Friday, October 23, 2009

sri lankan inspired cauliflower curry

I loved Malaysia. I gorged on curries of all varieties from the spicy Assam, through to Indian and a mouth-blowingly hot Thai meal. But when I came home I thought it was time to have a rest from chilli for a while.

Within a week I was bored, perhaps I was addicted to our little friend in the capsicum family? I became determined to made a curry that was creamy and flavoursome rather than relying on the heat.

The mildest curry that I eat on a regular basis is a cauliflower and coconut version at my lunchtime haunt, Sheni’s Curries. I set about to make my own version and created the base recipe as follows. Over the past month I’ve made at least 3 versions, from no chilli to moderately hot, each has its merit.

Despite the list of spices this is a deceptively simple curry to make and can be on the table in under an hour. What’s more it’s vegan and gluten-free.

My favourite combination is to serve this with brown rice and some pan-fried firm tofu, splashed with tamari just before turning off the heat or the same method using tempeh and kecap manis.

Sri Lankan inspired cauliflower curry

1/2 cup cashew nuts
2 cups water

Dry spices
3 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (to taste)

Coconut oil
1 clove of garlic
3 cm turmeric root (or a tsp of dried turmeric powder)
3cm ginger root
6 curry leaves
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 med onion, diced
1/2 large cauliflower, broken into florettes
1 head of broccoli, broken into florettes
1 tin coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock
juice of half a lemon

Boil the cashews in water for about 20 minutes – longer if preferred. This makes them softer and easier to digest. I usually put the cashews on then measure some brown rice and get that cooking, toast and grind the spices and prepare the vegetables in the time they take to cook.

Toast the dry spices in a pan, move them around frequently so they don’t burn. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and bash well.

Heat some coconut oil (or plain vegetable oil) in a heavy based, large pot. On a medium heat add the ground dry spices, garlic, turmeric and ginger and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Stir again, then add the vegetables. Once all the vegetables are coated with the spices add the coconut milk and good quality vegetable stock (I use Marigold organic bouillon). Drain the cashew nuts and add to the curry. Bring to a gentle simmer on low, cover with a lid slightly ajar and give it a stir every now and then. If you need more fluid add some more hot vegetable stock.

After about half an hour check to see if the vegetables are tender. If you want to develop the flavours more cook earlier in the day, leave covered off the heat and reheat before dinner.

When the vegetables are cooked add salt to taste and a decent squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Don’t forget the lemon, it really helps enliven the spices.

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Blogger Johanna GGG said...

sounds good - I am always looking for interesting curry recipes

btw - have been enjoying nettle soup based on lucy's - will post about it soon but thought I would let you know the nettles have been well and truly grasped and loved!

12:44 pm  
Blogger GS said...

Johanna am glad you are getting into the nettle love :)

If you need a quicker option for the dry spices - that rather dim and dusty looking Indian food shop on Nicholson St (between Park and Holden Streets) does a good "Ceylon curry powder".

9:28 am  
Blogger Lucy said...

One remaining cauli is coming along very nicely - and I'm gonna make this with it, 'cos it sounds so damn good.

Johanna - yay! Looking forward to your nettle experience. Hope they didn't bite you!

11:24 am  
Blogger Cindy said...

I made this curry as soon as cauliflower turned up in our vege box. It was a real comfort during a difficult week (though not quite as difficult as yours, by the sound of it). Thank you!

6:29 pm  
Anonymous recipes said...

Hi just dropping by, nice blog ypu have here

6:41 am  
Blogger GS said...

Lucy - how did it go?

Cindy - yes we've both had interesting weeks :( Big "ouch" to Michael re his broken elbows! And all that kitchen/blogging duty for you for these coming weeks.

Recipes - would love to check out more of your Indonesian recipes but the black background makes it very difficult to read :(

10:24 am  
Blogger Gillian H ( said...

I just made it - delicious! I went hunting for a Sri Lankan cauliflower recipe after eating at Sigiri on the weekend (I think Sigiri is related to Sheni's Curries). Thanks for figuring out the recipe and posting it.

8:23 pm  
Blogger GS said...

Gillian - welcome. Glad it hit the spot. If I've got the story right the lovely twins sold Sigiri a while back to someone who'd worked for them. The family curries live on in Northcote.

...and thanks for reminding me to make this recipe! Will put it back into rotation over winter.

9:41 pm  

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