This vegetable curry recipe is southern Indian in style. Adapted from a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey, it is one that I think is truly special. I made it today and as I write here, I really wish you could smell it and taste it. Words and pictures seem don't seem adequate. I might just dream about it tonight!
It is a little recipe tucked away in this book. So I expected it to be good. After all, Madhur Jaffrey knows a thing or two about curry. But I didn't expect to fall in love with it as I have. And love it I do. I've been making variations of the recipe for years now. Jaffrey describes it as a kurma or korma but it bears little resemblance to the bland, heavy, cream-based curry of the same name with which many of us are familiar.
This vegetable curry recipe, in contrast, is light and fresh-tasting but big on taste. It is very quick to cook although you do need a food processor to mix up an initial paste. It is this paste that provides the basis of all of the delicious flavour. Here's how to make it.
2 tablespoons of cashew nuts
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
50g/2oz creamed coconut
1 tsp salt
1 fresh green chilli
1/2 tsp garam masala
4 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon of brown mustard seeds
1 tsp yellow split peas (any split lentil can be substituted here)
10 fresh curry leaves (these are delicious but you can leave them out if you can't get them.)
500g/1lb mixed vegetables (you can use whatever is in season. I used cauliflower, carrot, peas, mushrooms, red bell pepper)
2 tablespoons of full fat plain yoghurt (this is because low fat yoghurt tends to curdle when added to a hot sauce)
First put the cashews, tomatoes, coconut, salt, chillies, garam masala and fresh coriander (cilantro) into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside.
Next, heat the oil in a saucepan till quite hot. Add the mustard seeds and split peas.
When the mustard seeds begin to pop, stir in the curry leaves and vegetables.
Then pour in about 250mls or 1 cup of water, bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes until the vegetables are just tender but still quite firm.
Stir in the cashew paste and cook the curry gently for 2-3 minutes more. Just before serving, stir in the yoghurt.