Are you tempted to try and ‘go Vegan’ in January? Veganuary is what people are talking about. And not just for January, for the whole year.
I do cook non-meat dishes, mainly soups and frittatas, but vegan dishes are much more tricky as it also means that it excludes my stash of dairy products – eggs, milk, cream, butter and cheese for starters which I use often in everyday cooking.
I can understand why some people are vegan, usually because of not wishing to eat animals for various reasons, or maybe it’s for health benefits as in lower cholesterol, blood pressure and the reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease. Then there’s helping the planet and environmental issues. Now, I love my meat and source it from good quality local butchers, so Veganuary isn’t necessarily for me, but I did want to challenge myself and cook up a vegan recipe or two by using ingredients I already had in the kitchen and without having to go out to buy ‘vegan’ foods.
There are lots of products available at supermarkets and health food shops, and some great books about with a lovely variety of recipes. I rustled up this very tasty vegetable korma which I would cook again.
Now a tray of roasted vegetables taste so good and I could devour the lot before they go into making soups and this dish. If you haven’t got all of the spices, use what you have got, experiment a little with different flavours. Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a go;. it makes a generous six portions and we even had leftovers with salad the following day which I must say it tasted even better.
What you need:
1.5kg mixed vegetables (I used roughly 500g sweet potato, 500g butternut squash, 100g cauliflower, 150g carrots, 100g leeks & 150g peppers) for roasting
For the curry sauce:
1 tin coconut milk
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped or crushed
1 fresh chilli (two if you like your curry quite hot), deseeded and finely diced
Piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
12 cardamom pods, seeds crushed
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp hot chilli powder
1 bay leaf
4 whole cloves
Small pinch saffron
2 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper
Serves about six people
What to do:
Put the oven on at 180C.
Peel and chop the vegetables into bite size chunks and place in a large roasting tray. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix with your fingers to ensure each piece is coated. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. Give it a stir every 10 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, you can get on with the curry sauce:
Peel and chop the onions (you don’t need to chop them too finely as they will be blitzed once cooked) and put into your largest saucepan. Add some oil, salt and pepper and cook over a low heat until they have softened. Stir occasionally so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add in the garlic, fresh chilli, grated ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and bay leaf. Pinch off the ends of the cloves into the pan (discard the stalks).
Cook for a further 5 minutes stirring all the time. Pour in the tin of coconut milk and add in the few strands of saffron and sugar. Bring up to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes stirring now and then. Remove from the heat and take out the bay leaf. Let it cool slightly, then with a hand blender, blitz the onion mixture until it’s smooth.
When the roasted vegetables are cooked, carefully add these into the sauce, stir to ensure all the vegetables are coated. Put the pan back onto the heat and warm through.
Serve with rice and chapatis. Sprinkle the curry with flaked almonds and scallions of spring onions, or even chopped coriander would be better.