I will never forget the first time I tried my hand at making curry. Patrick + I had just gotten married and it was the first time his parents were coming to OUR house for dinner. I was a little nervous, wanting to impress my inlaws. I remember carefully getting out the new pots and pans we had received as wedding gifts and nervously studying the recipe card given to me by my darling Shruti of her mother's chicken curry. Not only was it the first time cooking for my inlaws, I was also following an Indian mama's recipe. The Indian women I know cook much more instinctively and much less from recipes, so the fact that Shruti somehow got her to write down her recipe was some sort of magic. I was so nervous about getting it right, and I am pretty convinced it tasted NOTHING like Mama Gupta's delicious cooking. It was by no means amazing but by giving it a trying, I became braver.
I think cooking can seem intimidating at times but the more you do it, the more forgiving you realize it is. Since then I have started experimenting with my own curries, rarely repeating the same thing twice. Through that I have created a standard recipe that allows me to alternate some of the vegetables depending on what I have and what we are in the mood for. (Sometimes I make chicken curry too, but we love this recipe just fine without meat).
THE IMPORTANT FACTORS:
• Curry Powder. This is what the entire dish revolves around, so make sure you have a good one! I finally visited a local International Food Store and perused the aproximately 450 curry powders, asking the owner's opinions until I landed on THIS ONE. Its a Madras Powder, which from what I have read is supposed to be spicier. It is not very spicy to me, but I do love the flavor. Each curry powder is a little different, so find one you love.
• Sweet or White Potato + Chickpeas + Zuchinni. No matter what combination of vegetables I add, I always have this in the mix. Why? Because I think the three are a great base to build off of. Potatoes are hearty and starchy, nice and filling. The chickpeas pack in fiber and protein, which you aren't getting from any meat in this dish. And zucchini are just a wonderfully versatile vegetable and not a strong flavor, so they meld into the curry really well. You can see below a list of other vegetables I recommend adding in as well. Go ahead and get creative!
This dish is so delicious and comforting, not to mention healthy, and our whole family loves it.
• 1 Tbl Olive Oil
• 1 Medium Purple Onion - Diced
• 3 Cloves Garlic- Minced
• 3 Tbl Curry Powder
(I use THIS ONE. I bought at a local International Food Store.)
• 1 15 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
• 2 Cups Chicken Broth
• 1 15 oz Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
• 1 Tsp Red Boat Fish Sauce
• 1 15 oz Can Chickpeas- Drained and Rinsed
• 1 Sweet Potato - Cubed
• 1 Medium Zucchini - Cubed
Other Vegetable Ideas (Mix + Match):
Yellow Squash (Diced)
1/2 Small Eggplant
Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1 Cup Broccoli Florets
1 Cup Cauliflower
1. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Sautee the onions until translucent and add the garlic, cooking another 30 seconds.
2. Stir in the Curry Powder and let the the spices bloom- basically let them cook briefly until it becomes fragrant and smells wonderful.
3. Add the canned tomatoes, chicken broth, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Stir to combine. Add 1/2 tsp salt.
4. Toss in the sweet potato and chickpeas and bring up to a low boil. (You want to add those hearty vegetables first since they will take longer to cook).
5. Once at a low boil, turn down to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
6. While that cooks, prep your other vegetables. After 10 minutes, toss in the zucchini and the rest of the vegetables. Here is where you get creative and use whatever vegetables you have or enjoy. Make sure to have enough liquid to cover the vegetables to cook.
7. Cook another 10 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.
Serve with cauliflower rice or jasmine rice.
Garnish with fresh cilantro, thinly sliced purple cabbage + a wedge of lime!