Why not create a Christmas curry ? The other day I found myself concocting spices and ingredients that would make for a wonderful festive curry. This is what I came up with – a huge success, as well as a finger-licking finish ! Grapes, jumbo raisins, ‘chicken’ and lentils, combined with cinnamon, star anise, curry, chilli, and all things nice. And then, to really make a sublime success of it, a creamy (nut) finish, that consolidates the flavours, and the sauce itself substitutes perfectly for the gravy in a traditional Christmas dish. All these qualities bring festive richness to this wondrous dish, filling you with warmth, and a whole load of Christmas cheer.
Serve with basmati rice, and crushed cardamom for garnishing, with some moist medool dates for the surround of the rice. Also popadoms, and some ready made chapatis are a great accompaniment, as is some plain vegan yogurt with dried mint, mixed together, as a nice relish to contrast the main dish. And feel free to use tofu instead of faux chicken, or chickpeas and spinach if you prefer no soya.
Happy Holidays to You All, and don’t forget to let me know how it went !
NOTE : This can be prepared a day ahead.
1 x 2 inch cinnamon stick, or a pinch of ground cinnamon
3 whole star anise
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup (125 mL) water
2 Tbsp jumbo black raisins
1 tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cardamom granules or powder
1 tsp hot curry
½ tsp chilli powder
2 small chillies (not chopped)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
3 Tbsp tomato pate
3 cups of faux ‘chicken’ pieces, or pre-fried tofu squares
the juice of an orange
1½ cups seedless sweet grapes (red are better)
1 clementine, sliced for decoration
a dash of maple syrup, or agave syrup
½ cup cashew nuts, liquidized in 1½ cups water into a rich, milky consistency
¾ cups precooked puy lentils
chopped coriander/cilantro, for garnishing with the clementine slices
- Fry your onions and garlic together in an ovenproof casserole dish (I use a Le Cresuet saucepan) on a low heat, making sure you don’t burn them.
- Place your spices in a bowl or mug, add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil, and mix thoroughly. Now pour this mixture over your onion mix, and continue to stir.
- Next, stir in your faux chicken pieces (I used mine from frozen), and let them get well coated with the spice mix. After a couple of minutes, stir in the tomato puree, and leave it on a low heat for 10 minutes (careful that it doesn’t stick).
- Make your cashew milk at this point.
- Now add your water, stir again, and add the remaining ingredients, except for the cashew milk. Always be sure to check for the salt and sweetness, it is designed to be a little sweet, and yet to have just enough savoury flavour from the salt, so go ahead and check that out.
- Now stir in your cashew milk in two stages, allowing it to thicken a little in between.
- Finish this off in a preheated medium hot (350ºF /175ºC) oven for half an hour or so, until rich, thick and creamy. Your sauce should have a nice thick gravy consistency (and there should be lots of it), and a lovely aroma. Bon Appetit !
NOTE : Keep a watch out for the cashew milk in the dish, as it has thickening qualities. The trick to this dish is the low heat and the stirring, so as not to allow it to stick or burn. Otherwise you will be happy with the results, if you ‘stay with it’, as it were.
All recipes and content © Miriam Sorrell www.mouthwateringvegan.com 2010