Take a Walk on the Mild Side, or Not

Curry-scented coconut milk simmers down to a thick and flavorful sauce for carrots, cauliflower, spinach, and chickpeas in this fragrant Indian Vegetable Curry one-pan dish. Eat hot, or not? That is the question.

With no hot curry powder on hand, we used regular Thai Red Curry paste with a touch of cayenne powder. In the end, it was a bit too much on the mild side for our tastes. Maybe actually using hot curry powder would be enough to take it up a notch or two. Point being, if you prefer bold and spicy, try to find hot curry powder, otherwise stick to the Thai red curry paste without any cayenne added.

Like a dingbat, I went and tossed in the entire can of coconut milk instead of just one cup, and wondered why Step 2 mentions adding water if the pan looks too dry. Mine wasn’t even close to dry! However, turns out is was a fortuitous mistake, we like our dishes saucy.

Definitely want to serve over long-grain or Basmati rice.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, stirred (not lite)
  • 12 oz. cauliflower florets, cut into bite-size pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, sliced . inch thick on the diagonal
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced engthwise
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. hot curry powder, such as Madras
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 oz. baby spinach (about 3 lightly packed cups)
  • One 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice*
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. In a 12-inch skillet set over medium-low heat, stir together the coconut milk, cauliflower, carrot, onion, ginger, garlic, curry powder, and 1 tsp. salt.
  2. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring often, until the cauliflower is tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. (If the pan looks dry, stir in water. cup at a time.)
  3. Stir in the spinach, chickpeas, and tomatoes and continue to cook until the chickpeas are heated through and the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cilantro, season to taste with salt, and serve.

On the side: Cook long-grain or basmati rice according to package directions, crushing some saffron threads and adding to the cooking water. Toss chopped fresh cilantro with the cooked rice.

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—Robin Asbell, Fine Cooking

How to dice plum tomatoes

Plum tomatoes tend to have big seed chambers and less inner flesh than round tomatoes, so the most efficient technique for dicing them is a bit different: First, cut a thin slice from the bottom to create a flat surface on which to stand the tomato. Cut wide strips from the top, curving down to the bottom, to separate the flesh from the inner seed core. Cut all the flesh away in this manner, leaving the seedy core of the tomato; discard the core. Cut each strip of flesh lengthwise as wide as you want your dice to be, and then cut these strips crosswise into dice.

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