There have been many distractions of late, both of the celebratory kind (parties!) and the frustrating.  Preparing family meals that we can share with our boy has been the principal culinary endeavour in the house of late, and our particular project has been trying to sneak in iron and protein-loaded meat wherever we can.  It seems that despite our attempts to introduce all kinds of tastes at this age, we nevertheless have what appears to be a vegetarian 1-year old!  Not that there’s this is necessarily bad for littlies, but when you don’t have many teeth yet, it is a bit hard to get in all your iron and protein without meat.  So despite our many interesting food adventures along these lines (eg beef and mushroom stroganoff, beef noodle stir fry, spaghetti and meatballs – you get the idea), there hasn’t been much to report by way of crunchy green things.

Seeing Johanna’s post the other day about home-made rogan josh sauce, however, made me want to go back to the veg.  And without the chilli powder, it makes a fantastic kid-friendly meal as well.  I’m happy to report that our guy tucked into a small mountain of sweet potato bits and peas (before deciding to put the curry sauce in his hair), and that the grown-ups enjoyed it immensely with some golden basmati and naan.  It’s a one-pot recipe that does need a little simmering time, but yields an extremely moreish sauce that was probably even better the next day.

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Vegie Rogan Josh
Adapted from Barbara Cousins’ Vegetarian Cooking Without via Green Gourmet Giraffe

For the simmer sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium onions, sliced thinly
2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp (heaped)  each ground coriander and turmeric
½ tsp (heaped) each ground cardamom and cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
chilli powder (optional)
400mL tin lite coconut milk
400g tin tomatoes
2/3 cup passata or crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Vegetables
3 medium potatoes, cut into 3cm cubes
1 medium sweet potato, cut into 3cm cubes
1 cup frozen peas
Good handful of sultanas

In a large saucepan that will fit all the vegies (non-stick is also good), saute the onion in the oil over medium heat until softened.  Add the ginger and garlic and stir for 2 minutes, then tip in all the spices and fry for another 2 minutes until aromatic.  Pour in the coconut milk, tin of tomatoes and extra passsata/crushed tomato, and coriander leaves, and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil and gently simmer for about 5 minutes.

Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly before blending with a hand blender until roughly pureed.  Taste and season again: my tomatoes were a bit tart so I added about 1/2 tsp sugar at this point too.  Tip in all your vegetables, and simmer until cooked.  This for me took the better part of an hour, and the sauce does catch, so stir frequently.

(I was intending to also put in half a cauliflower but had overestimated the amount of vegetables needed for the sauce so the cauflower just couldn’t fit in the pot!  I would prioritise cauliflower over the potatoes next time, and would also love to add some paneer cubes or haloumi too.)

Yield: serves 6

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