Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Coconut-Vegetable Curry

This last week as I walked through the Minneapolis Farmer's market I decided to pick out some ingredients that I haven't used before or not recently at least. I ended up with leeks, thai eggplant, thai and cayenne peppers, beets, green beans, eggplant and zucchini. I knew it would require some more research to use some of these but I needed some new inspiration.

I work with many Indian people and whenever we eat lunch together they are always more than willing to share their food. I really enjoy the Indian flavors and although I've cooked quite a lot of Thai and other Asian foods which are somewhat similar, I've never ventured into Indian. I found this recipe for Coconut Vegetable Curry on Bon Appetit and although this is far from an authentic Indian dish, it does have many of the typical spices and vegetables that they use. I even got to bring some for lunch yesterday and  it was fun to finally be able to share some of my food with my Indian friends (they aren't usually very interested in my frozen burrito). I got some compliments and they even said it tasted somewhat authentic. They may have just been being nice but it was still fun for me.

It was also a lot of fun to shop for the ingredients. There is a Thai shop here that I have been to before and got a few of the ingredients and then I found an Indian grocery that had the rest. I love the spices and fresh ingredients in these stores. I also found some beautiful mango's that I'll use for my next recipe.

Coconut-Vegetable Curry


  • 5 tablespoons Clarified Butter, divided (see recipe)
  • 12 pearl onions, blanched 1 minute, peeled
  • 10 fresh okra pods
  • 6 Indian eggplants (each about 3 inches long) or 4 Asian eggplants, trimmed, each quartered lengthwise
  • 2 large carrots (about 10 ounces), peeled, cut on diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick ovals
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored, cubed 


  • 5 tablespoons Clarified Butter
  • 1 pound white onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or frozen curry leaves* (about 16 leaves)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds**
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds***
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (preferably organic)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Basmati rice or Savory Semolina (see recipe) 

*Also known as kari patta; available at Indian markets.
**Sold at specialty foods stores, Indian and Asian markets, and adrianascaravan.com. If unavailable, substitute brown mustard seeds.
***Available at Indian and Middle Eastern markets.


For vegetables

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and sauté until onions are just tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer onions to bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add okra; sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add okra to bowl with onions. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplants; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté eggplants until brown on cut surfaces and just tender, about 6 minutes. Add eggplant to onions. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet. Add carrots. Sauté until carrots begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir to blend; add to vegetable mixture in bowl. Reserve skillet for sauce.

For sauce 

Heat butter in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until golden, about 14 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric, fenugreek, and cayenne; sauté 1 minute. Add vegetable mixture and 1 teaspoons salt. Add coconut milk and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Mix in lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Transfer curry to bowl. Serve over basmati rice or Savory Semolina.


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