Just like Thai food, you’ll find a lot of Indian recipes incorporate coconut milk in the ingredient list, especially curries that harbor a South-Indian influence. This classic recipe that you see below is one such Vegetable Curry, which uses coconut milk to form the base for a variety of fresh vegetables as well as heart-warming spices. If you are someone who is really interested in Indian spices, I urge you to watch the movie called Mistress of Spices, or you could read Ellie Krieger’s blog post about the healing power of spices.
In this recipe, Ellie creates a perfect balance of spice and sweet, which forms an aromatic sauce for the healthy vegetables that go in there. From spinach to chickpeas to cauliflower and sweet potatoes, it is a unique blend of flavor and nutrients. A high-protein, high-fiber recipe that is sure to be a staple in any family who loves Indian cooking! Recipe courtesy of Fine Cooking, photo by Scott Phillips.
Vegetable Curry with Coconut Milk
Serves approx. 6 people
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp ground coriander
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup light coconut milk
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small cauliflower, broken into 1-1/2-inch florets (about 4 cups)
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
2 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (about 1 cup)
One 15-1/2-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 oz. baby spinach (about 4 lightly packed cups)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
In a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium (or medium low if necessary) and cook until the onion is richly browned, 5 to 7 minutes more. Add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne; stir for 30 seconds to toast the spices. Add the tomato paste and stir until well blended with the aromatics, about 1 minute.
Add the water, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low or low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots. Raise the heat to medium high and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.
Stir in the chickpeas, spinach, lime juice, and zest; cook until the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes more. Season to taste with salt. Serve garnished with the cilantro.
This is a very simple yet highly nutritious and flavorful Indian curry. Feel free to use whatever veggies you like, even staples like potatoes, peas and carrots. Serve it with some hot Chapatis or Rice, and you will know how an Indian comfort meal feels like!