Curries (or curry-like concoctions) are a great winter food. They are delicious, can be done in one pot, can be cooked in large batches and they are a fantastic way to use up all the loose ends that are going around in your fridge. And because they are usually paired with a grain, they are filling and an easy easy way to get a well-rounded balanced meal.
The trick to keep it easy and avoid boredom at the same time is to have a trusty base made of pantry staples that can be used over and over while changing the perishable vegetables and proteins. In this coconut-based curry the base are the coconut milk, the spice combination, the garlic and the onion (that could easily be replaced with shallots, or spring onions or even leeks); while the mushrooms, the kale and the squash are the wild cards that could be replaced for pretty much any vegetables. For the protein, I like using a lot of beans and lentils, but the chickpeas I used here could always be replaced for any meats or meat alternatives.
This kind of curry can be made in a large batch and frozen, rice included. I like packing them in takeaway-style containers and keeping them in the freezer as a ready-meal for those days when I don’t have time to cook, or don’t feel like it. Just remember to get it pipping hot when reheating. The recipe as is serves 4 as a main meal, but can easily be doubled or tripled.
If you want to replace the chickpeas for meat, fish or tofu brown them first, then add the vegetables and when the coconut milk goes in add an extra 1/2 cup of liquid (or stock for extra flavour).
Customisable coconut curry
- 1/2 onion
- 3 handfuls mushrooms
- 2 handfuls kale
- 1/2 butternut squash
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- salt to taste
- oil/stock/water to sauté
- brown or white rice (to serve)
- if serving with brown rice, prepare first. Boil 1 cup of rice with 2.5 to 3 cups of water or stock (depends on kind) for about 25 minutes. If cooking white rice, wait till step 4
- chop the onions (as roughly or finely as you prefer), slice the mushrooms, destem and chop the kale, cube the butternut squash, and chop (or slice if you prefer) the garlic
- saute with a little oil (or water or stock if you what to keep the recipe oil-free) until the onions are translucent and the mushroom starts to get some colour
- add the cans of coconut milk and chickpeas, liquid included, and all the spices except for the salt. If serving with white rice, boil it with 1.5 to 2 cups of liquid for about 12 minutes
- allow to simmer and reduce for about 15 minutes until the butternut squash and kale are soft
- taste and add salt as needed, and serve on hot rice
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