Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Vegetarian Vindaloo Curry With Chana Dal

Vegetarian Vindaloo + Chana Dal + Jamie Oliver curry

Vindaloo {translation vinegar and garlic} is the first Indian curry I ever tasted - selected because it was the spiciest item on the menu. The fact of the matter is that Vindaloo, like any other curry, is only as spicy as the kind {and quantity} of chilies with which it is made. What is most magical about vindaloo is the deep, rich flavor you experience - coming courtesy of a blend of tomatoes, ginger, spices and of course vinegar and garlic. What's not so magical {at least for me} is that vindaloo traditionally comes in pork, chicken and lamb varieties.   

So when I gave up meat and poultry years ago, my days of eating vindaloo went out the window. I was relegated to watching my husband order it every.single.time we went out for Indian food - green with envy. Then I discovered a phenomenal recipe for vindaloo {courtesy of Jamie Oliver, who has developed the best curry recipes}. His is the pork variety but I have switched it up to create a vegetarian version with lots of vegetables and chana dal. Are you familiar with chana dal? I have talked about it before - it is a filling,  healthy legume from India. Chana dal is basically hulled chickpeas and one of the best sources of plant-based protein. 

Two notes...This recipe has a little kick to it, but this is coming from a person who has a high tolerance for heat. If you are more sensitive, you can cut back on the chilies. And resist the urge to buy vindaloo sauce in a jar - making it at home is the difference between night and day. The effort is well worth the extra 5-10 minutes.

Vegetarian Vindaloo Curry With Chana Dal

2 medium onions, halved and finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 fresh red chilies, chopped {don't discard the seeds}
a thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and diced
a small bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves divided, stems chopped
4 vine- ripened tomatoes, quartered and then each quarter cut in half
26 oz of your favorite vegetables, chopped {I used a small head of cauliflower, a large red bell pepper, 8 oz of baby potatoes and 10 baby carrots}
a pat of butter
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1 T honey
1 c low fat Greek yogurt
1 lemon
1 c uncooked chanal dal
- and for the vindaloo paste
1 t black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
2 t coriander
2 t fennel seeds
1 t fenugreek seeds {I used ground fenugreek, found at Whole Foods}
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
a thumb size piece of ginger, peeled
4 dried whole chilies {I used chipotle}
1 T turmeric
1/2 t sea salt
3 T peanut oil
2 T tomato paste
2 fresh red chilies
a small bunch of cilantro

To make the vindaloo paste, toast the first five ingredients in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until seeds are golden and spices are fragrant.  Remove from heat and transfer to a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and process until you have a uniform paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

To make the curry, add a couple of lugs of peanut oil and the pat of butter to a large saute pan and heat to somewhere between medium and medium-high. Add the onions, garlic, chili, ginger and cilantro stalks and cook for 10 minutes. Add the vegetables and curry paste. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, honey and enough water to cover everything {up to 1 c+2/3 c}. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

While the curry is simmering, prepare the chana dal per the packaging instructions.

To serve, divide chana dal among 4 plates.  Repeat with the vindaloo. Add a dollop of yogurt on top of the vindaloo. Top with reserved cilantro leaves and a wedge of lemon on the side.
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Source:  Adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver

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