Mixed Vegetable Curry… Or What To Do With Lonely Vegetables

Ever look in your pantry or refrigerator and see those random vegetables?  You know, the extra ones you bought just in case your recipe didn’t work out, or the ones you bought for the recipe you never tried but you used the other necessary ingredients so you can’t make it anyway?  Well, here’s a simple recipe to use up those lonely veggies.  You can use pretty much any vegetables for this.  Just be sure to pay attention to cook times so that some veggies don’t end up uncooked while others turn to mush.  Oh, and serve this with rice or any Indian bread.  Heck, have it with toast.  Still tastes good.


1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 to 3 tsp red chilli powder, depending on how spicy you like it

2 to 4 green chillies, chopped, depending on how spicy you like it

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated

1 medium onion, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 tsp salt

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


1.  Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the cumin seeds and saute until just starting to brown.  Add the red chilli powder, saute for a few seconds, and then add the green chillies, garlic and ginger.  Try not to breathe the cooking fumes as the spice level will irritate your respiratory system.  Saute for a few more seconds and add the onions.  Saute until onions turn translucent.

2.  Add the carrots and potatoes and mix well.  Saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the bell peppers and saute a few more minutes.

3.  Add water to the pan, until the vegetables are just covered.  Add the salt and mix well.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are just tender.  Add water if needed.  By the time the vegetables are cooked, the liquid will reduce to nice gravy thickened by the starch from the potatoes.  (If your gravy is too watery, you can mix in a thin paste made of 1 tbsp rice flour and a 1/4 cup of water and cook for a few extra minutes.)

4.  Mix in the peas and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rice or bread.


Curried Coconut Lentil Stew With Easy Rice Pilaf


Sorry for the break between posts.  We spent a long weekend at home with my parents and I hardly did anything in the kitchen but help my mom a bit.  I did make a big vat of Italian vegetable soup so that my parents would have some home-cooked soup for lunch for a few days.  The original recipe is from Canyon Ranch, if you’re interested.  It’s a very adaptable recipe and I frequently change out ingredients depending on my mood.  My only changes this week were substituting chick peas for cannelini beans, omitting the fennel and cheese, and adding a little ditalini to bulk up the soup into a one-pot meal.

Anyway, it was a long drive, we returned very late and I didn’t much feel like doing the grocery shopping or cooking the next day.  So, we ended up with a pot full of whatever I had in the pantry… which turned out to be some spicy curried coconut lentil stew and a simple basmati rice pilaf.


1 tbsp olive or canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

2 or 3 serrano chillies

3 stalks celery, diced

3 medium carrots, sliced into rounds

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp curry powder

1 1/4 cups brown lentils, washed

6 cups water or vegetable broth

1/2 cup frozen corn (or fresh)

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 15-oz can coconut milk

3 cups kale, chopped into thin strips (including stalks)

1/4 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped

Salt to taste


1.  Heat the oil in a 5-qt pot.  Add the onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies, celery and carrots.  Saute for a few minutes.  Add the cumin powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and curry powder.  Saute for a few minutes, until the spices become fragrant.

2.  Add the lentils, water or broth, and one tsp salt, and mix well.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the corn and continue to simmer until both the corn and lentils are cooked.  Add water or broth if the stew is getting too dry.

3.  Add the frozen peas, kale and coconut milk.  Still on low heat, allow the stew to reach a simmer, and continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add salt to taste and stir well.

4.  Remove from heat, garnish with parsley or cilantro, and serve over rice or as is.  Can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.

For the rice

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp cumin seeds

8 peppercorns

4 whole cloves

1 stick cinnamon

2 bay leaves

3 or 4 cardamom pods

1 1/2 cups basmati rice, uncooked

Salt to taste

3 1/4 cups water or vegetable broth

1.  Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and cardamom pods.  Saute until fragrant and cumin seeds just begin to darken.

2.  Add the rice and saute, stirring continuously, until much of the rice has turned opaque white (instead of translucent).  Do not allow any of the rice to brown.

3.  Remove from heat and pour into an electric rice cooker.  Add one tsp salt and 3 1/4 cups water or vegetable broth.  Turn on the cooker.

4.  When the rice is cooked, fluff and serve immediately.  Can be stored in the fridge for a day or two.

6 New Recipes! – Follow Up

Here’s the follow up to the 1/29/2012 post on the Asian smorgasbord/cooking orgy from last weekend.  I’m giving you links to the original recipes along with alterations that I made.  Sorry, no pictures this time.  I’ll load pics when/if I repeat these recipes.

1.  Vegetable miso soup

My changes

I used vegetable stock and white button mushrooms, omitted the udon noodles, doubled up on all the veggies except the scallions, and used red instead of white miso paste.

2.  Malaysian potato and green bean curry

My changes

I used a small onion instead of shallots since I just hate peeling shallots, and new potatoes instead of fingerling potatoes.  Otherwise, no changes.  Oh, I did add a little extra water while the potatoes were cooking in order to have more sauce.

3.  Thai-style (-ish) veggie fried rice

My changes

I omitted the pork and fish sauce, doubled up on the bok choy and tripled the green chillies (we were itching for some really spicy food this week).  I also added a little bit of soy sauce for salt.

4.  Vegetarian ma-po tofu

My changes

I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and omitted the pork to make this vegetarian.  I wanted to use Sichuan peppercorns but, for some reason, my excellently stocked Chinese/Korean/Japanese/Indian/Mexican… heck, it’s a world super market… did not have any in stock.  I added a little extra red chilli paste to make up for the lack of peppercorns as I wanted to keep the spice level high.

5.  Vegetable pot stickers with spicy dipping sauce

My changes

I used plain old white button mushrooms and Savoy cabbage.  Otherwise, I made no other changes to the original recipe.  Next time, I will probably reduce the amount of Chinese five spice powder to about half the suggested amount.  The pot stickers were really good, but it was just a touch too much anise for me.

Update:  I used some leftover stuffing in grilled sandwiches today.  Gotta love an electric sandwich grill/press.  I just spread a teensy bit of margarine on the outsides of the whole wheat bread slices, smeared a little green chilli chutney on the insides, generously filled the bread, and put the lid down.  Yum!