Roasted Vegetable Coconut Curry
The creamy coconut milk and myriad spices grant these vegetables both elegance and luxury. Roasting the vegetables in the paste really brings out their sweetness. Making your own curry paste takes minutes and the complex depth of flavour means it’s always worth doing.
2 x 400ml (14fl oz/1 3/4 cups) tins of coconut milk
600ml (1 pint/2 1/2 cups) vegetable stock (see recipe)
400ml (14fl oz/1 3/4 cups) natural yoghurt
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm (3/4in) cubes
6 parsnips, peeled, cores removed and flesh cut into 2cm (3/4in) cubes
700g (1 1/2lb) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm (3/4in) cubes
4 onions, peeled and cut into eighths
150g (5oz) spinach (any large stalks removed before weighing – use stalks for Spinach Stalks – see recipe), chopped
For the paste
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons chana masala
50g (2oz) root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
12 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 red chillies, deseeded
200g (7oz) onions, peeled and quartered
50ml (2fl oz/1/4 cup) vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (1 American tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) ground turmeric
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Large bunch of coriander, chopped
100g (31/2oz) cashew nuts, toasted and chopped
200ml (7fl oz/scant 1 cup) natural yoghurt or crème fraîche
large casserole dish or saucepan
Preheat the oven to 170°C / 325°F / Gas Mark 3.
First make the paste. Place a small frying pan on a medium heat and add the coriander, cumin and chana masala. Cook, tossing frequently, for about 1 minute or until they start to pop, then crush.
Place the ginger, garlic, chilli, onions and vegetable oil in a food processor and whiz for 2–3 minutes or until smooth. Pour this mixture into a large saucepan or casserole dish and stir in the freshly ground spices, along with the turmeric, sugar and salt, then place on a medium–low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has reduced slightly.
Remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture into a large bowl. Pour the coconut milk and stock into the remaining half in the saucepan or casserole dish, stirring to combine.
Stir the yoghurt into the spice paste in the bowl, then add the root vegetables and onions and stir in the mixture to thoroughly coat. Tip into 1–2 roasting tins or baking trays and cook in the oven for about 1 hour or until lightly browned.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and add to the saucepan or casserole dish. Place on a medium heat for a few minutes to warm through, then stir in the spinach and spoon into bowls with a sprinkling of fresh coriander, a scattering of the toasted nuts and a spoonful of yoghurt or crème fraîche.
Chana Masala is made up of equal quantities of ground coriander seeds, cumin and turmeric.
People usually chuck out the spinach stalks after they’ve strung the spinach, but they’re delicious and it’s a pity to waste them after all the hard work of growing them.
Chop the spinach stalks you have reserved into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces. Cook in boiling salted water – use 1 teaspoon salt for every 600ml (1 pint/2 1/2 cups) water – until tender, about 3–4 minutes.
Drain well. Toss in a little butter or extra virgin olive oil. I sometimes toss in a few chilli flakes and freshly chopped herbs. If you feel like an Asian flavour, substitute soy sauce or oyster sauce for the butter or olive oil.