Lemon Thyme & Ginger

South Indian Style Vegetable Curry

South Indian Style Vegetable Curry Recipe.

I love curries and I love vegetables, but when I cook them together, the vegetables just fall apart. Despite my best efforts, the cauliflower and sweet potatoes always break apart in the sauce. Vegetable curry is one of my favorite meals, but I was ready to give up on it. Fortunately, a few years ago I mentioned my frustration to one of my brother’s in law, and he suggested roasting the vegetables instead of boiling them in the sauce. His suggestion was so simple, but was the perfect solution to improve the curry’s texture.

South Indian Style Vegetable Curry recipe

South Indian Style Vegetable Curry recipe.

The original recipe is from Fine Cooking, “South Indian Style Vegetable Curry” by Ellie Krieger, which I’ve made several times. Unfortunately, the vegetables went from perfect to overcooked in a matter of seconds. Roasting the cauliflower flowerettes and sweet potato chunks made a huge difference in appearance and taste. This technique developed vegetables with a firmer texture and a sweeter flavor. As a result, the curry sauce did not overwhelm the vegetables, but created more body to stand up against the complexity of the spices. My beloved vegetable curry recipe was reborn.

South Indian Style Vegetable Curry recipe.

Not that the sauce needed more flavor, but I couldn’t stop myself and added an additional curry spice blend to the roasted vegetables. To compliment the existing spices in the vegetable curry recipe, I sprinkled Massale curry, over the cauliflower and sweet potatoes. It is a sweet curry spice blend, like spices used in the vegetable curry.

The downside to roasting the cauliflower and sweet potatoes is, that the curry is no longer a one pot meal. Now, it is a one pot and one sheet-pan meal. Despite the additional cleanup, this recipe is worth the extra step because the cauliflower and sweet potatoes taste so much better this way. Besides, cleaning the sheet pan is easy if you deglaze it with extra vegetable stock then add the stock to the curry. This extra step is up to you if you want it. The good news is, that the vegetables roast while the onions, carrots, tomatoes and Swiss chard cook in the curry sauce on the stove. If timed right, both sets of vegetables will finish cooking around the same time.

South Indian Style Vegetable Curry recipe.

South Indian Style Vegetable Curry recipe.

If you want more vegan meals check out these links: Fennel and Chickpea Ratatouille  and Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Apricots and Pistachios. 

Fine Cooking and Ellie Krieger wrote a solid recipe, but I made several changes for extra depth of flavor. Roasting the cauliflower and sweet potatoes is key for creating a substantial body with the curry. Everything else I changed to enhance the flavor. First, I added wine to brighten the flavors. Then I swapped Swiss chard for the spinach to make it more substantial and added raisins because curries need some fruit to counter the heat. My last change is adding salted cashews for a garnish with some cilantro. The cashews add a crunchy bite against the tender vegetables while also adding more protein.

Don’t let the long list of ingredients and instruction scare you away. Making this curry is not as complicated as the lengthy lists implies. Like any vegetarian meal, the biggest hurdle is chopping all the vegetables. Once the chopping is done, the cooking is very straightforward.

Vegetable curry is a great meal for a vegetarian/vegan dinner. I love how the coconut milk compliments this signature blend of sweet and savory spices, especially the cinnamon. During these colder months, vegetable curry is a big soothing bowl full of comfort and joy.

South Indian Style Vegetable Curry Recipe.

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South Indian Style Vegetable Curry recipe.

Indian Style Vegetable Curry

The warm spices of coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne meld together with coconut milk and an array of vegetables making and Indian style curry with just the right amount of heat. Roasting the cauliflower and sweet potatoes helps them to retain their shape in the curry and not break down. A mixture of broccoli and cauliflower also works nicely in the curry, but add more cauliflower than broccoli. Spinach can be substituted for the Swiss Chard, however add the spinach towards the end of cooking when you add the roasted vegetables. The spinach does not need as much time to cook as Swiss chard does. This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking South Indian Style Vegetable Curry.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cauliflower cut into flowerettes
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes (1 large or 2 small), peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) size pieces
  • 1/2 red onion sliced into 1/2 inch (1 cm) wide wedges
  • 1 tsp curry spice blend optional
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 TB 60 ml extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion minced
  • 1 2- inch 5 cm piece ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 TB ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 2-3 inch piece cinnamon stick
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup 125 ml dry white wine
  • 1-13.6 fl oz 403 ml can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup 375 ml vegetable stock
  • 3 medium size carrots peeled and sliced on a diagonal
  • 4 oz 125 g Swiss chard, stems removed and chopped into bite size pieces, the leaves sliced across the width
  • 3 plum tomatoes seeds removed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup 80 g raisins
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-15 oz 425 g can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • Handful of cilantro chopped
  • Handful of salted cashews rough chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C / Gas Mark 6) and place the rack in the middle position.
  2. Arrange the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and onion slices on a large sheet pan in an even layer. Drizzle 2 TB (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, the Kosher salt, and ground curry (if using) over the vegetables and toss until the vegetables are evenly coated. Place the vegetables in the oven and roast until just tender, about 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, check for doneness by piercing the cauliflower and sweet potatoes to see if they are tender. Continue to roast the vegetables, checking every 10 minutes as needed. You want the vegetables to be just cooked through and not too soft.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a 5 qt (4.75 L) Dutch oven over medium high heat then add the remaining 2 TB (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the minced onions and cook until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. While cooking, stir every now and then so the onions don't stick to the pan.
  4. Add the minced garlic and minced ginger to the cooked onions and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Swiss chard stem pieces and stir to coat and cook for a minute.
  5. Add the ground coriander, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick to the pan and stir to mix. Gently toast the spices for one minute.
  6. Add the tomato paste and cook for one minute. Then add the wine and deglaze the pan. Cook until the wine mostly evaporates.
  7. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock and stir until the coconut cream and water is mixed together.
  8. Add the carrots, Swiss chard, and tomatoes and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir the pot every now and then to keep the coconut milk from separating. Control the heat and keep the sauce at a simmer and not a brisk boil. This will keep the coconut milk from curdling.
  9. Once the roasted vegetables and the vegetables in the curry sauce are done, add the roasted vegetables, chickpeas, and raisins to the pot with the carrots, tomatoes, and Swiss Chard. Stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes to warm up the chickpeas.
  10. Turn off heat, and add the lime zest, lime juice, and chopped cilantro.
  11. Garnish with chopped cashews and chopped cilantro. Serve with white or brown rice.
South Indian Style Vegetable Curry Recipe.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Roasted Curry Chicken with Potatoes and Raisins

Roasted Curry Chicken with Potaotes and Raisins recipe.

Other than the ingredients, all you need to make a delicious and easy dinner is one knife to chop, one bowl to mix and one sheet pan to roast. No special equipment required, except an oven. What you do need is time to mix, marinate and bake. Roasted curry chicken with potatoes and raisins has it all. A flavor packed one-pan meal with warming spices and fruity-sweetness enveloping tender chicken meat and potatoes.

Roasted curry chicken with potatoes and raisins reicpe.

 

Roasted Curry Chicken with Potatoes and Raisins recipe.

For this recipe, as well as salt I added a ground curry spice blend for the main seasoning. My recipe for roasted chicken curry is not traditional Indian cuisine, or any curry meal from Asia. It is an American rift inspired by Indian flavors, and ease of preparation. I love curry, but there are so many types and each one is as unique as the cook making it. Every country, region, city and cook has its own variation of spices for curries. As I learn more about curries and the cuisines that developed them, I plan to make my own curry spice blends. Until that time, I’ll take a shortcut and use store-bought ground curry to satisfy my hankering for curry flavors.

Chicken for a cook, is like a blank canvas for an artist. It is the foundation from which all added flavor will enhance. Because chicken has a mild taste and texture, it benefits from adding seasoning and then letting the flavors steep into the meat before cooking.  Of course, if pressed for time, you will still have a decent tasting curry chicken dinner if you must skip the marinating step. However, taking the extra time to marinate will make a big difference in the over-all depth of flavor.

Roasted curry chicken with potatoes and raisins recipe.

More one pan dinner recipes:

Mediterranean Style Chicken Dinner

Oven Baked Chicken with Shallots and Fennel

Spanish Style Mussels with Chorizo

I realize not all children like the spiciness of curry powder. Some curry blends have a lot of pepper and chilies in them. If you can find a ground curry blend that is on the sweet side it might change your family’s opinion of curry. I found a Massale curry blend from Spice and Tease in New York City. It is similar to a Garam Massala but not as hot and peppery as other curry blends.  For more information, here is an article explaining the differences of the two spice blends.

Roasted curry chicken with potatoes and raisins recipe.

Roasted curry chicken with potaotes and raisins recipe.

I love making meals where I can mix together the flavors I love and cook them together on one pan in the oven and forget about it. No standing or stirring over a hot stove. Just place in the oven and bake. This easy recipe, of roasted curry chicken with potatoes and raisins is so simple it is hard to make a chicken dinner any other way. The raisins may seem out-of-place, but the sweetness compliments and softens any heat in the curry spices. Add, additional vegetables, like cauliflower or broccoli, for a more well-rounded dinner.

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Roasted curry chicken with potaotes and raisins reicpe.

Roasted Curry Chicken with Potatoes and Raisins

An easy sheet pan dinner the whole family will enjoy. Prep and marinate the chicken in the morning, and bake in the evening for a hassle-free dinner. Some curry spice blends are sweet, and some are spicy depending on how much pepper and chilies are blended in. Find a curry blend that suits you and your family for that perfect flavor balance. The sweetness of the raisins and yogurt sauce will cut any pronounced spicy heat of your curry. Add cauliflower or broccoli flowerettes for a well-rounded dinner.
Prep Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
Author Ginger

Ingredients

Curry Chicken with Potatoes

  • 3 garlic cloves mashed
  • 1- inch 2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger*, grated
  • 3 TB 35 g extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB curry spice blend not a spicy curry blend
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Zest from one lemon and juice- divided
  • 1 TB chopped fresh tarragon can use dried tarragon if fresh is not available, but only 1 teaspoon
  • 6 chicken thighs either bone-in and skin on, or boneless
  • 1 lb 450g fingerling potatoes, or other small wax potato like red potatoes or Yukon Gold
  • 1/2 medium onion sliced in half moons no more than 1/4 inch (6mm)
  • 1/4 cup 60 ml raisins
  • Optional: Half a head of cauliflower cut into flowerettes. Reduce the potatoes to 1/2 to 2/3 lbs 225 g - 300 g.

Yogurt Sauce

  • 4 oz 125 g plain yogurt
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2- inch 1.3 cm piece of fresh ginger*, grated

Instructions

Chicken Curry

  1. Peel each clove then slice in half. If the green germ is there, remove it. If you have a fine microplane grater, grate the garlic cloves. Or, scatter a pinch of salt over a pile of roughly minced garlic cloves then mash the garlic with the side of your chef's knife. Move the blade from side to side pressing down with the blade until the garlic forms a paste. Add the garlic paste to a medium mixing bowl large enough to hold the chicken and vegetables.
  2. Mince or grate the ginger root and add to the bowl with the garlic.
  3. Add the olive oil, curry powder, lemon zest, Kosher salt, a couple of rounds of fresh ground black pepper, tarragon, and juice from half a lemon. Mix until just incorporated.
  4. Add the chicken, potatoes, onion slices and raisins (cauliflower if using). Using your clean hands mix the chicken and vegetables until the marinade evenly coats all the pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
  5. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you want to cook dinner and bring up to room temperature. The chicken can rest up to one hour on the counter before cooking. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F (204°C) twenty minutes before you are ready to cook.
  6. Spread the chicken and vegetables evenly across a low sided sheet pan. The sheet pan should be just big enough for the chicken and potatoes to fit comfortably without overcrowding. Too big of a pan and the juices will dry up. Too small of a pan and the ingredients will steam.
  7. Place the sheet pan in the oven middle rack.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, then using a thin spatula, turn the potatoes around. Bake for another 20 minutes. Check the chicken and potatoes to see if they are done. The chicken is done when an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165°F - 170°F (74°C - 77°C) and the juices run clear. The potatoes are done when they are tender when pierced with a fork.
  9. If either ingredient needs more cooking time, remove the chicken or potatoes and place on a plate cover and keep warm. Continue to cook until the vegetables or chicken is done.
  10. While the chicken is baking make the yogurt sauce. Mix together the yogurt, grated ginger, Kosher salt and lemon juice in a small bowl. Cover and set aside until the chicken is done. Just before serving, garnish with fresh herbs and lemon zest.
  11. Serve curry chicken and vegetables with the yogurt sauce on the side.

Recipe Notes

*Do not substitute the fresh ginger with powdered ginger. The curry spice blend might already have powdered ginger in its mix. The minced ginger adds a fresh ginger flavor.

© 2017 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Saffron Cauliflower Risotto

Safron Cauliflower Risotto Recipe

Risotto is food for the gods. It comes from humble origins as grains of rice but develops into a creamy luxuriousness that transports you to a dreamy and calmer world. Often, I feel like I am being extravagant when I eat risotto. It’s odd when I think about it because essentially risotto is a bowl of rice slowly cooked in stock, vegetables and cheese. Nothing fancy, but what a transformation. Say the word risotto, people start to swoon and get weak in the knees. They can only respond by repeating your own words with a subtle exclamation, “Oohhhh rissoootooo, I love rissoootooo.”

The first time I had risotto was many years ago in a very fancy restaurant, Equus at The Castle in Tarrytown NY. We were the lucky recipients of a gift certificate to this 5-star establishment. For our first course, my husband ordered risotto and I, not knowing anything about risotto, ordered pumpkin soup. Joe, being a generous person, offered me a taste of his risotto. That first bite of risotto changed my life.

To this day it is the best thing I have ever eaten. Selfishly, I was tempted to grab his bowl and make a run for it. Fortunately, I did not run away and Joe continued to share his risotto with me. My bowl of pumpkin soup got pushed aside as we sat together sharing the risotto and savoring each bite while melting into our chairs. I do not remember anything else about that meal, only the risotto.

Safron Cauliflower Risotto reicpe

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© 2016 – 2018, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

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