Time is limited in this fast paced modern world we inhabit. Time is also precious, and we all feel we could do with more of it. However, one of the downsides of this frenetic pace means that people have lost the desire to cook at home, as they feel it simply takes too long. I have endless conversations with friends, family and clients about the importance of avoiding ready meals 95% of the time, and about the detrimental effects of heavily processed foods on our health. Far more than anything else, including a lack of exercise, the lack of a predominantly wholesome, home cooked diet causes us to be at high risk of developing multiple chronic imbalances.
I love to show people how cooking with fresh, pure, unadulterated foods is a pleasure that ticks many boxes. It is fun, self-loving, loving towards others, sociable, and of course, so nourishing for our entire being. I also enjoy showing others how a little bit of planning brings huge rewards…. and one of them is more time to do other things.
What better than a delicious vegetable curry base that can be made in advance, kept in the fridge or freezer, and used to make mixed vegetable curry? This is so easy and fresh, and certainly makes for a quick midweek meal that doesn’t take up precious time that could otherwise be spent on chilling!
Vegetable Curry Base (enough for two curries that will each serve 3-4 people)
3 small onions, finely chopped
3 very large tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch piece fresh ginger
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tsp green chilli, finely sliced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 level tbsp garam masala
2 tbsp ground cashew nuts
1 tbsp dried fenugreek (methi) leaves
1 tsp salt
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they fizzle, add the onion and soften for a few minutes before adding the garlic, ginger and green chilli. Mix well and throw in the tomatoes. Cook on a medium heat until softened and incorporated, and when you push the mixture to the side of the pan with a spoon, the oil separates from the tomatoes. It should take around ten minutes. Add the salt. Now add the garam masala, and cashew nuts. Cook for another five minutes before adding the fenugreek leaves. Allow to cool before whizzing it in a blender until it is smooth. Keep the curry base in the fridge for a week, or freeze all/half to use later.
Mixed vegetable curry
2 large mugfuls of mixed vegetables, boiled gently until soft but intact (you can use any combination of peas, diced carrots, sliced green beans, cauliflower florets, or even baby corn- try and make everything the same size, apart from the peas of course)
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 level tbsp ghee
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small stick of cinnamon
1 black cardamom pod or 2 green cardamom pods, slit at one side
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
A handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Salt to taste
Method for making a vegetable curry for 3-4 people
Heat the oil and ghee in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and once they fizzle, add the onion and green pepper, as well as the cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are golden. Now add the salt, turmeric, cumin and coriander powders. Mix everything well before adding your vegetables and a half quantity of the pre-made curry base. Add a little water and the fenugreek leaves. Cook for around 10-15 minutes on a low heat, checking the curry sauce is thickening, and not watery.
Garnish with the fresh coriander, and serve with some chapatis and/or rice, and a little fresh plain yogurt on the side.