How to make an easy veggie curry
Cooking for even the trickiest dinner guests
These days so many of us trying to do our bit for the environment. This might mean recycling more, walking instead of taking the car or for some it might mean going vegan.
Hands up, I’ve not gone vegan! I was veggie for 12 years but I decided I wanted to have a wider choice of food when I went out for a meal or had to pick up lunch out. Things are improving but I remember years of my only option being a sad egg sandwich!
Having said this, I love a veggie or vegan meal as well. For me, this does not mean meat substitutes. If you like them, go ahead and enjoy them but I would prefer to just eat a naturally plant-based meal.
It also means I will be flexible about what plant-based means in my cooking. For example, if I think butter will give a better flavour than oil then I’ll use it. However, I do try to stick with organic meat and dairy. I don’t know how much difference it makes — I’m sure some people will happily tell me — but I am doing my best. Sometimes though, only cheese will do!
Luckily I’ve had practice with cooking (largely) vegan options. I have a lovely friend who I used to live with. She has many excellent qualities but she can be tricky to cook for as she’s vegetarian and lactose intolerant.
This shouldn’t be an issue but you’d be amazed at how many veggie recipes include cheese in some way, shape or form. Between the two of us, we got quite inventive finding recipes that naturally contain no meat or dairy. One of the best options is a good curry!
One of my favourites to make at home is a chickpea, spinach and potato curry. I often look to Madhur Jaffrey for inspiration so the start of this recipe is inspired by a spice paste in her wonderful Curry Bible book. After the first few steps, I’ve wandered off into my own method.
I’ve served this curry over basmati rice with peas and a bit of spicy mango chutney. It would also work well with naan bread.Image author’s own
Ingredients:2 small onions, peeled and roughly chopped 4–5 cloves of garlic, peeled A mix of dried and fresh chilli — this varies each time I make this depending on what I have available but normally a couple of whole, fresh chillies and a teaspoon of chilli flakes 1 tbsp hot curry powder (I used madras powder) 1 heaped tsp dried cumin Salt and pepper 1 tbsp olive, groundnut or rapeseed oil 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks Handful small new potatoes halved Lots of frozen spinach — mine comes in rounds and I use about 8 of these 400g tin of chickpeas with liquid 500g of passata 1 tbsp tomato puree Fresh coriander — finely chop the stalks, roughly chop the leaves
Heat a frying pan with the oil, while this is warming blitz the onion, garlic and chilli in a food processor with a splash of water, once smooth add to the pan.
Fry for 5–6 minutes then add in your spices and a good pinch of salt.
Stir through then add your potatoes (sweet and new), chickpeas, spinach, passata and tomato puree. Rinse the chickpea tin and passata jar with a bit of water and add this to the pan too. Cover and let it bubble away for about 30 minutes.
Check your potatoes and depending on how reduced the liquid is you might need to take the lid off and let it bubble away for another 15 minutes or so to thicken.
While this is happening, cook your rice. At this point you can also add some finely chopped coriander stalks to the curry, retaining the leaves to add just before serving.
Once the sauce has reduced add the chopped coriander leaves, season to taste with salt and pepper then serve up.