Vegan Curry

adapted from Fine Cooking

August 2014 - I've long wanted a curry recipe that didn't use "curry powder." I felt that a recipe with curry powder would rely completely on the particular curry powder I used, obviously. It would not give me enough options to tweak the recipe to find my own flavor profile. Early this year I again searched the web and found an exciting recipe on It was a hit the first time I made it. Last night I did it again and this time several members of the San Carlos Social Club asked for the recipe. Here is what I made.

Note that while the recipe calls for coconut milk, the dish is not your typical coconut curry; there's no residual flavor of coconut when served.

We served this over Basmati rice and everyone just raves about the flavors.

In step F and G you should have the tomato paste and vegetable broth open and ready. These steps go quickly and you want to be ready to add the broth when the paste has cooked.

Total cooking time: 60 minutes
Serves: 8 with rice

A. vegetable oil 2 tablespoons  
  yellow onion 1 large Finely diced
In a 6-quart heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high. Add the onion and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

When the onion starts to brown, turn the heat down to medium and continue cooking until the onion is beautifully brown. This may take another 10 minutes. Take your time on this step as you are developing a lot of flavor for your curry.

In the photo the onions still need more browning.
B. garlic 4 cloves minced
  fresh ginger 2-inch "thumb" Peel the ginger and grate it finely. You should have 1 tablespoon.
Do this while the onion is browning. Set aside in a bowl.
C. coriander, ground 1 tablespoon  
  cumin, ground 1.5 teaspoon  
  turmeric, ground 0.75 teaspoon
  cayenne pepper 0.5 teaspoon 0.25 teaspoon makes for a "warm" curry. Leave out for mild.
While the onion is browning, measure these into a small bowl.
D. Mix from B  
    Once the onion is well browned, leave the heat on medium. Add garlic and ginger mix. Stir well for one minute.
E. Mix from C  
    Now add the spice mix from C. Keep stirring for 30 seconds. Don't worry if some brown bits start forming on the bottom of the pot - that's flavor!
F. tomato paste 2  tablespoons  
Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook another minute. This blends the flavors and even more browning will form.
G. vegetable broth 2 cups Use unsalted or low salt
  light coconut milk 1 cup  
  cinnamon stick 3-inches  
  salt 1 teaspoon  
  black pepper 0.25 teaspoon  
Add to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. You will see a lovely, rich, brown sauce form.
H. cauliflower small head Cut into bite size florets
  sweet potato 1 pound White or orange will work. Cut into bite size 1-inch cubes.
  tomatoes 2 medium coarsely chopped
  carrots 2 large Peeled and cut into 0.5-inch rounds
Increase the heat to medium high and add these ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Cover the pot and simmer 25 minutes until the sweet potato cubes are tender.
I. chickpeas 15 ounce can Drained and rinsed
  baby spinach 4 ounces  
  limes 2 Squeeze them for 2 tablespoons of juice. Grate the rind for 1 teaspoon of zest
  cilantro 2 tablespoons Chopped up
Discard the cinnamon stick. Add these ingredients; stir them into the mix. Cook 3 minutes until the spinach has wilted