I gotta give a big shout out to Neil, whose tweet inspired me to try again with a recipe that I completely failed with the first time around. Neil tweeted about an amazing vegetable and chickpea curry he had made with coconut milk and it just so happened to be exactly what I was craving, so I knew I was going to have to try it again. I approached the recipe with a bit more thought and planning this time and I’m happy to report that we now have a WINNER! Woo!
And by winner I mean I couldn’t stop sneaking spoonfuls of the sauce between photographs. It’s one of those dishes that just makes you say, “MORE!” Curries aren’t the prettiest of dishes, but their powerful flavor more than makes up for their lack in appearance. Using a pre-blended curry powder makes this dish a breeze. There’s no measuring out ten different spices, just one perfectly blended mix. I used a hot curry powder, but there are plenty of mild versions on the market. The beauty of a mild curry powder is that you can simply add some cayenne pepper to make it hot, or any heat level between.
I used another one of my favorite short cut items for this dish: frozen vegetables. I used a one pound bag of frozen cauliflower and broccoli. Not only was it a fraction of the price than if I had purchased them fresh, but I had exactly the amount I needed, the chopping was already done for me, and they are pre-blanched, so the cooking time was much shorter. Gotta love it.
The summary: This is a very easy, super flavorful, filling, and inexpensive dish that will help you use up leftover vegetables from your refrigerator or freezer. I made my vegetable choices based on what I had on hand, but you can feel free to experiment. For a little extra protein, try adding chickpeas, like Neil did!
Coconut Vegetable Curry
- 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
- 2 cloves garlic $0.16
- 1 inch fresh ginger $0.16
- 2 Tbsp curry powder* $0.30
- ½ lb. carrots (3-4 medium) $0.55
- 1 small onion $0.52
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.11
- 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes $0.75
- 1 lb. frozen broccoli and cauliflower pieces $1.65
- 1 (14 oz.) light coconut milk** $0.99
- ½ tsp salt $0.02
- ½ tsp sugar $0.02
- Handful fresh cilantro, chopped $0.25
- Peel the ginger using either a vegetable peeler or by scraping with the side of a spoon. Grate about one inch of the ginger on a small holed cheese grater. Mince the garlic. Sauté the garlic and ginger with olive oil in an extra large skillet or large pot over medium heat until softened (1-2 minutes). Add the curry powder and continue to sauté for one minute more.
- Meanwhile, peel and cut the carrots into rounds. Dice the onion. Add the carrots and onion to the skillet and continue to sauté until the onions are soft and transparent.
- Add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes (with juices) to the pot. Stir until the tomato paste has mixed in with the juices and created a thick sauce. Add the frozen broccoli and cauliflower pieces and stir to combine. Let the pot simmer over medium heat until the broccoli and cauliflower have heated through (5-10 minutes).
- Turn the heat down to low and add the coconut milk. Stir until the coconut milk is thoroughly mixed with the tomato sauce. Allow the curry to heat through over low heat (5 minutes). Stir the salt and sugar into the sauce. Taste and add more salt if desired. Top with a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro.
*Full fat coconut milk can be used in place of light coconut milk, but you may need to add some water to thin the sauce. Full fat coconut milk has much less liquid than light coconut milk.
Step by Step Photos
Begin by mincing 2 cloves of garlic and grating about one inch of ginger on a small holed cheese grater (remove the skin first, either with a vegetable peeler or by scraping with the side of a spoon). Sauté the garlic and ginger with 2 Tbsp olive oil in an extra large skillet or a large pot over medium heat. Sauté just until soft (about 2 minutes).
Add 2 Tbsp of curry powder and continue to sauté over medium heat for about one minute. This will toast the spices and magnify their flavors. 2 Tbsp seems like a lot, but there will be a lot of vegetables to cover and the coconut milk really mellows things out quite a bit. That being said, every curry powder is different, so you may want to start with a smaller amount and work your way up. After you add the frozen vegetables is a good place to taste and determine if more is needed.
Meanwhile (or before, if you need more time), dice one small onion and peel and chop 1/2 lb. of carrots (about 3-4 carrots).
Add the onions and carrots to the skillet (or pot) and continue to sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent.
Next add 2 Tbsp tomato paste and one 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes (with the juices). Stir until the tomato paste has mixed in with the juices.
Check the freezer aisle for a one pound bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower. This one was disguised as “Winter Blend” and has a picture of a red bell pepper on it, but when I flipped the bag over and looked at the ingredients, sure enough, it was JUST broccoli and cauliflower. :D
Stir one pound of frozen broccoli and cauliflower pieces into the tomato mixture and let it heat through.
I used this can of coconut milk that I had scored at Trader Joe’s the last time I was in Baton Rouge (99 cents! Woot!). You can certainly use full fat coconut milk, but you may need to add some water to make it more saucy. Full fat coconut milk has much less liquid than light coconut milk. Oh, and no, “coconut beverage” (the kind meant as a dairy milk substitute) will not work here. It’s too diluted.
Turn the heat down to low and then stir in the 14-ounce can of light coconut milk. Allow the sauce to heat through, then stir in 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of sugar. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if desired. Top with a handful of fresh, chopped cilantro.
You’ll definitely want to serve the curry with either rice or naan to soak up all of the delicious sauce!