Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Southern Indian Vegetable Curry.

Now, there is absolutely no denying it. I am a complete chili addict. I'm the person that could be eating pizza, pasta, a roast or a burger and will ask you to pass whatever appropriate spicy condiment is on offer. Be it hot sauce, horseradish or crushed chilies, if it makes my mouth burn, I'm all over it.

Taking this into account one may assume that Southern Indian cuisine may not be my bag. With all those subtle flavors of mustard seeds, curry leaves, coconut milk and no promise of chili to assault my taste buds,  you may predict me uninterested. But no. 

Having been fortunate enough to travel around India I completely fell for every element of its cuisine and after sampling the traditional breakfast of Southern India, a Masala Dosa (aka the KING of all breakfasts) I fell head over heels for this type of food. 

The recipe that follows is a take on Southern Indian cooking and ticks all of the expected boxes with a bit of added chili for some bite, simply because I couldn't resist. 

Serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed.
2 large handfuls of spinach or the leafy end of the chard, shredded.
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
a thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
a bunch of curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 can of coconut milk
fresh coriander, chopped

In a wok or large, deep pan on a high heat add your oil and mustard seeds, when they start to pop add the onion.

When the onion begins to soften, add the garlic, chili, ginger curry leaves and spices, fry that for 3-4 minutes then add the chopped tomatoes and sweet potato and season.

Fry this for another 2 minutes to develop the flavors then add the coconut milk, cover and simmer until the potato is soft all the way through.

Add the spinach or chard and wait for it to wilt, taste, check the seasoning, then serve with rice, scattered with the fresh coriander and a wedge of lime to squeeze over.

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