Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegetable Indian Curry Stew

This dish may seem complex, but it is very easy to make and has complex flavors of Indian curry. Excellent for cooler weather and the best thing is that it is made in one pot, so clean up is easy. For meat-eaters, try it with chicken or seafood. It is one of those meals that will warm your soul!

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
5 minced garlic cloves
1/2 Tbsp. finely minced ginger piece
1/2 Tbsp. ground coriander seeds
2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2-1 tsp. cayenne pepper (use sparingly - start with a 1/2 tsp)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
14-1/2 oz can chicken (or vegetable) broth
13-2/3 oz. can coconut milk (for fewer calories use light)
1 cinnamon stick (about 2-3 inches)
4 cups cauliflower, separated into 1-2 inch florets
3 cups sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 cups tomatoes (if fresh, seed and coarsely chopped) - can use 14 1/2 oz diced, drained
1 1/2 c. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch rounds
15-1/2 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 oz bag baby spinach (about 4 cups tightly packed)
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
2-3 Tbsp. fresh, chopped cilantro
1/4 Tbsp. chopped nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat until it ripples. Add onion and cook, stirring periodically, until brown. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook until onion is very brown, about 6-7 minutes longer. Add garlic, ginger, and stir to blend. Next add the spices (coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne, salt and pepper. Toast for about a minute, until highly fragrant and then add tomato paste and stir until very well blended and spices fill your home with a lovely Indian-spice scent!

Add chicken broth slowly and blend the spice-tomato paste mixture until incorporated. Pour in coconut milk and add cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

While simmering, cut up sweet potato so it doesn't turn brown-black. Cut up any other veggies and then add cauliflower, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots to the pot. Heat to medium until it comes to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook until vegetables are tender. The veggies may not be completely covered with liquid, but don't worry, the water from the veggies and cooking will cover them. After 25 minutes, check to see if veggies are tender.

Once veggies are tender, add lime zest, lime juice, and chick peas and mix completely. Just before serving, add the baby spinach and cover to steam the spinach (about 3-4 minutes). Remove cover and garnish with cilantro and nuts.

Serve over Jasmine or basmati rice and naan, if desired. Makes enough for 6 generous servings.

For a more meaty dish -- try adding peeled and deveined shrimp or cooked chicken. My boys even mentioned adding bacon, but that just doesn't seem right! :)


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