So as you guys know, I just moved to Austin last week to go to the Natural Epicurean cooking school. I'll talk more about that on Friday, but today I wanted to talk about one of my biggest challenges thus far - cooking with a severely limited pantry.
Since I'm without a car, grocery trips need to be short lest I break my back, which means that I've done a couple small produce runs and a pantry staple trip. I have basics like olive oil, salt and pepper, and some veggies (mainly hearty ones), but not much else. Because of that, I've been trying to come up with creative ways to use my limited amounts of food.
In my opinion, nothing is easier than curry. You take some random veggies, cook 'em with aromatics and curry powder, and you've got a warming, flavorful meal with minimal ingredients. I know the ingredient list doesn't look very minimal, but that's just because it's got a lot of different veggies (like onions, carrot, cabbage, etc).
You can get really fancy with curry by toasting spices and making your own blends, but I kept this as simple as possible due to necessity. Feel free to swap out some of the veggies for what you've got around, but do try to keep the onion/garlic/ginger thing happening, since they contribute lots of flavor. And beans, no matter which kind you use, add a nice boost of protein.
Serve with brown rice and a few fun toppings for a complete, hearty and healthy meal.
The Easiest Vegetable Curry
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated or minced
1 generous teaspoon good-quality curry powder
4 cups vegetable broth
1 large carrot, chopped
2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 small yams, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups - potatoes and winter squash work well too)
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
Salt and pepper, to taste
For serving (use any or all):
Cooked brown rice
Fresh diced tomato
Hot sauce (like Sriracha)
Chutney (mango chutney would be awesome)
1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, about five minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a couple more minutes. Stir in the curry powder for about a minute, and then add the vegetable broth. Crank up the heat to high and add the carrot, cabbage, yam and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until everything is fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Add a small serving of rice into a large soup bowl, and ladle in as much curry as you want. Top with any of the serving goodies like avocado, cilantro and hot sauce. Enjoy!
After spending a day in the kitchen, it's nice to come home and throw together a big pot of goodness without too much effort. Making a vegetable curry and rice takes time, but the majority of that is hands-off time where you can study or send emails or investigate Pinterest.
School and hanging out with Michael via Skype has been taking up most of my time this week, so I apologize if I've been quiet in the blog world - I'm still reading what you guys are up to, but I haven't quite settled in a rhythm yet. Take care, and I'll catch up with y'all on Friday!