I steered toward cozy, comfort food last night. My kitchen provides a respite for the chaotic world outside the door, and in our own personal lives. With my Spice Tiffin and my mother's vintage copper bottom pot at hand, I was able to whip up a wonderful, aromatic, flavorful, smooth not too-spicy-but-just-right curry. I added a touch of coconut milk to the dish just before serving. There's something magical about the addition of coconut milk to curries. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it's a fine balance of how the flavors meld together before and after--the after being much, much better. This dish took me about 30 minutes give or take. I used my new favorite cookbook for inspiration: America's Test Kitchen Vegan for Everybody.
The first step in any cooking direction I take when it comes to making curry is to add spices to warm oil. I always include brown mustard seeds. They impart a tart component that, once cooked down, evolve into a creaminess. Well, to my mind they do. Then you add a bit of this and that from the spices you see here. My general ratio is more of the Sweet Curry spice to the rest (I get mine at Penzey's)--and I add based upon my preferred tastes for the evening. I wanted a garam masala boost to this dish: warm cinnamon and cloves permeate this on the front end, but once I added in my second favorite curry seasoning: The Now Curry (again, from Penzeys), it came together very nicely. My motto in curry is: More is Better. I keep tasting until I find the right heat, flavor combo. Taste. Taste. Taste.
I only needed half an eggplant for this. I find I dislike the taste of eggplant heavy flavor. I bet that's why I love the addition of coconut milk to this curry.
The flavor boosters go in next: minced fresh ginger, garlic and onion (diced, not minced). Then the other veggies I have on hand: eggplant, sweet potato, some green pepper, a handful of green beans. It then is up to you as to whether or not you want to add a can of diced tomatoes. I usually do. I had a splash of veggie broth left over from the other night, and about a half cup of it was added, plus a little water. Then I added about a third of a cup of coconut milk and that's when the flavors really did their thing.
We are experiencing our second flood in our community in fifteen months. I look at the map of the rest of the country and it's as if there is the vortex here in the middle that keeps circling around our state just daring us to keep dry. The photos above were taken on our single sunny day we had on Tuesday as the waters on the Meramec River began rising.
She hates this weather.
Meantime, I baked more vegan chocolate chip cookies. My End of World plan for survival.
Vegan Curry with Sweet Potatoes, Chickpeas and Eggplant
3 T. olive oil
1 T. vegan butter
1" minced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves minced
1 onion diced
1 t. brown mustard seeds
2-3 t. curry powder
1/2 t. tumuric powder
2 t. garam masala
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium sweet potato cut into half moons
1 green pepper chopped
1/2 medium eggplant chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup or more veggie broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup lite coconut milk
Over medium heat, add oil and spices. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add the rest of the veggies. Simmer for about five minutes. Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer together about 20 minutes. Taste as you develop the flavor. If mixture becomes too thick, add more broth or coconut milk. Serve over rice.