This week I had the urge for a good, homemade Vegetable Korma. It must have been brought on by seeing the previews of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The hearty curry dish was just right for a cold evening, when the news coverage was all about the blizzard on the East Coast.
Luckily, I had the ingredients . . . well, most of them. I’ve not seen any two Korma recipes that look alike, so I think this is one of those dishes that allows creative license. I searched the cabinets. I had garbanzo beans, check; vegetable broth, check; canned coconut milk, check. (You can tell I’ve made this dish before.)
With several fresh vegetables to choose from, I assembled the ingredients: a potato, a half onion, a few garlic cloves, a couple of carrots, and an assortment of peppers—yellow, red and jalapeno. (Note my wonderful yellow knife below, which I will tell you more about on a later post.)
Cauliflower would have been a welcomed addition, but there was none left in my vegetable bin. I sautéed the onions and garlic in olive oil and added the chopped veggies to the skillet. Besides salt and fresh ground pepper, I sprinkled in some turmeric and garam masala, that I’d brought back from my recent trip to Istanbul. Sautéing the spices at this point helps release the flavor.
BTW, did you know that turmeric has a number of health benefits? Besides its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidants qualities, turmeric is thought to ward off arthritis, depression, memory loss, heart disease and cancer. Wow! What pill offers all that? But I digress.
Just as the skillet began to dry out, I gave it a splash of broth and let the bright mixture simmer, adding more broth until everything was cooked through. If you don’t chop the veggies too thick, it takes less time.
Meanwhile, I drained and rinsed a can of Eden Organic Garbanzo Beans (or chickpeas as we used to call them) and added half the can. Normally I add canned coconut milk to the sauce, but this time, I had some leftover Thai peanut sauce, I’d made for noodles earlier in the week. I stirred a spoonful into the milk and it creamed up nicely into a sauce.
By now the mixture was looking pretty good—and smelled divine—but needed something green for more color. I had used the last of my frozen peas as an ice pack for my twisted ankle, so I tore up a handful of fresh spinach and threw that in. I added a few dried cranberries, too, (though I prefer using yellow raisins) and finished the dish with a sprinkle of slivered almonds. Chopped cashews work especially well, but I didn’t have those either.
The dish would have benefited from Basmati rice, but I felt it could stand on its own without the extra starch. I plated the Korma and started to dig in. Oops! What kind of food blogger enjoys an exotic creation without taking pictures? By the time I had arranged several photo set ups and taken the shots at various angles, my Korma was cold and needed a quick return to the skillet. No matter; it was still divine. And the leftovers, even better the next day.
Cooking from scratch and on impulse makes for some terrific flavor discoveries, as well as some fun food photos.