Coconut Vegetable Curry

Go Nuts for Coconuts…

As a mother of two, I am always finding ways to make haste in the kitchen. I am always on the quest for quick recipes, which are easy to make and equally tasty and nutritious. It’s hard to imagine but such recipes do exist!

Today’s recipe is a good way to introduce your little people to curry and vegetables. My boys adore this dish and will happily eat thirds too. It combines the warm earthiness of garam masala with the coastal flavours of coconut. What makes this recipe fuss free is that you can pretty much use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. My meat lovers, you could add chicken or fish or prawns to this dish, either way it’s lip smackingly delicious.

Ingredients: 16 Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves : 4

    One small cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
    Two potatoes, cut into bite size cubes
    Two carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
    One red capsicum, roughly sliced
    Handful of green beans, roughly chopped
    One cup of green peas
    One onion, finely sliced
    Two pods of garlic, finely chopped
    One thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
    One heaped teaspoon of garam masala
    Half teaspoon of turmeric
    One medium size cinnamon stick
    One bay leaf
    800 ml of light coconut milk
    Salt to season
    Four tablespoons of vegetable oil

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cinnamon stick, followed by onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until aromatic and onion is translucent.

Now add the vegetables and dry spices, except bay leaf. Mix well.

Add coconut milk, bay leaf and season with salt to taste. Simmer the curry on a medium flame for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve with steamed rice or savoury flatbread or simply eat it as a soup. So moorish, so tasty

Fish Curry

There’s nothing fishy about it 


I grew up in a vegetarian household and was strictly vegetarian until recently. Then one day just like that I decided to order a seafood pasta and haven’t looked back since. With that said I still can’t stomach fish that smells like fish, for instance, salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc. Nor can I eat oysters because they look like snot. After all food is an all inclusive experience. We eat with our eyes and taste with our nose first. 

Over time I have built my knowledge about various kinds of seafood and the flavours, spices, etc that are complimentary to each other. This fish curry recipe includes a mix of dried spices and fresh herbs. It’s similar to the Kerala fish curry called ‘meen moillee’. 


So when my mother in law and father in law were over I decided to indulge them in an all encompassing flavour explosion. I served the fish curry on a bed of basmati rice and with a side of crispy potatoes. I was so pleased to see everyone wipe their plates clean and even go back for thirds. 

Ingredients: 18   Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • Two large white fish fillets, without skin and cut into bite size pieces (I used barramundi)
  • 800ml of coconut light cream 
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • Two tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Three to four pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • One thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • 10 to 12 curry leaves 
  • Two to three green chillies, chopped
  • Two kaffir lime leaves
  • Half a bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • Two teaspoons of dried mint
  • Two teaspoons of coriander powder
  • One teaspoon of red chilli powder
  • Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Half a teaspoon of asafoetida (hing), optional
  • Four tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Salt to season 
  • Fresh coriander to garnish (optional)

Heat mustard oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Once aromatic add garlic, ginger and onion and cook until onion is caramelised.


Add tomatoes, turmeric, chilli and coriander powder, cook until tomatoes are soft. Then add dried mint and fresh mint (leave some fresh mint for garnish), coconut cream, kaffir lime leaves and two cups of water. Season with salt as required.

Simmer the curry on low heat for 30 minutes. Now add the fish and cook on low heat for another seven to ten minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Garnish with fresh mint and coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice or roti bread. Either way this curry is one hell of a winner!

Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry

Keep calm and curry on…

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I am a big believer of experimenting with ingredients. Combining different spices, herbs, vegetables and proteins to create lip smackingly delicious flavours is my thing. After all variety is the spice of life

Take this curry for instance, both chickpeas and cauliflower are very humble in flavour. However combined with bold spices like cinnamon, black cardamom and smoked paprika even humble flavours are brought to life. This curry was so quick and easy, I didn’t even get a chance to take photos along the way. Not to mention we were so hungry at the end that we devoured this beauty without a photo pause. 

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Ingredients: 16 Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

  • One cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 400gms of chickpeas (I used the canned ones)
  • One medium onion, finely chopped
  • 250gms of tomato pasata (or canned tomatoes)
  • Two pods of garlic, minced
  • Thumbsized piece of ginger, grated
  • 400ml of light coconut milk
  • One large cinnamon stick
  • One black cardamom
  • One teaspoon smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Half teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to season
  • One tablespoon of ghee or two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Fresh coriander to garnish

Melt ghee in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add cinnamon and crushed black cardamom. Once aromatic add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook until onions are lightly caramelised.

Add tomato pasata, followed by all the dried spices. Mix well. Now add the cauliflower, chickpeas (drain and rinse prior to use) and two cups of water. Mix well and cover the pan, let the curry simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Now add coconut milk and season with salt as required. Cover the pan and let the curry simmer for another 15 minutes. Your lip smackingly delicious curry is ready to be served.

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve on a bed of steamed rice. This is a perfect way to enjoy a mid week meal.

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Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Carrot Stroganoff 

Show off with your stroganoff 


Somedays even the most devout foodies struggle to come up with ideas for mid week cooking. I don’t know if it’s the lack of inspiration or sheer laziness but for some reason cooking has felt like a real chore this week.

 Thank god Melbourne’s takeaway scene is delicious and bountiful. However when you have a rapidly growing little hungry hippo to feed, meals have to be more about nutrition than convenience. If you can find a meal that’s both nutritious and convenient then you’ve hit the jackpot. 

So after a few nights of sparing my kitchen, I got in there last night determined to whip up something lip smackingly delicious. This is how one sweet potato, couple of carrots and a tin of black beans came together to make a quick and easy, healthy and tasty meal for my family.

Ingredients: 12  Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One medium sized sweet potato, peeled and cut into three inch sticks
  • Three carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 275 gms of black beans (I used canned one)
  • One medium onion, chopped
  • Two pods of garlic, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Three teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cracked black pepper
  • Five tablespoons of sour cream
  • Salt to season
  • Three tablespoons of olive oil

Heat oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Cook for one to two minutes until onions are slightly caramelised and aromatic.

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Now add sweetpotatoes, carrots and black beans. Mix well. Then add smoked paprika, chilli flakes, black pepper and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Add one cup of water, cover the pan and let the veggies and beans simmer on a medium heat for 15 minutes.

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Once the sweetpotatoes and tender add sour cream. Mix well. Season with salt to taste and cook for another three to four minutes. 
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Your lip smackingly delicious stroganoff is ready to serve. You can serve it with polenta, cous cous, pasta or rice. I have served it with some steamed rice, lemon butter asparagus and minted peas. A wholesome meal for those hectic week nights.

Green Thai Curry

Bring the taste of Thailand to your home…

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As much as I love winter, I am not a fan of all the cold and flu ailments it brings with it. 

I always thought being a stay at home meant I could just lie in bed all day and be a vegetable on days when I’m feeling under the weather. The reality is so far from it!  Give me a corporate job any day, atleast it comes with an end time everyday and paid leave for sick days. A stay at home mum on the other hand is a 24/7 kind of thing, sick or not sick #thestruggleisreal.

Now that I wasn’t going to get any ‘lie on my ass all day’ recovery time. So what’s the next best thing to cure a winter flu? Yep, you guessed it right a big bowl of curry and rice. 

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Here’s my version of Thai green curry. It’s simple, it’s tasty and filled with lotsa goodness, which will please your palette and heal your soul.

Ingredients: 20   Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6

  •  One bunch of fresh coriander
  • One to two green chillies
  • Four kaffir lime leaves
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Half a teaspoon cumin powder
  • Two pods of garlic
  • One two inch piece of ginger
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One bay leaf 
  • 500 ml of coconut milk
  • 250 gms of firm tofu, cut in sticks
  • Two carrots, peeled and cut into discs
  • One zucchini, cut into discs
  • 150 gms of shiitake mushrooms, quartered 
  • Two bunches of pak choy
  • One medium sized broccoli, cut into florets
  • One tablespoon of brown sugar
  • Salt to season
  • Two tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • One teaspoon sesame oil (optional)

To make the green curry paste combine coriander, green chillies, two kaffir lime leaves, lemon juice, cumin powder, garlic and ginger in a blender. Add one cup of water and blend the ingredients into a smooth paste.

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Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add tofu and all veggies apart from the pak choy, sear them through for three to four minutes. Now add the green curry paste, coconut milk, cinnamon stick, remaining kaffir lime leaves and bayleaf. Cover the pan and let the gravy simmer on a medium heat for seven to ten minutes. 

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Now add pak choy and season with salt and sugar. Cover the pan and let the curry simmer on a low heat for another 10  minutes. Finally drizzle a teaspoon of sesame oil and mix well.

Your lip smackingly delicious Green Thai Curry is ready to be served. Serve alongside some steamed rice or simply eat it by itself. This dish is a definitely a midweek treat.

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Rajma (Red Kidney Bean Stew)

The Punjabi happy meal…

  

Growing up as a Punjabi kid life was very simple. There were three commandments to live by. First, beta nashta  kha lo ( eat your breakfast kiddo). Second, beta khaana kha lo (eat your lunch/dinner kiddo). Third, beta kuch aur kha lo ( eat something else kiddo). Life was all about breakfast, lunch and dinner and everything else sort of fit around it. 

Besides the three commandments one thing common in every Punjabi kids life is the Punjabi Happy Meal. No it’s not McDonalds because no self-respecting Punjabi mother would dare to feed their child that. It’s Rajma Chawal! A red kidney bean stew served on a bed of steamed basmati rice. Nothing says happy meal and happiness like this dish in a Punjabi household.

There is such depth and flavour in this curry.  It is like a mother has squeezed all the love out of her heart and put it straight into Rajma. 

  

Ingredients: 14 Cooking time: 90 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 400gms of Rajma (kidney beans)
  • One large onion, finely chopped
  • Four medium tomatoes, grated
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One large bayleaf
  • One teaspoon of cumin seeds 
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons of coriander powder
  • One teaspoon of chilli
  • Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • Quarter teaspoon of asafoetida (hing)
  • Three tablespoons of ghee
  • Salt to season
  • Fresh coriander, chopped (for garnish)

Soak the kidney beans overnight or at least for five to six hours. This helps to break the protein, soften the beans and cook them quicker.

In a pressure cooker or a heavy bottom saucepan add the beans. Cover them with water, add cinnamon and bayleaf. Cook until the beans are soft and can be mashed between two fingers.

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For the tadka (tempering), heat ghee in a saucepan. Add asafoetida (hing), cumin seeds, once aromatic add onions and cook until onions are lightly browned.

Now add grated tomatoes, key for this stew is use the freshest tomatoes. Add all the dried spices. Cook on a medium heat for 10 to fifteen minutes.

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Add the beans and the broth. Season with salt. Cover the saucepan and let the stew cook on a low heat for about an hour.


Your lipsmackingly delicious kidney bean stew or Rajma are ready. Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve over steamed basmati rice and enjoy this happy meal with your beautiful family.

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Hyderabadi Baigan 

When memories create meals, they are one of a kind…

  

Many things in life are easy to forget but one seldom forgets a delicious dish. One such dish I found myself recently reminiscing about and relentlessly craving was Hyberabadi Baigan, also known as Bhagare Baigan. An eggplant curry inspired by flavours from Hyderabad, a former princely state in the southern belt of India.

Hyderabadi cuisine has evolved over centuries through local and foreign influences. The key ingredients of Hyderabadi cuisine are coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. While the cuisine is more meat based, you can also find some real vegetarian gems in the mix.

Here’s my take on this Hyderabadi classic. To be enjoyed with parathas or rice,  every mouthful is lip smackingly delicious.

  

Ingredients: 15  Cooking time:  45 minutes

Serves: 6

  • 1.5 dozen of baby eggplants, quartered and soaking in water 
  • One medium-sized onion, sliced
  • Two medium tomatoes, quartered 
  • 200 gms of peanuts, roasted
  • 400 ml of coconut milk 
  • Six to eight curry leaves
  • One lemon sized tamarind ball or juice of one lemon
  • One bay large bay leaf
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Half teaspoon chilli powder 
  • One cinnamon stick
  • Three tablespoons of mustard oil
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying the eggplants.
  • Salt to season 
  • One teaspoon sugar

For tempering (optional)

  • One tablespoon of ghee
  • One teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Six to eight curry leaves

Begin by pan frying the quartered eggplants until they slightly change colour and are soft. Keep aside.

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To make the sauce, heat oil in a kadahi or a heavy based pot. If you can’t find mustard oil you can use vegetable oil, ghee or olive oil.

Once the oil is aromatic add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and curry leaves. When the spices splutter and are aromatic add sliced onions. Cook until onions are slightly caramelised.

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Now add roasted peanuts and mix well. Cook onion and peanuts for about five to seven minutes. Then add the tomatoes and dried spices. Mix well. 

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While the tomatoes soften, soak the tamarind ball in quarter cup hot water. Once soft squeeze the pulp and strain the juice. If you don’t have tamarind you can also use juice of one lemon. Add the tamarind  juice, one teaspoon of sugar and two cups of water to the tomato mix. 

Give the ingredients a good stir. Once it comes to a boil turn the gas off and let the gravy cool. Then blend until smooth. Finally add coconut milk to the gravy, season with salt and cover the pot and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes on a low heat.

  
Now the gravy is ready for the eggplants. Drop eggplants gently into the gravy. Let the gravy simmer again for 10 to 15 minutes so the eggplants soak in all the flavour.

 

Last step is to add the tadka or temper the gravy with aromatic flavours of mustard seeds and curry leaves. Heat ghee in a skillet. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once they splutter and are aromatic add to the curry and mix well to infuse the flavours.

Your lip smackingly delicious Hyderabadi Baigan are ready to be served. 

  

Kashmiri Paneer

And just like that sometimes magic happens…

 

Being back in Bombay is great, catching up with friends, eating Maa’s home cooked food and basically just being a lady of leisure.

One evening when my foodie best friend decided to come over, it was going to be an evening of endless cups of tea. Of course as we are both devout foodies it was not going to stop there. Moreover with paneer in the fridge beckoning to be cooked, we were in for some kind of treat.

On raiding my mum’s pantry, I found an assortment of beautiful fresh spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and the most fragrant, aromatic dried kashmiri chillies. Hence the name Kashmiri Paneer.

Ingredients: 15    Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves: 6

  • 500 gms of Paneer, cubed
  • 100 ml of milk
  • Two medium tomatoes, sliced
  • Two medium onions, sliced
  • 125 gms of cashew nuts, roasted
  • Four cardamom pods, crushed
  • Four to five cloves
  • One cinnamon stick
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • One teaspoon coriander seeds
  • One teaspoon chilli powder
  • Two to three dry Kashmiri chillies
  • Quarter teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
  • Three tablespoons of ghee or olive oil
  • Salt to season 

In a heavy based saucepan heat two tablespoons of ghee or olive oil. Add asafoetida, cloves, cinnamon, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Once aromatic add onions and cook on a medium heat until translucent.

Add tomatoes and chilli powder. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Now add roasted cashews (keep a handful aside for garnish), cardamom pods, milk and one cup of water. 

Simmer the gravy on a low heat for four to five minutes. Turn the heat off and blend the gravy until smooth. Add water if needed to bring the gravy to desired consistency. Season with salt to taste. Mix well.

In another pan add some olive oil and pan sear the paneer until golden brown. Drop the paneer chunks into the velvety smooth gravy. Note, frying the paneer is optional. The dish will taste just as good if you choose not to fry the paneer.

For the garnish, heat one tablespoon of ghee in a pan. Roughly chop remaining cashews and add to the pan. Break Kashmiri chillies into halves and add to the pan. Once aromatic pour the cashew chilli mix on to the gravy.

Your lip smackingly delicious Kashmiri paneer is ready to be devoured. It tastes best when served with flaky namkeen parathas, you can find the recipe here.

  

Spicy Coconut Egg Curry

Spice up your life…

You would have noticed the recent round of recipes has had a flavour of the subcontinent, they show my love for Indian food and the ease with which these lip smackingly delicious curries can be made. The flavours are so distinct and robust one simply can’t have enough.

I have previously showcased an egg curry recipe, it can be found here. However today’s spicy coconut egg curry is very different to the previous one. It is inspired by southern Indian flavours of curry leaves, mustard seeds and delicately flavoured coconut. The curry has a dash of spice, the chilli uplifts it to a whole new level.

You can devour this curry with light, flaky savoury parathas (recipe can be found here) or simply on a bed of steamed basmati rice. 

Ingredients: 11   Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 2

  • Four eggs, hard-boiled
  • One onion, chopped
  • Two tomatoes, chopped
  • 400 ml light coconut milk
  • Four-five green chillies, chopped
  • Six-eight curry leaves
  • 1.5 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • One teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to season
  • Three tablespoons oil ( I used mustard oil)

Heat oil in a saucepan, I use mustard oil which really enhances the flavour of the curry. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Now add curry leaves and once they crackle add chopped onion. Cook the onion until translucent.

Add tomatoes, followed by turmeric powder. Cook the onion-tomato mixture for about five to seven minutes until the tomatoes are soft.

Now add coconut milk and one cup of water. Season with salt and sugar. Cover the saucepan and let the gravy simmer on a medium heat for seven to ten minutes, until the gravy has thickened.

Using a fork prick the eggs all over gently (this will allow the curry flavours to seep into the egg when you drop it into the curry). Gently drop the boiled eggs into the curry one by one. 

Your spicy coconut egg curry is ready to be devoured. Enjoy!

Ginger Broccoli Coconut Curry

A ticket to the tropical island or a delicious saving grace after sinfully indulgent days…

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Last weekend my husband was at a bachelor party. What happens at a bachelor party stays at the bachelor party but we all know what goes down at these parties – booze, meat, more booze to wash the meat down and then some more meat as an attempt to keep the hangover away. 

So after a weekend full of fun and games, my husband resigned to the couch and desired something light and healthy for dinner. The good wife that I am, I had a fully stocked fridge (for a change!). It was an obvious choice to cook with the fresh greens gracing my fridge. While a stir fry would have been effortless, I decided to make a curry – you can always pack more love in a curry! 

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You would have to agree when i say – Food has such power in bringing back memories and teleporting you to places with just one bite. With the weather getting cooler in Australia and summer in all its glory in India and other parts of the world, I am sure all you desire is being on a tropical island savouring some lip smackingly delicious cocktails and some tantalising curries.

While you dream of the tropical island let me bring you one step closer to it with this delicious ginger broccoli coconut curry. Today’s curry is inspired by Thai flavours such as coconut milk, ginger and kaffir lime. This flavour combination can bring any dish to life. Not only is this curry your ticket to a tropical get away, it is an absolute saving grace if you have had many indulgent days.

 

Ingredients: 15   Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • One medium sized broccoli, cut into florets
  • One bunch of asparagus, wood ends trimmed, halved
  • One bunch of choi sum (or any other asian greens), roughly chopped
  • One brown onion, finely sliced
  • Two to three green chillies, finely chopped
  • One tablespoon of crushed ginger
  • Four to five pods of garlic, roughly chopped
  • Four spring onions, finely chopped
  • One kaffir lime leaf
  • 300ml of light coconut milk
  • Two tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • One teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt to season
  • Fresh coriander to garnish
  • One tablespoon of black sesame seeds, toasted

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Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok. Add onions and spring onions, cook until onions are translucent.

Now add garlic, ginger and green chillies. Followed by broccoli and choi sum, I have used choi sum because of its mildly bitter flavour that gives this curry another flavour dimension. You can use any other Asian greens and if you can’t find asian greens you can use baby spinach. 

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Add the coconut milk and about one cup of water, followed by the kaffir lime leaf, one teaspoon of sugar and salt to taste. Cover the wok with a lid and let the curry simmer for seven to ten minutes.

Finally add the asapargus and cook the curry for another four to five minutes or until asparagus is stems are tender.

Your lip smackingly delicious curry is ready to serve. Serve with a side of steamed rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and fresh coriander.

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