Over the next month we’re featuring recipes from my new French Veggie and Vegan cookbook, and my Glossy Vegan Residency kicks off with a couple of vibrant, warming curries, just the ticket after the meatfest of Christmas. Discovering plant-based curries, stews and soups from around the world is the wonderful extra bonus of a vegan diet, and these dishes are meant to have time taken over them. Make sure you temper the spices, make up the paste, the (small) effort is always worth it.
Photographs throughout by Gunda Dittrich @gundadittrich
What a joy to make your own curry paste with fresh spices! The rare times I find fresh lemongrass or turmeric, I will stock up on this paste. It keeps for about a week in the refrigerator and freezes very well. Keep coconut milk and a few noodles in your cupboard and you will always have something to warm your heart and travel a little in your imagination with this pretty soup. Make it as hot as you like, but beware the fresh turmeric stains and the hot chili! Wear gloves to prepare everything.
For 4 people
For the curry paste
1 piece of fresh turmeric about 2 cm (or, failing that, 2 teaspoons, ground turmeric)
1 piece of fresh ginger (2 cm)
3 cloves of garlic
1 to 2 green peppers (or 1 red and 1 green, if you prefer)
1 stick of lemongrass
2 tbsp. teaspoon corainder seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1?2 tsp. teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tbsp. tablespoons of blanched almonds
Juice of 1 lime
For the soup
1 tsp. oil
200 g button mushrooms
100 g carrots
100 to 150 g of other vegetables: peas, mangetouts, green beans, peppers, zucchini …
75 cl vegetable stock or water
40 cl coconut milk
1 good handful of baby spinach
Toasted sesame oil
For the noodles
1 or 2 handfuls of dried Chinese noodles
Juice of 1 lime
Fresh mint and coriander
Prepare the curry paste: peel the turmeric and ginger and garlic cloves, then deseed the chili and remove the white part of the lemongrass. Toast the seeds in a pan, 2 to 3 minutes, so that they begin to release their aromas. Grind them, then put them in a blender with the other ingredients and reduce them to a fairly thick puree. Pour in a little water or 1 tsp. of lime juice to soften the paste if necessary.
Wash and slice the mushrooms. Peel and cut the carrots into thin slices. Cut the vegetables into cubes.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste and cook for 3 min, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 to 3 min. Add the carrots and diced vegetables, pour in the broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes (or less if you like your vegetables crunchy).
Meanwhile, cook the Chinese noodles al dente according to the instructions. Drain and set aside.
Add the washed and drained spinach and adjust the seasoning with the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and lime juice. Let the spinach wilt in the soup, add the noodles, garnish with coriander and mint and serve immediately.
Simple tomato curry with tamarind and blackened cherry tomatoes
Without meat in the refrigerator, umami rich tomatoes, took on a much more important place in my kitchen. I like to roast them very slowly, at 120 or 130°C (th. 4-5), brushed with a little fermented black bean sauce, or miso mixed with honey or maple syrup, or just good balsamic vinegar. This quick little curry, inspired by a dish in the wonderful book ‘Falastin’, by Sami Tamimi, has become a regular in my house, accompanied by jasmine rice or a good baguette.
For 3 to 4 people
10 minutes preparation
30 minutes cooking
2 large onions
4 cloves of garlic
500 g cherry tomatoes
1 bunch coriander
2 tbsp. fresh ginger
50 g tamarind paste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tsp. teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tsp. ground turmeric
2 red peppers (more or less according to your taste)
4 to 5 tbsp. olive oil
400 g canned tomato pulp
2 tbsp. muscovado, molasses or coconut sugar
400 g coconut milk
Salt and pepper
Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel the garlic cloves. Wash and hull the cherry tomatoes. Separate the coriander stems and leaves. Peel the ginger and cut it into pieces.
Simmer the tamarind paste in 30cl of simmering water for 5 min, pressing it with a fork to break it up. Pass the liquid through a sieve and set aside.
Toast the spice seeds in a pan for 2 min to release their aromas. Let cool before grinding, then blitz them with the ginger, turmeric, onions, garlic, coriander stems, chili and olive oil. Mix until you get a fairly supple paste.
Heat some oil (be generous!) In a sauté pan or casserole dish and brown the paste over medium heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 4 min.
Add the tomatoes, sugar and tamarind water, stir, season lightly with salt and pepper and simmer 10 min. Pour in the coconut milk and cook for another 5 min to thicken and combine all the flavors.
Heat the vegetable oil over high heat and toss the cherry tomatoes in the pan. Cook them for about 4 min, shaking the pan from time to time, so that they blacken on all sides, burst in places and release their juices.
Season with salt and pepper and throw the contents of the pan into the saucepan of sauce. Stir lightly and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice or bread.
La (bonne) cuisine veggie et vegan d’une omnivore réticente (mais amoureuse), by Trish Deseine, Hachette, is out now.
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