So you guys know that I mainly focus on Middle Eastern cuisine here on this blog, with an emphasis on Persian food and also Arabic food of the Levant region. Or, if you’re new to this blog, now you know ;-)
That being said, a little bit of curry never hurt anyone. So let’s take a detour, just for today. Today’s quick curry is fast, fresh, and useful. Useful? Yes, especially if you have an abundance of summer vegetables around and you’re wondering what the heck to do with them all.
That’s exactly what happened to me recently. A friend hooked me up with not one, but two big batches of organic farmer’s market veggies. Verdant emerald zucchini, sunny yellow squash, lavender hued eggplants, ruby red sweet peppers, and more. I was grateful, excited, and nervous, all at the same time, because I wanted to make excellent use of the goodies, and not let anything go to waste.
I made a few dishes–grilled veggie subs, pesto with pasta and fresh veggies, chickpeas with, you guessed it, more of the fresh veggies. I dipped the raw veggies in hummus and smeared sunflower seed butter on them, too. Then one night, I was in a big hurry to get dinner on the table (who am I kidding–that’s every night!) I remembered a fast curry my friend Erica once showed me when I visited her in Florida.
Coconut milk is the base. Don’t worry, the fat in coconut milk, while saturated, is GOOD for you. You dump in the veggies and spices of your choice into the silky coco milk, and heat everything up for just a few minutes. The variations are endless. For added flavor, cook the onions, fresh ginger, and spices together for a moment. You can garnish as you wish, swap out the veggies to your heart’s content, and play around with the spicing. Here’s what I threw together the other night:
Curry in a Hurry (Quick Summer Veggie Curry)
Coconut milk is the base of this simple curry. Feel free to get creative with the veggies, the spicing, and the garnishes.
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil, or neutral cooking oil of choice
- 1/2 of a medium onion, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- Curry spice mix of choice (I used Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie spice, plus 2 teaspoons of turmeric, and a half teaspoon each of cardamom, coriander, and cumin)
- 1 14-16 ounce can coconut milk (can use light)
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 pounds veggies of choice (I used zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and mild red peppers)
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil over a low heat in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. As oil heats, clean and chop all veggies into chunks. Leave the peels on if you like to save time and add fiber.
2. To the oil, add the onion pieces and fresh ginger. Cook to soften over the low heat for about 2 minutes. Then add in the curry spices of your choice, mix well and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute (you should smell the spices).
3. Immediately add in the coconut milk, veggies, and water. Stir thoroughly. Add in a bit of salt and bring to a boil. As soon as the curry begins to boil, drop the heat to low and cook for 2-5 minutes, until veggies reach the desired texture. (You can test veggies with a fork or knife). I don’t like mushy veggies, so I cook mine around 3 minutes. Depending on your preference, you may shorten or extend the cooking time. Taste, and adjust the seasoning.
4. Serve over cooked rice or other grain of your choice, with garnish if desired. Some garnish ideas: fresh cilantro, fried onions, raw scallions, a red hot sauce.