Tonight, I am more than excited to spend a proper amount of time cooking a curry from scratch. I cook some variation of this dish most weeks: sometimes, with pulses, always featuring a combination of whatever veg is in the fridge.
But this meal is different – I have a ‘eureka’ moment – not to do with the actual curry, but the rice. Usually it’s something I overlook (and forget to start cooking until the curry is almost done; whoops). However, I discover a little butter and a bay leaf goes a long way to imparting a generous and delicious flavour that goes incredibly well with this dish.
If I’m being honest, cauliflower isn’t my go-to vegetable (cauliflower cheese excepted), but the combination of texture and flavour goes really well with the spices in this recipe. Feel free to swap the vegetables for your favourites; and swap the chickpeas for lentils if you prefer. You could even leave the pulses out altogether; in which case, you might want to reduce or omit the vegetable stock.
Ingredients ( 2 generous portions )
For the Curry
- Half a small head of cauliflower, separated into small florets
- A generous handful of spinach, washed (leaves only)
- Half a can of chickpeas (optional)
- A can of plum tomatoes
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1-2cm of ginger, grated
- The juice of half a lemon
- 150ml vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder
For the Rice
- 25 grams butter
- 1 bay leaf
- Half a mug of brown rice *see note at the bottom
Chopped coriander and natural yoghurt, to serve
Start with the rice: melt the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat before adding the bay leaf, letting it become fragrant for a minute or so. Then, add the rice and double the amount of cold water, and bring to the boil. Keep an eye on it as it cooks, and when it’s absorbed all the water, turn off the heat but leave the lid on so that it continues to cook in its steam.
Heat oil in a pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook on a low heat for 10 – 15 minutes, until the mixture is soft and lightly browned. Then, add the spices and cook for a minute more, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, crushing them as you go, and turn up the heat, cooking for 10 minutes more, uncovered.
By this point, the tomato mixture should be reduced. Add the cauliflower and chickpeas, if using, and the vegetable stock. Cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes with the lid on or until the cauliflower is cooked but not completely soft. Add the spinach at the end and the lemon juice, and season to taste.
Serve the curry over the bay rice (remember to remove the bay leaf!), and add chopped tomato and natural yogurt to taste.
* if using white rice, start the rice later, probably when the tomatoes are reducing, and use slightly less water.