder veg, in this case the swede and parnsip, and fry until they have started to soften.
2. Add the onions, celery and cauliflower and fresh chilli. Fry until onions are lightly golden.
3. Pour in a few generous splashes of boiled water and add your dried spices; the cumin, coriander and chilli flakes. Stir around until well mixed in.
4. Add the curry paste and stir in well, then add the chick peas and all their juices from the tin.
5. Meanwhile place the rice in a saucepan with the cloves, cover with 2 mugfuls of boiling water and put the lid on, cook on a medium heat for approx 10 mins or until all the water is absorbed. Keep and eye on this as its easy to forget about and the rice sticks to the pan. Stir occasionally to avoid this.
5. Back to the curry mixture: season well with salt and pepper and add the courgette. Put a lid on the pan and simmer on a low-medium heat for approx 10-15 mins while the rice cooks.
6. While these are bubbling away you can prepare the salad. Grate all the carrots into a dish, add the chilli and fresh herbs. Mix together well. This dish is now ready for the table.
7. Generously cover the salad with the juice from the lemon and a few tablespoons of olive oil.
8. Add the creme fraiche to your curry mixture and stir through with the fresh herbs and spinach. Leave to cook for a further 2-3 mins with the lid off the pan. Let the sauce reduce to a creamy consistency, if the mixture starts to look to dry add a splash of water and turn off the heat.
9. When the rice is cooked turn of the heat, fish out the cloves and you’re ready to dish up!
With all the hearty vegetables in this dish and the feast you serve up with the help of all the extra side dishes, no one will go hungry and you certainly won’t miss the meat!