At the risk of presenting further brown gack, I offer my...
Easy All-Vegetable Curry
The ingredients are not critical - you can use pretty much any and all vegetables, as long as you make allowance for cooking time. Here is a suggestion for roughly 5 litres of curry (which I freeze in 20 portions).
Core ingredients (highly recommended)
- A little oil to fry the onions & garlic
- 2 or 3 onions, chopped finely
- Quarter to half a bulb of garlic, chopped finely
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 small jar (283g) of Patak's Madras curry paste
- 3 tins of chopped tomatoes
- Some concentrated tomato puree
The curry paste is most important. It should be 'curry paste', not 'curry sauce'. It contains lots of nice spices in the correct proportions and ground into in an oily mush, which saves us having to sort out a dozen spices ourselves. I use the Indian curry paste, but there is also Thai curry paste. In the UK, it seems the Indian paste is oil based, while the Thai paste is water based. Both these are different to 'curry sauce' which is a less concentrated, heat-and-serve solution. Curry paste requires cooking to make the spices edible.
Variable ingredients (can be adjusted widely)
Any veg, such as:
- 1 large baking potato
- 1 or 2 large carrots
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 tin kidney beans
- 3 tins mixed beans (in spicy/tomato/no sauce)
- 1 large tin spinach puree
- 1 or 2 other tins (there are so many other types of beans. I've also used sweetcorn.)
- A sweet pepper or two (red, green, yellow and/or orange)
- 6 to 8 small mushrooms
(In the past I have also used swede, cauliflower, leek, broccoli, parsnip, beetroot; really, anything available. All veg is chopped up. The harder it is, the smaller the pieces should be, in an effort equalise cooking time). As a guide, potato might end up in quarter-inch cubes, with some bits smaller than that.
I normally cook all this in a single 5 litre saucepan with a flat, heavy bottom. Chop all the hard vegetables before starting cooking. Start by frying the garlic and onion in the oil. When they have softened and are getting slightly translucent, add the black pepper and curry paste. If this were a meat curry, you'd add the meat now and continue to fry while the meat sealed. Now add the tins of chopped tomatoes - this provides the juice that everything else will cook in. Tomato puree can go in now, or wait until later and judge the taste.
Turn the heat down, keeping the mixture simmering as you add the hard and then medium vegetables, chopped finely. Mix well into the curry & tomato sauce. If it starts to get too dry to cook (also risks sticking/burning), then add more tinned tomatoes or a glass of red wine.
Once the hard vegetables are in, keep simmering and occasionally mixing until they are half to three-quarters cooked. Now add the tinned veg (which is cooked anyway; really we're just heating it and getting some spices in) and the fruit. Keep heating and occasionally mixing.
Check the hard veg again. If it's nearly done, add the soft veg (sweet peppers and mushrooms) These should not be heated much, or they will be destroyed.
When it's all hot - tada: all done.
Can be served with rice, pasta, chapatis, wholemeal bread or as a topping for jacket potatoes. Or freeze in 250ml portions for later quick dinners.