This Easy Conscience Vegetable Curry recipe is the tastiest way to get your 5-a-day. Think dinner party comfort food that's simple to make and perfect for guests with food intolerances!

Serves 4-6 FREE FROM MEAT, DAIRY & NUTS
PERFECT FOR FREEZING & GATHERINGS

As a student I lived in Leicester for three years at the back of an Indian restaurant. Curry is still my idea of heaven; warm spices are so often the antidote to British weather!

After a few years of hanging out with my mates enjoying regular fiery and fragrant feasts, I noticed that there was an automatic assumption that curry had to involve some kind of meat. The choice was chicken, mutton or lamb (more often than not), occasionally beef and sometimes goat.

The provenance of the meat was never mentioned, and eventually, I started to wonder about that, and about who had grown and harvested the spices that were in the curry. My mind would wander as I laughed and chatted with my gang, wondering whether the people who grew our spices also had their friends and families round for the evening, and if they had the luxury of a cold beer and a chance to catch up.

Vegetable-curry-1

Photo by Laura Edwards

So this is about having an easy conscience – by making the most ethical curry in the world with a recipe to celebrate. It relies upon you choosing to buy and cook with fair trade spices, organic coconut oil, seasonal vegetables and local honey and yogurt, with herbs grown in your garden or in a pot on the windowsill. But make sure you save on food miles by choosing veggies that are local and in season.

💡 Tip. You might substitute butternut squash, fresh spinach leaves, tomatoes, mangetout or sugar snap peas (or a big handful of podded peas), whole green beans, discs of carrot or even mushrooms for what’s in the recipe, cut into different shapes, to give the dish visual appeal.

Ingredients

Vegetables

With the exception of the potatoes and onions, the vegetables are interchangeable.

2 large potatoes, unpeeled 2 large onions, chopped
1 aubergine, sticks little-finger size ½ cauliflower, broken in florets
2 courgettes, 1cm slices Sub for seasonal veg (optional)

Coconut

Coconut is a traditional feature of Southern Indian curries.

6 tbsp coconut oil 2 tbsp coconut yogurt

Spices

The spices are organised into groups depending on when they are added during the cooking process.

Group 1

2 star anise 1 stick of cinnamon
2 tbsp mustard seeds 2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp fennel seeds

Group 2

2 tbsp garam masala 2 tbsp mild curry powder
1 tbsp sea salt

Yoghurt dressing

Replace with non-dairy yoghurt for lactose-intolerant friends. Vegan guests may prefer a plant-based alternative to honey.

200g plain yogurt 1 tbsp honey
1 tsp turmeric ½ teaspoon sea salt
4 sprigs of mint, roughly chopped Handful coriander or parsley leaves

How to make vegetable curry

Step 1

Cook the potatoes whole for 10 minutes then drain, and chop into 2.5cm cubes, leaving the skin on.

Put the coconut oil, cinnamon and star anise in a saucepan and heat. Add the mustard, cumin and fennel seeds and onions, and sauté until the onions are soft and caramelised. It will be very fragrant as you cook.

Step 2

Once the onions are soft and dark, add the garam masala, curry powder and salt, then stir in the seasonal vegetables and diced potatoes. Stir well and cook for a further 5–6 minutes until the vegetables are well coated with spices and just starting to soften. Add a little more coconut oil if necessary.

Reduce the heat, add about 120ml cold water and cook for a further 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft but still have some shape. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave for 15 minutes, then stir in the coconut yogurt.

Step 3

Meanwhile, make the yogurt dressing. Stir the yogurt, turmeric, honey, salt and mint (optional) together in a small bowl. Spoon the curry into a serving dish and scatter coriander or parsley leaves over the top. Serve with the yogurt dressing on the side.

Serve

Great with a big bowl of steamed or boiled basmati rice to share.

Recipe by Vanessa Kimbell, originally published in Food for Thought (2015) by Kyle Books.