Tag Archives: curry

Curried Stew: Fast, Delicious and Vegetarian if you wish!


The first time I had this dish was at my brother-in-law’s house.  Well, farm.  We were up visiting for a week and I have to say that we ate incredibly well while we were there!

The meat, the eggs and even some of the vegetables were from about 100 feet from the house in varying directions.  Cows, chickens, pigs and an awesome garden!
We were sent home with 4 *huge* zucchini (zucchinis?) but that’s a story for another post. 🙂

The point being that all the food was beyond delicious, including this dish.  It was yummy both freshly made and the day after, so a good choice for meal planning and/or freezing for future meals.  A family member made it initially and when I asked for the recipe, she wrote it down for me…short, sweet and open to creative additions and substitutions.

Delicious AND easy?  My favourite kind of meal!

Curried Stew close up

 

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

 

This blog post will be short as the steps are straightforward and easy.  The hardest part was all the chopping of the veggies.

To start, brown the onions and the chicken.  I used chicken thighs but you could substitute tofu, some other vegetarian protein, or forego it all together if you wish.
I also browned them in a pot to save on dishes rather than using a frying pan.  In the end, the pot in the picture below wasn’t big enough so I moved up to my larger soup pot.

Browning the onions and chicken

Browning the onions and chicken

Onion and chicken in a pot. (Not sure what’s up with the colour of that photo)  I also added pepper and salt…but at this point you could add any spices that you think would go well with curry.

Now, remember what I said about having fresh veggies on the farm?  Yeah, now that I’m back in the city without a garden, cans are my friend.

tomatoes peas and coconut milk

Diced tomatoes, peas and coconut milk

Well, not completely.  I did use fresh vegetables too, including one of those zucchinis I brought home with me!  For the vegetables, I would say to look in your fridge and use up what you have.  I added celery, cauliflower and zucchini but you could also add potatoes, carrots, etc.  Depends how much chopping you want to do!

celery and cauliflower

 

And then….it all goes in the pot (except the zucchini) and left to simmer.

simmering stew

I took the above photo after adding the zucchini.  I originally held it back and let the stew simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Then I added the zucchini and let it go for another 10 minutes or so.  Otherwise, the zucchini turns to mush and I prefer a bit of texture….just on *this* side of crunchy.

The time you leave it to simmer is flexible as well.  We like our vegetables to retain their shape so we didn’t let it simmer too long.

The other option is to parboil the vegetables separately and then add them but I wanted it to be easy so I threw everything in together.

I kept checking the cauliflower by piercing it with a fork as it was the part that would take the longest to soften.

When it felt right, we ate!

 

Curried Chicken Stew

Curried Stew close up

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can peas (or frozen)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of curry paste
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • celery, I used 3 sticks, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped into half moons
  • any other vegetables you wish to add
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • rice, if desired
  1. Brown the onion in a pan with the olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Halfway through, add the chicken thighs, salt, pepper and garlic to taste.
  3. Add tomatoes, peas, coconut milk, curry paste and vegetables.
  4. Bring to a simmer and leave on low to continue simmering for approximately 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Add zucchini near the end and allow to simmer for the final 10 minutes or so.
  6. Serve on rice (or in a bowl on its own) and enjoy!

Curried Zucchini Soup


I was looking for some recipes to try a couple of weeks ago, specifically meals that would work on hot days as Toronto has been cooking for the past month and it shows no signs of letting up any time soon.

In my dozens of links and tabs, I came across a recipe for Curried Zucchini Soup and, although I initially bypassed it, I found myself going back to the page and bookmarking it to try at a future date.  That future day was two days later! 🙂

One thing about this recipe that caught my attention was the addition of rice to the soup.  I knew it was a blended soup and I was curious how the texture would turn out with the rice blended in.

I took some liberties with the recipe, adding more garlic and more spices than the recipe called for, and the soup turned out great!  A light, slow burn on the back of the tongue but not so spicy that you’re scrabbling for milk afterwards! I also neglected to take as many pictures as I should have so this entry will require some imagination on your part.

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

So the typical beginning to most soups, at least in my experience, is the tenderizing of the onions. This is something that I constantly have trouble with, because I always burn them.

Yes, you’d think that would be an easy fix, wouldn’t you?  “Just, um, start it all off a little cooler? Maybe? Just a thought.” And I do!  At least I think I do every time…and every time it’s still too high.

Caramelizing onions, sort of, with olive oil

While the onions were doing their thing, I diced up a number of zucchini.  (Zucchinis? Zucchin-eye? Whatever.) I’m really liking the chopping and dicing part of cooking, especially when there’s a lot to do. One  you get your rhythm down, your hands start moving of their own accord and I felt myself relaxing…almost as though I were meditating.  I suppose it is a sort of meditation, a repetitive motion that allows your mind and body to relax and focus on one simple thing.

In this case it worked, and I think I diced up about 3 cups or more before I realized I had gone beyond the recipe requirements! 🙂  For the record, I used them all anyway.

Once my onions were…ahem…a lovely burnish caramel colour…I added the garlic and zucchini with a little bit of salt. The recipe calls for 3 cloves of garlic but I’m pretty sure I went over that. I cheated and used pre-minced garlic in a jar, 2-3 tsp worth.  Yeah yeah, I like my garlic!

Stirred everything together, letting it sizzle for a bit….Sizzle, such a good cooking word! I think this word should be used as a verb more often.  But I digress.

A few sizzle minutes later, the recipe prompts you to add the stock, the curry powder and the rice. I started with the curry and stirred it in first, followed by the additional ingredients.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let it simmer for half an hour.  It should end up like this:

Simmered soup!

Now comes the fun part!  Blending!

This part was so fun that I wasn’t able to get pictures of it without getting soup all over the camera so you’ll have to use your imagination 😉  This is also the point where you taste and spice.

I added more salt, a lot of pepper and a good pinch of cayenne during the blending process, tasting it often until it suited.

Blended, yummy curry zucchini soup!

I wish I’d gotten a nice shot of this soup in a bowl, with a piece of bread…you know the “Food Shot” that makes your mouth water! Instead, the above shot is what you get. 😉 Just take me word for it, this soup was delicious! I froze a number of servings and it reheats well too!  Just be sure to spice it and keep tasting as you go.  I don’t think any of my seasoning amounts matched the recipe! lol

Curried Zucchini Soup

  • i tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds zucchini, diced (about 7 cups diced)
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (more to taste)
  • 6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 1/4 cup basmati rice
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper (I like a lot of it in this soup)
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until it is tender, about 5 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt, the garlic and the zucchini and stir for about a minute, until the garlic smells fragrant. Add the curry powder, stir together, and add the stock or water, the rice and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.

2. Purée the soup with an immersion blender or a food mill or in batches in a blender, taking care to remove the lid or take out the center insert and to cover with a towel to avoid hot splashes. Return to the pot, heat through, add pepper and cayenne to taste and stir in the lemon juice. Serve, garnishing each bowl with paper-thin slices of zucchini, chopped chives and croutons if desired.

Recipe taken from http://www.cookinghealthyfoods.com/pureed-zucchini-soup-with-curry-recipes-for-health/#.T-SmOGBWbrE.email


Curried Lentil Stew w/Stinkbug Garnish!


A few weeks back, I discovered a cookbook at Value Village in Waterdown, Ontario…Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons.

 It has dozens upon dozens of recipes, the majority of which call for ingredients that I recognize, which is important to me.  I don’t mind having to do research and find ingredients that originate from a different culture if I’m attempting a specific dish, but I like having recipes on hand that are simple ingredients…stuff I have in my cupboard or that I can easily buy at a nearby grocery store.  The more pretentious the cookbook, the less likely I am to buy it.

This book is quite accessible and I’ve been having fun while trying out some of the recipes!

“But … a stinkbug???” you’re probably asking. “What’s THAT all about??”

Keep reading…I’ll get there *wink*

 Or if you want to see the recipe, you’ll find it at the bottom of this post.

The first recipe I decided to try was the Curried Lentil Stew.  That morning, I headed to the Hamilton Farmer’s Market and bought the vegetables I would need.  I decided to get all the prep out of the way so I began by cutting up my onions, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and garlic.

It was as I began to saute my onions in melted butter that things became interesting….

I looked over to my right and on my cupboard, I saw this trundling along my cutting board:

Stinkbug!!

 He seemed kind of dopey…slow moving…

Usually I’m pretty good with finding insects in my apartment. 
I’m not one for killing them…I usually capture flying ones in a glass, crawly ones on a piece of paper and release them outside.

But in this case, my food was all over the counter and I was in the midst of cooking my onions which required my attention, so this little visitor wasn’t welcome.  He was near my food!  And that creeped me out!!  Not to mention…at the time, I didn’t actually know what kind of bug he was and hey, the unknown is a little scary!

What the heck is THAT?
 

A little grossed out.

 

*Really* grossed out! I mean, com'on...he was near my food!!!

 

Trying to keep my wits about me....to call my bf for help 😉

 

Have regained my courage..."There's the door! Don't let it hit your pointy lil abdomen on the way out!"

 
 Luckily, my boyfriend was just down the hall and he saved the day by ushering our visitor onto a little piece of paper and finding him a seat outside on my balcony instead of in my kitchen! 
 
Initially, he had offered to smush the lil guy and I immediately said “No, just put him outside!”  I’m very glad we did because upon a little bit of research…I found this quote on Wikipedia:
 
 
Bleh!
 
So, our six-legged friend dealt with…I took a deep breath, scanned my kitchen for other creepy visitors and, seeing none, continued with my stew!
 

 Actually, I have to admit that the creeped out feeling sort of remained for a bit…so, to distract myself, I made shadow puppets in my onions!

See the bunny?

*blink blink* Yeah, I’m that kind of geek. 

 
 
So…..moving on….onions completed, I added the various spices to the mix. After another quick saute, I filled the pot with my chopped carrots and potatoes, the required amount of water and….the wrong lentils!
Ooops…those lentils were supposed to be brown.  Somehow the stinkbug is to blame for this! 

Yep, I grabbed the wrong bag and began adding the red lentils before I clued it that I had meant to use brown.  Ah well, I hadn’t added the full amount at that point so I switched and ended up having a bit of both. 

 
Beyond that, the rest of the recipe was easy-peasy.  Let it simmer…add the tomatoes, sherry, salt and pepper….simmer some more until all is as tender as you would like it to be.Regarding the sherry, I added the amount called for in the recipe but in hindsight, I would probably start with half of that next time and add the rest depending on taste.  I found the sherry flattened the flavour somewhat and I had to go about adding some more spices as well as a vegetable bouillon cube to liven it up again.  The cube actually did wonders and I would consider adding that to the list of ingredients.
 
Overall, bug crisis averted and lentil mistake corrected, the stew was great!
It was quite yummy…good flavour…a nice warm, hearty dish to eat on a cold day.
 


CURRIED LENTIL STEW

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 med potatoes, peeled, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 dried thyme
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/2 tsp salt…to taste
  • black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Saute onion until it begins to brown, about 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, curry, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and thyme.  Continue to saute for another 2-3 mins while stirring.
  3. Add the carrot and potato, water and lentils.  Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, sherry, salt and pepper.  Continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes and lentils are tender.

Source: Vegetarian Plant by Didi Emmons, Harvard Common Press, 1997


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