Thank goodness there is an endless world of curries to fill the winter months. Something about the sweet aroma and warm flavor of blended spices brightens your palate just as a bright sunny winter day lightens your soul. I put this recipe together based on lots of work with very talented Indian chefs and my own winter craving for vegetables. The key is slowly cooking tomatoes and onions for a sweet base of flavor then adding the spices to broaden their flavor before finishing with the vegetables. This can be served with steamed rice, or, my favorite, chewy cooked barley. You can add more heat by including minced hot peppers to the onions early on or add more sweet by including fresh-diced pineapple at the end. I offer fresh cilantro and roasted peanuts as an option for guests to add. As with all my recipes, there is plenty of room for interpretation. This recipe serves six.
• 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
• 2 med. sweet potatoes, peeled and 1/2” dice
• 1 lg. yellow onion
• 1 red bell pepper, 1/2” dice
• 8 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 1/2 Tbsp. ginger, peeled and minced
• 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, minced
• 1 tsp. red curry powder
• 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, ground
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika, ground
• 1/2 tsp. turmeric, ground
• 1/2 tsp. cardamom, ground
• 1/2 tsp. coriander, ground
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
• 2 tomatoes, cored and 1/2” dice
• 1-14 oz. can of tomatoes, petite diced
• 1-14 oz. can of coconut milk, unsweetened
• 1 qt. vegetable stock
• 1 med. head of cauliflower, cored and broken into medium florets
• 1 carrot, peeled and 1/2” dice
• 1 cup chick peas, cooked
• 1/2 cup white raisins
• 1 tsp. orange zest
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Cilantro for garnish
1. Cover potatoes in cold water. Bring to a simmer, and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers, and cook slowly until onions are translucent.
3. Add spices and continue to cook over low heat for 20 minutes, continually stirring. Do not allow to stick or brown.
4. Add tomatoes, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes.
5. Add liquids and bring to simmer.
6. Add vegetables and cook over low heat until tender.
7. Season with lemon, salt and pepper (add a splash of hot sauce if you like.)
8. Garnish with orange zest and fresh cilantro. Serve over cooked rice or barley.
Manda Hudak is the Savory Chef Instructor at The Culinary Institute of Montana at Flathead Valley Community College. For more information about the program, visit www.culinaryinstituteofmt.com.