Chandra Malai (sans Kofta) vegan curry


It is very exciting to post a recipe today – it has been too long! I couldn’t think of a better one to start with than this interpretation of Isa Chandra Moscowitzs’ vegan curry recipe. I have to thank my talented friend, Jeremie, for this new favorite! On Jeremie’s last visit to Maine, she was gracious enough to teach us this after asking her, “what is your favorite meal to cook?” It was so good that I made it again once the leftovers were gone (which didn’t last long)! I’m so pleased to have her tell you all about it:

Over the years I have come to appreciate cooking from scratch. This must stem from becoming vegan and valuing fresh ingredients as well as growing up in a household where Sundays meant eating a hearty brunch then preparing a huge dinner or three with pots bubbling, and scents simmering throughout the day. One of my favorite dishes that embodies the spirit of the best Sunday comfort foods is vegan curry. It’s so versatile and easy to assemble from pantry staples and you can determine the level of spice, complexity, and— of course is best when shared!

When first becoming vegan, I was gifted the Isa Does It cookbook and fell in love with the curry from her Kofta recipe, but instead of making the kofta balls I throw in seasonal veggies. I like to combine leafy greens with something soft and sweet like butternut squash with chickpeas as protein but really it’s all just a vehicle for the sauce. Toasted almonds and cilantro really bring out the spices and add some beautiful texture. I’m glad Karen is also a designer who can appreciate that food seems better when it also looks pretty!

Nothing tastes as good as the curry that is talked up for a week, prepared for an hour, simmered for three and gone in minutes. So make it for your friends and impress them!

for the sauce:
1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp refined coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, very finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can light coconut milk
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt

1 cup frozen peas
12 cup red peppers, sliced
1 34 cups kale, loosely hand torn
2 cups butternut squash, chopped up small
1 cup garbanzo beans, from a can, rinse clean
34 cup cauliflower, chopped up small

for everything else:
refined coconut oil, for frying (2 tbsp or so)
cooked basmati rice, for serving (we used brown basmati)
fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
toasted almond slices, for garnish (optional)
prepare the sauce:
Drain the cashews and add to a blender along with the broth. Blend until very smooth. This could take from 1-5 minutes depending on the strength of your machine. It should be very smooth, with only a slight graininess. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure you get everything.

Preheat a pan over a medium heat and add the coconut oil. Saute the onion in the oil for about 3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook just until fragrant, 15 seconds or so. Add the curry powder, garam masala, and cumin and toss for a minute or so, just to toast the spices a bit.

Add the coconut milk, tomato paste, blended cashews and salt. Bring to a low simmer and let cook for 15 minutes or so. It should thicken up nicely. This is where you would start to add in your veggies, the ones that may need more time like the butternut squash would go in first and end with the peas and kale. Taste for seasonings, then turn off the heat and cover until ready to serve.

to assemble:
Scoop some rice on to each plate and cover with sauce. Garnish with cilantro and toasted almond slices, if you like, and serve.

03-vegan-curry-oct-2015-web-6656Recipe adapted from: Chandra Malai Kofta – vegan curry recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

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