I absolutely adore vegetarian curries, I usually make them once a week in a large batch and then freeze portions to make dinner-time easier. They’re really tasty, filling and cheap to make so it’s a winner in every perspective! This recipe is just a base sauce that you can modify any which way, depending on what you fancy. You might be wondering why would I bother to make a curry sauce when there’s countless jars and premade options available to buy in supermarkets, but as you will see, it’s SO simple to make! Fresh sauces made at home have an unbeatable depth of flavour, not to mention the use of fresh ingredients results in the best possible flavour of each ingredient.
Like a casserole, curries tend to taste better when they have had more time for all the flavours to intermingle and infuse. However, I hardly expect you to be spending hours slow-cooking a curry on the hob. Yet another upside to meal-prepping is if you choose to freeze portions, they’re going to have more depth of flavour when you choose to eat them again.
I’ve just started a new job, which has meant I a lot less free time, and it means I’m trying to be time-savvy with my cooking, because I absolutely hate relying on pre-made food, even if it is somewhat healthy. I find that I crave home cooking, and cooking for yourself means that you know exactly what is going into your food and body. The majority of sauces available to buy are either packed with sugar, salt or additives. If you were to leave the nutritional value of these products out of the matter entirely, the lack of taste is appalling, and I really despise paying money for inadequate food.
This sauce uses fresh tomatoes but if you are using tinned the secret is to puree the tomatoes to a smooth consistency first, as it will result in a lovely velvety texture. I like to use my blender . Otherwise the sauce will be thin and the tomatoes won’t dissolve completely, so the texture won’t be quite right. However, if you prefer things chunkier this option won’t affect the overall flavour.
The base of all curries is fresh ginger, chillies and garlic. Use a grater for the ginger (and garlic if you don’t have a crusher), and finely chop chillies, seeds included. You can alter the ratio of these depending on how you like your curry.
I always use sweet potatoes for my recipe, the combination of the spices and the sweetness and texture of the potato is delish. I’m not the biggest fan of sweet potatoes in every other realm, as they often are soggy and so sweet that it becomes overbearing. The trick in this is to cook them until they are just so, that they still hold their shape when pronged with a fork.
The pictures used in this recipe featured dhal lentils, sweet potatoes, peppers and white fish, so it wasn’t strictly vegetarian.
Also, if using lentils either buy cooked or else par-cook them before making the curry. I decided to use Dhal lentils when I took the pictures, and they took a lot longer to cook than I had realised! If you do decide to use Dhal, steep them for at least an hour beforehand. They also take about an hour cooking to soften correctly, so keep that in mind when buying.
Use half the amount of liquid and add in coconut milk instead for a lovely, creamy taste.
Spinach and Sweet Potato is probably my favourite combination, add the spinach leaves at the last minute so they almost retain their bite.
Add in bite size pieces of fish, or meat if you like. Fish will take about 8 mins, Chicken or Turkey about 12-15 on a medium simmer.
Serve with Naan bread, steamed greens or some rice.
Go-To Veggie Curry
serves 4-6 portions depending on levels of hungry, takes about 25 mins cooking time.
1 Shallot or 2 Spring Onions chopped.
2 cloves of Garlic
Thumb-sized piece of Ginger
1-2 large Red Chillies, finely chopped
1 dstspn. Oil (Coconut, rapeseed, olive)
4 Fresh Tomatoes, chopped (or 200g Tin)
2 Tsp. Cumin
1 Tsp. Turmeric
1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
2 Tsp good quality curry powder or Garam Masala
1/2 stock cube
200ml of hot water (you mightn’t need all of this) * optional *
Good pinch Salt & Black Pepper
400g Sweet Potatoes (or approx. 3 medium-sized)
150g Lentils cooked (200g tin if you prefer) – I used Dhal in the pictures
1 Pepper -roughly chopped (Red, Green or Yellow and any variety you wish)
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Grate the ginger, garlic and finely chop the chilli. Add to pan along with chopped onion. Fry for 3-4 minutes.
- Add your spices, and Sweet Potato at this point. If you find your pan going a bit dry lower the heat slightly and add another drop of oil if needed. Sauté for 3-5 minutes.
- Puree the fresh tomatoes, and add to pan. If using lentils, add now.Simmer on a medium heat for 10 mins. Add hot water as you need. (If using tinned tomatoes, you may not need extra liquid)
- Add the peppers and any other veg you might like and cook for a further 5 minutes. (spinach leaves are delish!)
Voila! enjoy time and time again
So how do you like your curries? Are there any other veggies that you think I’ve missed out on? Let me know.