Coconut Vegetable Curry

$5.80 recipe / $1.45 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.44 from 53 votes
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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

Top view of a bowl of Coconut Vegetable Curry with a fork on the side

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Coconut Vegetable Curry

4.44 from 53 votes
This Coconut Vegetable Curry is easy, satisfying, delicious, and VEGAN! Your taste buds will thank you. 
Servings 4 -6 (5 cups total)
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger ($0.16)
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder* ($0.30)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots, 3-4 medium ($0.55)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.52)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.11)
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.75)
  • 1 lb. frozen broccoli and cauliflower pieces ($1.65)
  • 1 14oz. can light coconut milk** ($0.99)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar ($0.02)
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped ($0.25)

Instructions 

  • 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.

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Notes

*Every curry powder blend is different, so start with a smaller amount and add more as needed. I used 2 Tbsp total.
*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.

Nutrition

Serving: 5CupsCalories: 225.08kcalCarbohydrates: 24.85gProtein: 5.13gFat: 14.33gSodium: 494.33mgFiber: 9.08g
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Top view of a pot of Coconut Vegetable Curry with a wooden spoon

Step by Step Photos

Garlic and Ginger cooking in skillet

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).

Curry Powder added to garlic and onion in skillet, mixed with wooden spoon

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.

Chopped Onions and Carrots

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).

Onions and Carrots added to skillet

Add the onions and carrots to the skillet (or pot) and continue to sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and transparent. 

Tomatoe paste and diced tomatoes added to skillet

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.

Bag of Frozen Vegetables

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

Frozen veggies added to other ingredients in skillet

Stir one pound of frozen broccoli and cauliflower pieces into the tomato mixture and let it heat through.

Can of Coconut Milk

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.

Top view of a pot of Finished Vegetable Coconut Curry

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. 

Top view of a bowl of Coconut Vegetable Curry with fork on the side

You’ll definitely want to serve the curry with either rice or naan to soak up all of the delicious sauce!

 

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  1. One of my all time favorites. So easy, so filling, and absolutely delicious. I usually add a little more curry powder than what’s called for, but I like mine extra flavorful. My house smells amazing for days afterwards!

  2. I was cautious to try this after reading the comments, but it turned out great. I have pretty fresh curry powder from a local Mediterranean market, and 2 tbsp was spot on.

    A few suggestions: chop up the frozen veggies into smaller pieces so you get more per bite, and make sure your carrots are cooked all the way through (or chop into really small pieces). Mine were still a little tough even after simmering for quite a long time.

  3. With two adaptations, I made this work really well for us:

    1) Triple the amount of curry suggested–okay, maybe we like ours hot, but don’t accept 2 tbsp as the upper limit. I also threw in about 2-3 tbsp of garam masala.

    2) Instead of tomato paste, use red curry paste.

    This tasted a lot less tomato-ey, more Indian than the previous version. Last time I made it I parboiled some carrots and potatoes to use (I like my veggies a little softer) and stirred in some frozen peas not long before the coconut milk. Came out delicious.

  4. I use a one-pound bag of frozen California blend veggies and add them when the recipe calls for the broccoli and cauliflower. That saves me a step of cutting carrots. I also add a drained 15oz can of chickpeas at the same time for extra veggies. 

  5. I’ve made several recipes from this site and recommended it to friends but this one fell short for me. It was pretty bland and I used 2 different types of curry powder. I had to throw some honey in and even a little garam masala to get any kind of flavor profile close to a curry. When I think curry I think big bold flavors and this was pretty soft.

  6. Made this tonight. I have to agree with the commenter who found the tomato taste overpowering. I used a full four teaspoons of curry powder (and even a little cayenne) and still found it a bit ketchup-like. Your other Indian-inspired recipes pleased me much more; this is okay, but not as good as they are. Thanks anyway for the inspiration.

  7. Recipes passed down from generation to generation are always the best! This looks delicious, and I love the color.

  8. Loved this dish – definitely a go to recipe.  I like how I can change out the veggies according to whatever I have around.  I added 2 bay leaves while simmering the curry.  Squeezed fresh lime over the rice to finish.

  9. Jut made this curry today and it was easy and delicious. Thank you for the recipe!!! <3

  10. I tried this recipe because my favorite food is thai red curry. It’s my first time making it too. I am quite satisfied with it, but I think that the tomato flavor is kind of over-powering the flavor of the coconut milk, although I did have to use full fat coconut milk. I think next time I make this dish, I will add about half the amount of tomato paste and drain the tomatoes out and add water instead.