Once in a while I do hanker for a spicy belly-warming veggie stew. Of course nothing beats having a hot stew on a cold rainy day, but when the craving hits, you just gotta have it regardless of the weather. This afternoon was one of those blisteringly hot days, and I was actually sweating as I shoved spoonfuls of gravy down. The hot weather actually accentuated the enjoyment in a sadistic fashion actually. You’ve heard of people eating ice cream during winter, well why not curry during summer?
Using the slow cooker for curry is an extremely smart way to save time, and it still produces excellent results, if not better, than regular stove-top curry. Just throw in your favourite veggies, set the heat, and forget about it. After a long hard day’s work, dinner (or lunch) has already prepared itself.
While you could use any type of veggies, I stuck to cauliflower, eggplants and peas, as well as tempeh for some protein. I love these veggies as they turn oh-so-mushy as they soften. Black beans further help to thicken the stew, and also making it a complete meal.
There are thousands of variations of curries, from the mild coconutty Thai green curry to the fiery Indian style. I took on the middle lane, but omitted the coconut milk because I wanted to keep it light. The standard spice mix consists of curry powder, turmeric, cumin and chili/cayenne pepper, but feel free to zest things up with other herbs and spices such as lemongrass or fenugreek as you please.
Be prepared to sweat with this veggie curry!
- 2/3 small red onion, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2-inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more if you prefer a spicier kick)
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- 3/4-1 cup cooked black turtle beans (prepared from ~1/2 cup or 80 g dry beans)
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1/3 medium eggplant, diced into large chunks
- 1/3 cups sliced carrots
- 3 tablespoons frozen peas
- 2/3 package (60 g) tempeh (can substitute firm tofu if unavailable)
- 2/3 can (1 1/3 cup) whole peeled tomato
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened coconut milk (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Few leaves of Thai basil, torn
- In a medium bowl, toss tempeh in 1/4 teaspoon curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil.
- Heat pan over med-high heat and add tempeh. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally (about 3-4 minutes). Set aside.
- Heat remaining oil and saute onions, ginger, and garlic for 5 minutes until onion is softened. Stir in remaining curry powder and spices and saute another minute until fragrant.
- In a slow cooker, combine the tempeh and onion mixture with the remaining ingredients. Stir well to distribute the spices.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for to 5-6 hours. The beans should be soft. Stir once or twice if possible.
- Add salt and if using, coconut milk, cilantro and basil just before you’re ready to serve. It can be enjoyed alone or as a side dish with rice or naan.