Panch Puren & Caramel Vegetable Curry

In part this curry is influenced by a secret technique my mother used to implement, I am so grateful to be making use of it, and to now be sharing it with you all. Cumin, Fenugreek, Mustard, Fennel and Kalonji come together to yield the most amazing and ‘easy to make of’ curries that I’ve created as a treat for tonight’s dinner for my little girl and for my partner. I have also created this as a gift to all of my blog and book supporters, celebrating hitting 100,000 followers on my MWV Facebook page. I suggest eating this with naan, or any other flat bread of your choice. It should have a warning tag on it saying MORE-ISH, pace your eating.

3-4 Tbsp (45-60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1 large & 1 medium white onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
2 tsp panch puren (often sold at Asian stores)
½ tsp crushed cardamom
salt to taste
1 tsp hot curry powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp tomato paste/puree
1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
1 cup petit pois (baby peas) frozen
1 cup frozen spinach (thawed)
2 cups (480 ml) water



  1. Fry the onion and garlic until transparent, then add all the spices and stir for a couple of minutes until their aroma is released. Now add the tomato paste/puree.
  2. Throw in your potato wedges, and mix them round and round until they pick up the red colour from the pan. Start adding your water a little at a time, then cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. At this point add your peas, then uncover, and allow to cook for a further 20 minutes.
  3. Whilst your veggies are cooking away, don’t worry if they stick a little in the pan, so long as they don’t burn the bottom – but they can reach the stage before that. You can feel this with your metal spoon in the center and sides of the pan, just mix it off the bottom, and allow this to happen a couple of times, always keeping your eyes peeled so that it won’t burn – 5 minutes or less at a time should do the job. This will help bring out the carmalized flavours from the onion, oil and spices.
  4. As soon as your potatoes have softened, stir in your spinach, and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Adjust the consistency and salt to your liking – and enjoy this hearty, warming curry.



All recipes and content © Miriam Sorrell 2010




  1. What a beautiful treat for your family. I recently purchased your book because of your rice recipe on your blog. You are truly an exceptional cook. I love how you focus more on savory recipes.You deserve 100,000 more fans.

    Warmly, Shernell

  2. This sounded so good I decided we could do with a bit of comfort curry! Have just made a slightly improvised version for supper. Added some baby corn that needed using (who can resist baby corn?!) and I’m afraid my Panch Puren was Indian 3 spice rather than Indian 5 spice (I was short of fenugreek and nigella seeds) but it still tastes gorgeous! Actually really enjoyed learning about Panch Puren – I’d never heard of it before so I googled it – now duly educated, I shall definitely use it in future curries. I learn so many great things from you Miriam, thank you, can’t wait for the new book!

  3. That’s awesome news Fern and am so happy you tried it with a few minor additions. Get hold of some panch puren, and at some point give it another shot. You sound like you’re having fun in your vegan kitchen. 🙂 Will notify you about my upcoming book on my FB page soon.

  4. Thanks Shernell and welcome here. Thanks for your kind words (funnily enough I am supposed to have 100,000 more FB ‘likes’ but the algorithms on FB have prevented this). My second and upcoming book entitled ‘Yasou’ will be out for pre-ordering a few weeks from now (A Greek & Middle Eastern Cookbook). Cheers ! 🙂

  5. Quick question, at what point do you add the diced tomato? I’m going to add it with the peas so it will have time to cook down, but just wondered. Thanks. It smells wonderful!

  6. Hi Mary, sorry seeing this a little later, but as it happens you have done the right thing – let me know how it all went for you. Cheers ! 🙂

  7. Nice texture and good smell. Moistness was just right but mine tasted a tad watery. I had to use red onion instead of yellow – could this be why? Ir maybe I need more Tom purée? I mixed my own panch puren using 1/2 tsp of each of the 5 spices. Maybe I need more next time? I didn’t add spinach because I don’t like it…….can you suggest an alternative? I will make this again because the taste was good.

  8. Hi there Fran and thanks for your positive feedback. Next time a little less water, an extra teaspoon of tomato paste/puree. Buy some frozen asparagus and chop some up in it instead of the spinach. Hope you enjoy many more recipes from my blog. 🙂

  9. What is panch puren and where can I find it?

  10. Hi Lesley, panch puren info is here for you and you can usually purchase it from Asian food stores or even online. Cheers !

  11. I made this for dinner tonight and my husband told me it is the best curry he has had since he left England around 45 years ago. In fact, despite him being a diabetic who is seriously addicted to sugar, he told me he did not want dessert, as he did not want to lose the taste in his mouth.Thank you!!!

  12. Betty Hi – that is a grand compliment and thanks for dropping by here to say as much ! Hope he and yourself enjoy my other curries too ! 🙂


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