26 November 2012

Eats: butternut and vegetable curry

Hello hello! How is everyone recovering from Eat Week? Many thanks were given during ours! However, after four big family meals – two of them official Thanksgiving meals, two without the turkey but nonetheless belly-stuffing – I am basically craving a juice diet. Well, needing a juice diet. I am wanting, however, to eat those leftover cupcakes.

And perhaps you, like us, are still contending with Thanksgiving leftovers! Because we traveled, our leftovers are not of the vegetable variety. But if you cooked the meal or found yourself leaving with a doggy bag, you might have a few veggies that need finishing off. And even if you don’t have leftover veggies, you might be craving something chock full of veggies to make up for the ridiculous amount of pie that I’m sure everyone faced this weekend.

Today’s recipe was inspired by this one (scroll down a bit) for butternut squash curry. I figured it would help me use up the remaining roasted butternut squash, along with some other leftover vegetables, while also giving me another opportunity to try making an Indian dish.

Although this curry didn’t need it, I started by dicing and sautéing a chicken breast. You can leave this out, but I wanted some meat in the curry.

I only cooked the chicken chunks partway through before adding in a 15-oz can of coconut milk and a 15-oz can of crushed tomatoes. Letting the chicken cook in liquid makes it super tender! But even if you skip the chicken, plan to let the tomatoes and coconut milk simmer and reduce for a while, until it is less creepy looking.

Before setting it to simmer and walking away, though, be sure to add in the spices first! From left to right, I added black pepper, curry powder, and red pepper, plus some salt that you can’t see.

The original recipe called for garam masala, but I haven’t managed to find that yet. I ended up using several tablespoons of curry powder and adding in even more red pepper and a bit of cumin to the final dish, because it seemed a bit bland. Don’t be shy about tasting along the way and adding in more spice – the vegetables will need it!

Speaking of vegetables...

I had leftover roasted butternut squash and roasted broccoli from previous nights’ dinners, so I threw them in. But I wanted a few more veggies, so I turned to my old standby:

Frozen veggies, here to save the day! Steam-in-a-bag veggies are often too soft to be palatable on their own as a side dish, but they’re perfect in some pastas, stews, and curries. I chose one with cauliflower and carrots because those seemed suited to the dish.

Finally, I added in about half a can of rinsed chickpeas:

Clearly, this dish is suited for whatever leftover veggies you’ve got, and it’s a little more interesting than a plain vegetable soup!

Just stir it all together and wait until the liquid has reduced...

...and you’ve got a curry!

Admittedly, this didn’t turn out quite as flavorful as I’d hoped – at least, I got the flavors of vegetables, but not so much Indian spices. I think some garlic and onion would have punched it up (don’t they always), and real garam masala may have helped too. I also only had white rice, but if you have basmati, that would be fantastic with this!

And for the record, Mr. P didn’t care for this so much, but largely because he’s lukewarm on the butternut squash (tastes similar to sweet potatoes, which he dislikes) and the chickpeas (similar to beans, which he also dislikes). I liked it enough to finish off the leftovers myself by taking them for lunch, though, and I think it tasted even better on the next day!

So hopefully if you’ve got leftover veggies, you can grab a can of tomatoes, a can of coconut milk, and some spices to make yourself a quick curry! This would also be delicious with potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, squash... it may be inauthentic, but who cares? Just serve it over some rice and give thanks that Eat Week 2012 is behind us. Enjoy!


Rachel said...

Sarah, I gave up on finding garam masala and just made my own. Google it, and you will find several different recipes to try.