Heat up that belly: an Indian dinner. And a giveaway!

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me whether Sydney winter gets much colder than what it was at that time, and I confidently reassured her that it didn’t. Never was I so wrong. This past week has been icy! And today has been ever so slightly rainy, so I walked home through chilling winds and tiny darts of freezing rain. Yuck. Curry time I say.

I had a difficult time coming to terms with the idea of a ‘dry curry’ when I started cooking. Maybe it’s the Aussie in me that expects everything Indian to look and taste like butter chicken, but I just thought curry should be swimming in a rich sauce. Not so, as it turns out. Paired with a saucier side of greens, this dry curry of sweet potato, cauliflower and edamame is spot on.

Do you remember when I blogged about the limes Ash’s Nana gave us? The ones I turned into lime chutney? Well I cracked open another jar and served a glob of it alongside the two curries. Yum. Those intense chutney flavours were well-matched.

Speaking of the chutney, it’s been a while since I’ve done a giveaway! I’ve got two jars left in the pantry, one of which is already betrothed, while the other needs to be given away to a good home. Will you be good home? To a jar of spicy sweet lime chutney? If so, to enter the giveaway, do one of the following:

  1. Post a link to Cat’s Kitchen on Facebook;
  2. Post a link to Cat’s Kitchen on your blog; or
  3. Post a link to Cat’s Kitchen on Twitter.

Then (and this is the important part or I won’t know that you entered at all) comment below telling me how you’ve entered.

Happy entering!

Now for the recipes…

I read this intriguing post about oil recently on Choosing Raw. It had never even crossed my mind that oil is a processed, refined ingredient. It had just seemed like a necessary part of cooking! Now I’m not saying fat is bad, far from it, I think fat is most important in our diets. But in its natural forms, it must be better for you than when it’s been extracted and refined. Having recently just finished the book Eat to Live (a great read by the way, and everything he says about nutrition just makes so much sense to me), it certainly seems that it is most beneficial to consume fat when it’s packaged in fibre, protein and phytonutrients, (such as the fat that occurs naturally in nuts, seeds and avocados).

Another thing that intrigued me was seeing the ‘healthy menu’ at a Thai restaurant, where they apparently ‘stir fried with water’. So to take a moderate approach, I’ve reduced the amount of oil I cook with. If there is a dish where oil is an important component of the flavour profile, I’m more than happy to include reserved amount. When it comes to cooking in oil, as I’ve recently discovered, sauteing or stir frying in water is as easy as splashing some water in a pan, and keeping a cup next to you while you cook to continue with little splashes if it threatens to dry out too much. By all means you can use oil instead, but both of these recipes were made without it and tasted just as delicious to me!

Aloo gobi a.k.a.cauliflower & potato dry curry (serves 4)

I was a bit untraditional and used sweet potato here because, if I’m going to have potatoes, I may as well eat the yummiest potatoes money can buy. You can use ordinary potatoes if you like.

As with most recipes requiring a mix of spices and not much cooking time, before you start it’s best to measure them into a small cup or bowl. That way you can throw them all in at the right moment without the risk of burning some while you add the rest.

This recipe is closely adapted from the aloo gobi in La Dolce Vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 long red chilli, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp garum masala (make your own, it’s so easy!)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (how badass are you?)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 500g sweet potato (that’s a guess – I just had one really big potato – I should have weighed it, I’m sorry)
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1/2 cup coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame beans or ordinary peas

Method:

  1. In a large pan over medium heat, heat a generous splash of water, enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the onion, ginger, chilli and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent. Add little bits of water as you go to prevent it getting too dry.
  2. Add the spices and saute with a little more water for a minute or two.
  3. Add the stock and sweet potato, stir and cover for 7 minutes.
  4. Add the cauliflower, stir and cover for another 7 minutes.
  5. Stir in the coriander and edamame, turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for another 5 minutes.

Indian greens with coconut (serves 3-4 as a side)

As above, instead of being all traditional and using spinach or something, I used something else. The Chinese broccoli was makin’ eyes at me in Redfern Fruit & Veg, I just had to go home with it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 400g tin of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 bunch of greens (English spinach, Chinese broccoli, whatever you’ve got)
  • a few cracks of salt
  • a handful of sultanas

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat a good splash of water and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add a splash more water and the spices, and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a simmer and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Chow down, be warmed and enjoy xx

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2 thoughts on “Heat up that belly: an Indian dinner. And a giveaway!

    • Thank you! Have you tried using water to saute or stir fry?
      I completely agree about salads and roasting – and I think sesame oil can be a key flavour in lots of Asian cooking – but a little goes a long way.

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