Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Pictured above with Creamy Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry & Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”

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This one has quite a few ingredients only two of which might be hard to find – the fenugreek seeds & the curry leaves.  Honestly – I think there is so much flavor in this dish that you can omit those if you cannot find them.   This dish used unsweetened grated coconut blended with cashews & I did not blend my coconut fine enough & it added a bit of texture to the dish that was not unpleasant – but I will definitely pulse it more finely next time.

Indian foods are often served with one of my favorite condiments in the world – Spicy Cilantro and Mint Chutney (seen below) and I recommend making some because it really adds something special – though it is definitely not necessary.

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Vegan South Indian Coconut Curry with Mushrooms & Peas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1 lb mixed mushrooms – sliced

2 cups peas

2 tomatoes – diced

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

4 TBS fresh ginger or ginger paste

1 cup unsweetened grated coconut

20 cashews

15 curry leaves (optional)

2 tsp black mustard seeds (mustard powder – if you do not have seeds)

1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp garam masala

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 TBS coconut or olive oil

5 cups vegetable stock

Garnish – cilantro

Cooked rice

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 DIRECTIONS

Pulse the cashews & coconut in a food processor or spice mill until the coconut is very fine – more fine than in my photo below.  Set aside

Heat 2 TBS oil & saute the mushrooms over high heat until they are soft & beginning to brown.  Put in a bowl & set aside.

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In the same pan  – add another TBS oil & add the mustard seeds heat until they begin to pop then add the fennel seeds & fenugreek seeds.

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Stir & add the onion & tomato & saute until the onions are soft.  Add the garlic & the ginger & the chili powder, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cumin & stir to incorporate.

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Add the coconut/cashew blend & the curry leaves.  Blend & then add the stock & bring to a boil.

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Boil it down until it thickens a bit & then add the mushrooms & peas.  You might want to reserve a few mushroom slices & peas to garnish the servings but this is not necessary.

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If the texture is to your liking – serve it on top of rice.  I chose to puree about half of it with an immersion blender.  You can do this – or use a regular blender to puree some of it – or not.  Your call.

Serve over rice & garnish with reserved veggies or cilantro.

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Creamy, Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Pictured with Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”

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The photo of the greens above (which I stole from the internet) is of fresh fenugreek leaves (or methi).  I bought some at my local Indian market (India Sweets & Spices).  From the internet:

Fenugreek is an annual herb with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor often described as a cross between celery and maple. The seeds can be used whole or ground and are commonly found in curry powder.

I had them, so I used them.  If you cannot find them, use spinach or chard or even kale – it doesn’t much matter.

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This is an easy but very creamy dish so it would go over a cauliflower “rice” nicely – and you avoid doubling up on heavy starches.  The flavors here are subtle & mild – a rare dish I added little spice to.   If you cannot find fenugreek SEEDS (any Indian market will have them & they won’t be expensive) – they can be purchased online – Amazon, for example.

I used a random mix of potatoes – and any potatoes would do – even sweet potatoes.

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Creamy, Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry

Easily feeds 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of methi (fenugreek) leaves or other greens (like spinach or chard or kale)

4 cups of cubed potatoes

1-2 TBS olive oil or coconut oil

1 onion – diced

1-3 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced (go less or omit – if you hate heat)

1 tsp black mustard seeds (I was out so I used mustard powder)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)

1/4 cup vegan sour cream

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1/2 – 1 cup unsweetened almond (or other vegan) milk

S&P

Cooked rice or cauliflower rice

OPTIONAL – garnish with Spicy Cilantro and Mint Chutney – seen just below.

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DIRECTIONS

Boil the potatoes until they are just done.  Drain & set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan & add the mustard (seeds or powder), fennel seeds & fenugreek seeds.  Once the seeds start popping – add the onion & chilies.  Cook until the onion begins to brown  bit.   Add the potatoes, fenugreek leaves (or other chopped greens), turmeric, chili powder & cumin & stir to combine.  Cook until your greens wilt.

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Add the sour cream, cream cheese and milk (add milk in increments until you get the consistency you like) & stir to incorporate them.

Season to taste with S&P.

Serve over rice.

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8-Ingredient Vegan Thai Keffir Lime & Red Curry Chicken – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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By odd coincidence – I posted another red curry recipe a year ago tomorrow.  It was my Vegan Red Coconut Curry with Chicken and Vegetables and Hominy (for the Slow Cooker) – seen in the white pot above.  That recipe had a zillion ingredients & made enough to cater a party.  My recipe today feeds two (with rice) and has only a few easy-to-find ingredients.  The only exotic ingredients are the keffir lime leaves – and – while they are not absolutely critical – they do add a flare of authenticity to the dish.  Lime juice & zest can be substituted but if you can find the keffir lime leaves in a local Asian market – grab some.   Apparently, they can be purchased frozen but I have never seen them like that.  You can buy them HERE on Amazon, too.

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I made this in my fancy new casserole slow cooker (above) – just because I wanted to use it but this dish can be made on the stove top in minutes.  I have a full-fledged slow cooker fetish & that one above is the 6th one under my roof.  I have two 7-quart cookers, one with a timer & one without, one 1-quart cooker & two little dipper ones.  I love using them & they are especially effective when throwing a large party.  Cook & serve from the same place & they work as chafing dishes.  No muss – no fuss.

So – as I said – this is a far simpler red curry than the one I posted last year & you can make it in the time it takes to cook rice.  I used Beyond Meat chicken because – I feel – it is the best vegan chicken on the market.  Go to their site to find a store near you that carries it.

8 ingredients & quick to prepare?  Why not give it a try?

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8-Ingredient Vegan Thai Keffir Lime & Red Curry Chicken – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

Serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS
9-12 oz vegan chicken – thawed & cut into cubes

1-2 serrano or jalapeno peppers (according to your tolerance for heat) – seeded & diced

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 small red bell pepper – chopped small

2 TBS red curry paste

1 (13 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

10 keffir lime leaves – sliced into strips OR the juice & zest of 1/2 lime

1 TBS kecap manis (SWEET soy sauce) OR 1 TBS brown sugar

Serve with cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything in either a slow cooker & cook, on high, for 3 hours or until the veggies are soft & it is heated through – or do the same in a stock pot on the stove.  It should be ready in under 30 minutes on the stove.  Taste to see if it might need salt.

Serve over rice.

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Vegan Creamy Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I love Indian food.  I always have.  I also love cooking with dry beans & lentils because they are so inexpensive & yield many servings for pennies per serving.  The only issue with Indian recipes is acquiring the exotic spices – which can be expensive if you do not buy them from an Indian market.  Ethnic markets are always the best place to buy spices because each will typically carry all you need for recipes from that area of the world and at greatly reduced prices.  If you do not live in an area with much diversity – Amazon is wonderful.  You can typically omit a few spices from most recipes with little loss of flavor but it is really satisfying to be as authentically true to a regional recipe as possible.   With Thai food, for example, getting fresh kaffir lime leaves & Thai basil makes an enormous difference.  You just open the packages of these things and are transported to your favorite Thai restaurant.  Indian food has a few staples that are hrd to get around – garam masala, for example.  But it is stuff like cardamom & fenugreek (methi) that add authenticity.  Fenugreek is an herb – pictured below – both fresh & dried.  It also comes in seed form & as a powder and it is ubiquitous in Indian recipes in one form or another.  It might be a good idea to research a few Indian recipes & stock up on the critical spices sif you want to experiment with this wonderful cuisine.  HERE is a list of the most used spices – garam masala being the most commonly used and that list omitted the kasoori (or kasuri) methi (dry fenugreek leaves) and I would add that to your list as well as amchoor (mango powder).

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I made a version of mahkani in July – seen above – my Spicy Vegan Dal Makhani (Beluga or Black Lentils) for the Slow Cooker.   That dish used beluga lentils & is not as authentic as today’s recipe. In today’s recipe I used whole black lentils (also called urad dal or black gram) and red kidney beans (rajma).    I not only soaked these beans overnight but I also cooked them in my slow cooker for 5 hours on high AND left them overnight to let the flavors meld.  I recommend this (though it is not necessary) to let the beans really soften & the flavors blend – so – if you are making this dish it takes two days before you are eating it.  Again, you definitely could eat it after the 5 hours but like many stew-type dishes – it gets better over time.  The good news is – there is no prep cooking for this dish so, except for cutting up an onion & 2 peppers – the slow cooker does all the work (except the smoking process – explained below).  The lentils & beans I used are below – dry – and as they looked after soaking them – separately – overnight.  As you can see – they changed color considerably.   This dish is traditionally very rich using varied amounts of butter & heavy cream.  I used only 2 TBS of vegan butter & 1/2 cup vegan sour cream – so this dish is not quite so heavy.

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As to smoking your dal makhani – it is VERY easy & I recommend it very highly.  It just requires a chunk of a natural charcoal & a small metal bowl.  You simply heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!  (The photo of the smoking charcoal is from my Smoked & Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry (Vegan – Vegetarian) – seen below.)

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Vegan Creamy Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – for the Slow Cooker

Serves 6+ with rice

INGREDIENTS

 1 cup dry black urad dal – soaked overnight

1/2 cup dry red kidney beans – soaked overnight

1 onion – diced

2 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced

2 TBS vegan butter

4 cups water (or vegetable stock)

1 cup tomato puree

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 tsp amchoor

2 TBS dry methi leaves

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp chili powder

2 green cardamom pods

1 TBS fresh or jarred ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/2 cup vegan sour cream

Steamed rice

GARNISH – more sour cream, cilantro or fresh fenugreek leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Soak the beans overnight.

Put everything except the sour cream into a slow cooker & cook on high for at least 5 hours – maybe more.  If you are going for the overnight uber-cooking (as I did) – leave it covered overnight.  I left my cooker off as there was nothing in there that would spoil but – if you are not comfortable with that – add some water & leave it on warm overnight.

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Either way – the next step is the smoking (which you can skip but I recommend trying it because it is amazing.  Heat the coal over a burner until it is red hot, place it in a metal bowl & drizzle olive oil on it & place it atop your dal & put the lid on the slow cooker.  In ten minutes – you will have authentically, smoky goodness!

Now – stir in the sour cream.   If it is too thin – add water or vegan milk to thin it.  If it is too thin – cook it on high with the lid off until it thickens.

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream & serve with rice.

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Vegan Carrot Kootu (Thick Coconut Curry with Lentils)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Here is the Wikipedia definition of “kootu:”

Kootu is a Tamil word means ‘add’ i.e.vegetable added with lentils which form the dish, made of vegetable and lentils and are semi-solid in consistency, i.e., less aqueous than sambhar, but more so than dry curries. Virundhu Sappadu (Typical Tamil feast) comes with the combo of boiled rice (‘Choru’ in Tamil), sambar, rasam, curd, poriyal, kootu, appalam, pickle and banana. All kootus by default have some vegetables and lentils, but many variations of kootu exist.

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I am a big fan of vegan curries – especially those with lots of “sauce” and even more so if they are made in a slow cooker.  This recipe is simple with no exotic ingredients & feeds a LOT of people.   I made this in a 7-quart Crock Pot & nearly filled the thing.  It makes enough to feed a dozen people if served with rice.  I ate it for lunch every day & froze a bunch.  You can do this or cut the recipe down.  I just developed an urgent passion to use ALL the produce I had in my house this week & I had 4 pounds of carrots – so this kootu.

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Vegan Carrot Kootu (Thick Coconut Curry with Lentils)

Serves 10-12 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 cups peeled split mung beans (yellow lentils)

4 pound carrots – sliced

1 onion – chopped

3 cans coconut milk

3 cups vegetable stock

1 or more (according to your taste for heat) jalapenos (or other peppers) – seeded & diced (I used several split Bird’s Eye chilies)

1 TBS fresh ginger (I used jarred)

4 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS tomato paste

2 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp chili powder

1 TBS ground cumin

1 cup fresh cilantro – chopped plus more for garnish

1/2 cup or more Thai or other basil – chopped

Lime wedges for garnish

S&P

Cooked rice (I used brown jasmine)

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything into the slow cooker & cook on high for 4 hours or until the carrots are tender.  Season with S&P.

Serve withe rice & garnish with cilantro & lime wedges.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Pumpkin & Chicken Curry

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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So – my friend David showed me a picture of a party he threw in his back yard & I saw hundreds (ok – dozens) of pumpkins and my imagination went crazy.  I knew most of those pumpkins – if not all – would end up sitting out & rotting until they got tossed.  So – I got bold and asked for one.  And he happily delivered one.  Here she is:

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That thing is about the size of a basketball – maybe a bit bigger.  I used 1/4 of it for this recipe.  This curry is so easy & so yummy – I REALLY hope you do not throw your holiday pumpkins away.  And know – even if cooking with pumpkin doesn’t interest you – you should AT LEAST get all those seeds out and make my EASY Homemade Crunchy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – seen above.

This recipe is very easy & comes together faster than your rice probably will – but curries like this tend to improve in the next day or two – as the flavors get really saturated & blend together.

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I used Thai basil & kaffir lime leaves (kaffir lime leaves seen above) from my local Thai market & I recommend using them if these ingredients are available to you.  If they are not available – regular basil & lime zest will suffice.

I used Beyond Meat chicken in this & I recommend it very highly as the best vegan chicken on the market.  I thawed mine & then cut the strips into irregular chunks.  You can chop them or not – your call.

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In order to not slip & cut my hand off – I put the pumpkin in my sink – stem side down the drain – to stabilize it.  To peel the pumpkin – cut it into smaller pieces.  It peels far more easily that way.

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Vegan Spicy Thai Pumpkin & Chicken Curry

SERVES 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

1/4 of a basketball-sized pumpkin or equivalent – peeled & cubed

9 oz vegan chicken

1 small onion – diced

Olive oil

1-3 TBS red curry paste (according to your tolerance for heat – I used 3 TBS)

1-2 (15 oz) cans coconut milk (I used lite) – this amount is flexible based on how much pumpkin you have & how wet you like your curries (I like mine wet)

6 kaffir lime leaves – cut (like in my photo above) to release flavor (or 1+ TBS lime zest)

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS brown sugar

Juice of one lime (2+ TBS)

1 cup water (or veggie stock)

Handful of Thai (or other) basil – chopped

S&P

Bird’s eye chilies (I used 6 but quickly fished them out because the curry got VERY spicy VERY fast) – optional (or use a serrano or jalapeno pepper – if you love heat)

1 TBS Cornstarch (optional)

Cooked rice (I used brown jasmine)

GARNISH OPTIONS – lime wedges, more basil, cilantro, sliced jalapenos

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DIRECTIONS

Heat a little (1 TBS?) olive oil & saute the onion until soft.  Add 1/2 can coconut milk & the red curry paste.  Whisk to blend & bring to a boil.  Add everything else except the basil.  Bring to a boil then lower heat & simmer until the pumpkin is soft – maybe 20 minutes.  If the curry is too thin – keep cooking until it thickens OR – whisk 1 TBS cornstarch into 1/4 cup water & add to the simmering curry.  It should thicken more quickly this way.  Adjust seasonings.

When ready to serve – add the basil.  Serve with warm rice and garnish as you choose.

See?  EASY!  Ain’t you glad you didn’t throw that pumpkin away?

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Spicy Vegan Beef Panang Curry for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I made this in a little slow cooker.  It doesn’t have any settings so I am just gonna call its default setting “high.”  I made it out of with whatever I had around & you can do the same thing.   Mix & match veggies or use chicken or no meat (vegan or otherwise).  Your call.  This came out genuinely spicy because I left the seeds in the jalapeno.  If heat bugs you, you can seed the jalapeno or skip it altogether.  The only exotic ingredient was my inclusion of these dried kaffir lime leaves.  Fresh ones would be immensely better but they are not carried consistantly by the Asian markets in which I shop.  I got these guys a Lassen’s.   They were very mild – almost to the point of being useless – so – I would not invest in them again.  If you cannot find fresh kaffir lime leaves – lime zest will suffice.

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I served this delicious curry over that beautiful Coconut & Ginger Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds.  The coconut & ginger flavors of the rice we overwhelmed by the heavier curry flavors but the pomegranate seeds added a nice texture & flavor.   They make a beautiful pairing visually & taste very good together.

This could be made stove top by just simmering it all until the veggies are soft.

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Spicy Vegan Beef Panang Curry for the Slow Cooker

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz (or 2-3 cups) vegan beef (I used Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble)

4 oz mushrooms – sliced

1/2 red bell pepper – chopped

1 jalapeno – seeded (or not – if you love spice) and diced

1/2 onion – diced

1 (14 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

4 oz Panang curry paste (or red curry paste)

5 fresh (or dried) kaffir lime leaves – sliced (or the zest of 1 lime)

Handful of Thai (or regular) basil or cilantro – chopped

1/2 cup peas

GARNISH: Thai (or regular) basil or cilantro, lime wedges, chopped peanuts, cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything except the peas & the garnish into a slow cooker & cook on high for 2-3 hours or until the veggies are tender.  Stir in the peas & let them heat through.

Serve with rice & garnish of choice.

OR – this could be made stove top by just simmering it all until the veggies are soft.

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