A spicy vegetable, vegan curry that is super rich on flavour but light on cream or nuts? It's entirely possible! This vegetable vindaloo is a powerhouse of flavours. And don't worry if you can't take things too spicy, this is adjustable for heat.
Vindaloo is usually made with pork and originates from Goa and the name refers to meat, wine-vinegar and garlic from the Portuguese "Carne de vinha d'alhos". Over the years the wine has been substituted with vinegar and outside of Goa other meats are also used and the meat is no as commonly marinated in vinegar. It is one of the spiciest items available on menus in Western countries.
It's true what they say, that travelling to other countries allows you to appreciate the wonderful aspects of what you take for granted at home. And as much as I adore travelling I have to admit that I do miss the wonderful food that we have in Sydney. It's not just the food, it's the breadth of food. And one food that I miss when I go overseas is spicy food or chilli.
I was coming back from a trip when I messaged Mr NQN from the airport about to board a plane.
"Hi honey, I'll see you soon. And can you get curry?" I asked him. And when I arrived home he had bought a selection of curries from the Indian takeaway around the corner. One was a vegetable vindaloo because the other thing that I crave are vegetables. We opened up the four types of curries and I tried a bit of all of them but it was the vegetable vindaloo that I loved the most. The heat was punchy but not insurmountable and the vegetables were just what my body was craving.
And that began a little tradition that after a trip away we would get some vegetable vindaloo. The man at the takeaway shop even makes it fresh for me when they don't have any. We are eating a lot of vegetables dishes at home keeping meat options for when we go out and a couple of meals at home a week. It got to the point that I craved it so much that I wanted to see whether I could make a vegetable vindaloo at home.
I can offer no claims of authenticity here although I have to admit that it smells and tastes just like his vegetable vindaloo which was reassuring. Usually the pork is marinated in a cup of vinegar but the vegetables weren't marinated here. You see I had a bit of a brain lapse and the curry leaves that I wanted to use were no good so I had to leave them out. But this curry without any coconut or rich ingredients is a powerhouse of flavour. It's not just heat, there's no real point to a fire breathing heat that will kill your taste buds. This was spicy but not intolerable at all and didn't even have us reaching for something to drink. But it was the host of spices that really made this a gorgeous curry. A part of me only thought that I really enjoyed Indian curries if they had cream or cashews (because I adore creamy things). But this vegetable vindaloo proved me wrong.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you enjoy vindaloo curries? Do you have a curry that you always order? And what is your fallback take away? Do you cook when you come back from a holiday or do you eat out or get take away?
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
For the spice paste
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds or ground coriander
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon fenugreek
- 5 cloves
- 1 inch cassia bark or cinnamon
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 3 dried small red chillies (the hot ones), chopped roughly (add 5 if you want it really hot or add 1 if you can't take the heat), I used fresh
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped roughly
For the curry
- Oil for frying
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 cups water from a recently boiled kettle
- 50g/1.7ozs tomato paste
- 700g/24.7ozs. potatoes, washed and cut into small bite sized pieces
- 500g/1.1lbs. large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
- 500g/1.1lbs. Japanese eggplant, trimmed and cut diagonally
- 500g/1.1lbs green beans, topped and tailed and halved if long
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
Step 1 - Measure the cumin, coriander, cardamom, fenugreek, cloves, cassia, peppercorns, mustard seeds, turmeric and sugar. Place in a dry frypan and heat to release the aroma and cook for a minute or two. Grind this up in a mortar and pestle with the vinegar, tamarind paste, chillies and garlic until fine.
Step 2 - Heat oil in a frypan and saute the onions until fragrant and translucent. Add the spice paste and fry for a minute. Then add the tomato paste, 1 cup of water and potato. Simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes. Then add in another cup of water and the sweet potato and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Repeat with 1 cup water and 10 minutes for the eggplant and then lastly do the same for the green beans. Season with salt and pepper and serve with basmati rice.