Sunday, October 20, 2013

Vegetable Curries

I went on a curry bender last week, cooking four different vegetable curries in four days. Accompanied by some raita and mango chutney, the last evening was a feast. The freezer is now well stocked too!

As the following list shows, I'm very fond of aubergine (or eggplant; I'm indiscriminate in the term I use). The first two recipes, I've made and blogged about before, but two were new, adapted from the Madhur Jaffrey Cookbook.

  • Aubergine bharta —roasted and peeled eggplants cooked down into a pillowy, spiced mass
  • Saag paneer —spinach curry, but made with haloumi cheese instead of paneer. The firm, salty haloumi worked really well here. Firm feta or tofu would also be an option.
  • Aubergine curry—such a fast simple curry with great flavour coming from the combination of fennel seed and fenugreek seed.
  • Cauliflower curry—another easy curry that does great things for somewhat bland cauliflower
Cubed Aubergine with Onions
Adapted from The Madhur Jaffrey Cookbook

1200 g aubergine (about 3-4 medium)
1 teaspoons salt
2-3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne 
1 teaspoon lemon juice
225 ml water

  1. Cut the aubergines into 2 cm cubes and put into  bowl with the salt. I like the skin, so I leave it on, but the original recipe calls for peeling it first.
  2. Optionally, let the aubergines sit for an hour, then squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. (I often skip this step when I'm in a hurry.)
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over a medium heat, then add the fennel and fenugreek seeds. As soon as they darken (after a few seconds), add the onions and aubergine cubes.
  4. Stir and fry for about 20 minutes, adjusting the heat to prevent burning. The aubergines will at first absorb the oil but will release it again after a few minutes.
  5. Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and lemon juice and fry for a few minutes, then add the water, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes until the aubergine is thoroughly soft and cooked.
  6. Adjust to taste with salt and/or lemon juice.

Cauliflower with Onion and Tomato

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2-3 cm pieces of ginger, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons water
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets and stem coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium tomato, (peeled and) chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 fresh green chili, finely sliced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Put the onion, garlic, ginger, and water in a blender and pulse into a paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium flame. Add the onion-garlic-ginger paste and the turmeric. Stir and fry for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomato, cilantro, and chili and fry for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cauliflower florets and the coriander, cumin, garam masala, water, and lemon juice. Stir, cover, lower the heat and let cook for about 35 minutes until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy.

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