Kenyan vegetable curry
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes total
Keywords: saute bake side entree gluten-free nut-free vegetarian potatoes onion zucchini eggplant African
Ingredients (Serves 8)
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, approx. 1 1/2 pounds / 680 g: I suggest you choose 1 red and 1 white and look for freshly harvested onions
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml black mustard seeds
- 1 pound / 450 g potatoes, well scrubbed
- 1/2 tablespoon / 7.5 ml grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon/ 7.5 ml ground cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon/ 7.5 ml whole coriander, well crushed in a mortar and a pestle
- 1 small chili pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon / 2.5 ml turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5 ml fine sea salt, plus to taste
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 4 cloves
- 1 large bay leaf, broken in half
- 1 or 2 eggplant (depending on size), approx. 1 1/4 pounds / 570 g (like the pretty Listada de Gandia)
- 9 ounces / 250 g snap beans OR flat beans (like the pretty Dragon's Tongue)
- 9 ounces / 250 g zucchini
- 2 cups / 475 ml strained roasted tomatoes
- A small bunch of dark leafy greens: kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach; I used 2.5 ounces / 70 g baby kale from my garden
Note #1: in the first rendition of this dish (portrayed in the top photo), instead of Dragon's Tongue beans and zucchini, I used a 1 pound / 450 g package of frozen mixed cut vegetables that contained snap beans, carrots, corn and peas. I thawed them for a couple of minutes in the microwave oven before adding them to the pan. Substitute with other seasonal vegetables you have available, like cabbage, cauliflower, carrots. By changing the ingredients, you'll get a slightly different dish every time.
Note #2: I still had one bag of strained roasted tomatoes from last year and just made my first batch for 2015. If you don't have time to roast the tomatoes, try using 1 can (14.5 ounces / 411 g) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes then rinse the can with 2 tablespoons / 30 ml water.
Chop the onions.
In a large, heavy skillet or deep sauté pan, warm up oil on medium heat. Add the onions and stir, then add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and stir to distribute well. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Cook the onions until soft and slightly browned, about 20 minutes, stirring often.
In the meantime:
- dice the potatoes
- prepare the rest of the spices
- trim top and bottom of eggplants, cut them into slices about 1/4 inch / 6 mm thick and dice the slices
- trim top and bottom of zucchini, quarter them lengthwise and slice the quarters
- top beans and cut them into 1 inch / 2.5 cm pieces
If you are using different vegetables, similarly cut them: for example, dice carrots, shred cabbage, cut cauliflower into florets, etc.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F / 177 C.
Add the potatoes to the pan and stir, then add the remaining spices and continue cooking for several minutes, stirring almost continuously.
Pour strained tomatoes into the pan. Rinse the container with 1 tablespoon / 15 ml of water then pour that into the pan as well. Stir well.
Add the vegetables, one at a time, cooking for 1-2 minutes between each addition.
Since I am not sure my deep sauté pan is ovenproof, I transfer all its contents into a 4 quart / 4 liter rectangular Pyrex baking dish and seal it with foil.
Bake for 15 minutes, then stir vegetables and check that there is enough moisture at the bottom to prevent burning. Repeat after 15 minutes. Add a bit of water, if necessary. After 15 more minutes (45 minutes from the beginning of baking), check that the vegetables are thoroughly cooked. If not, bake for another 3-5 minutes. When the vegetables are ready, take the pan out of the oven, adjust salt as needed (depending in part on how salty the tomatoes are) and stir well.
Serve hot. (I like it also at room temperature.)