Since the very first time my step-father took me to an Indian restaurant and I dipped a piece of hot, crispy, fresh naan bread into a bowl of creamy, aromatic curry…Indian food has forever been my favorite cuisine. I adore it for the same reason I love art– when I’m standing in an art museum, the pieces I am in awe of are the ones I could never recreate.
Sure, you could shove a white wall stapled with red strings in front of my face and try to sell me on it as “art” but I’m much more interested in drooling over flowers in Monet’s garden or fixating on the way Van Gogh painted the stars in Café Terrace at Night simply for the fact that I could never make them myself.
Same goes for food; if I’m certain I could never recreate it in my own kitchen, you have all of my wonder, reverence, and devotion. For real– take my money.
Indian cooking has long held my attention for this very reason; it combines so many complex but subtle flavors, herbs that are foreign to my palate, and spices that I’ve yet to stick my nose into. I appreciate and truly savor each dish when I go out to
inhale every crumb eat at an Indian restaurant.
I’ve made this pot of curry before, but it left me less than dazzled. So I tweaked a thing or two, added a little a’ this, took out a little a’ that, and badda bing, badda boom.
This completely plant-based curry maintains the intricacy of a meat dish, and can stand up to any such fare. It’s packed with fiber-rich veggies, protein-packed split peas and green peas, and enough spice to give your sinuses a serious chimney sweep. Best of all? It takes about 15 minutes of prep time, and then you simply just let it simmmmmma’ so all the flavors meld together to create a symphony of the richest, most zesty, and hearty bowl of curry you ever imagined making with your own two hands.
Southern Indian Yellow Curry
Makes 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1 small serrano or thai chili, minced (or use half for less heat)
- 3-4 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into equal sized pieces
- 2 medium carrots, sliced into thin rounds
- 6 cups veggie broth
- 1 cup dried yellow split peas
- juice from 1 lime (~2 tablespoons)
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
- 4 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 cup coconut milk (full fat!)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Pistachios or sesame seeds, for garnish
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, sauté onions for 3 minutes then add garlic and sauté another minute. Toss in ginger and chili and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add in potatoes, carrots, broth, and split peas and bring pot to a boil. Simmmmmma on low for an hour and a half to 2 hours, making sure it’s bubbling slightly the whole time. It’s done when the split peas are cooked, the potatoes are softer than a baby’s bottom, and the whole ‘thang is thickened. Turn off heat when it’s done. While the pot is still on the stove, stir in the lime juice, green peas, and all the spices (Garam Masala, curry powder, paprika, mustard powder, and turmeric). It’s going to need some salt and pepper, so sprinkle some in and taste it. Add more of any of the spices (don’t be bashful with that curry powder, baby) if it needs more flavor.
- Remove the pot from the stove and pour in the coconut milk and give it a few final stirs. Enjoy a bowl with fresh cilantro on top and throw some pistachios or sesame seeds on there for a little bit o’ crunch. I also love this curry chilled over some rice. 🙂