The temperature has dropped further and the days have become greyer here as we head into winter properly, so it’s soup time again.
I’ve always loved split pea soup cooked in any way, smooth or chunky. But today I decided on a smooth soup of yellow split peas, mild indian style curry spices and coconut milk.
To serve, I spooned some leftover cooked brown rice into the bottom of the bowl, added some spinach and poured the hot soup over the top so it wilted. It made a really satisfying meal. The smooth background of the soup with the chewy pieces of rice made a nice contrast.
coconut curry split pea soup with rice and spinach
recipe type: soup
- 250 g yellow split peas soaked for at least 2 hours or longer
- 4 cups water
- 1 tbs oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 small handful of fresh coriander leaves and stems chopped coarsely
- ½ fresh green chilli (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 400 ml can coconut milk
- juice of ½ lime or lemon
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 4 handfuls of spinach leaves
- extra coriander leaves to garnish
- Put the soaked split peas in a large pot with 4 cups of water with a large pinch of salt.
- Bring the peas to a boil, reduce to a simmer and skim the surface of any foam.
- Heat the oil and fry the onions until they soften and colour.
- Add the spices and fresh coriander and fry briefly to toast them.
- Add the onions and spices to the peas and cook until the peas are completely soft.
- Add the coconut milk and puree with a stick blender.
- Taste and add salt and lime juice.
- To serve put ¼ cup of rice and a handful of spinach into each bowl and ladle the hot soup over the top.
- Garnish with some extra coriander leaves.
This soup would work fine if you replaced the spices with 2 teaspoons of curry powder.
After my minor triumph of finally making some successful Indian food with the dhal makhani recipe, I decided I was on a roll and should cook some more.
Potatoes and cauliflower are two of my favourite vegetables at the moment, so I decided to give them a whirl in the Indian classic that combines the two, aloo ghobi. This is based on a recipe from a small book on “curries” that I picked up in an op-shop a zillion years ago for 25 cents. I only kept the book because it had a great weight to volume measurement converter for all kinds of ingredients.
This is a dryish vegetable dish. It has very little sauce and what sauce there is reminds me of making kasoundi, though on a smaller scale. The partly steamed vegetables are then finished in the sauce, which cooks away to almost nothing, just flavouring and coating the vegetables.
recipe type: savoury
cuisine: indian, vegan
- 3 medium potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
- ½ medium cauliflower broken into small florets
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 2 tbsp oil (I used rice bran oil)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2-3cm knob of ginger, finely grated
- 6 cloves of garlic crushed
- 300ml tomato puree or 2-3 large diced fresh tomatoes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground red chilli (more or less to taste)
- fresh coriander for garnish
- Heat the oil in a large pan
- Add the turmeric and onions and saute for 5 minutes
- Add the ginger and garlic and continue to saute for another 2 minutes
- Add the tomato, mix and cook until the sauce reduces to a thickish paste.
- Steam the potato for 5 minutes and then add the cauliflower and steam for another 3 minutes. Both should be almost done.
- Add the ground coriander, garam masala, chilli and cumin to the tomato sauce.
- Add the potatoes, cauliflower and peas and mix gently to coat all the veg completely.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Cover and cook until the vegetables are just tender.
- Garnish with fresh coriander.
When I was in Sydney a couple of weeks ago I bought some handmade seitan from Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher. You can also buy seitan or soy mock meats at a lot of Asian grocers – my favourite is Vincent’s Vegetarian. If you’ve never been to Vincent’s, and like mock meat, you really should go. It is astonishing and slightly scary what you can make with soy and wheat protein! If you are not a mock meat fan, then you could use chick peas, some fried tofu chunks or just other firm vegetables with the potatoes.
The potatoes I used in this dish are some beautiful Dutch Creams I grew this year that are almost ready to harvest. I dug a couple out from under the plants with my hands, leaving the plant intact. Dutch Creams are my favourite potato at the moment. They are good for using in just about anything – baking, boiling, roasting and salads. They look beautiful with their yellow flesh and they taste wonderful.
Anyway, enough of the potato adoration. I needed to use the seitan and I thought of this yellow curry that I’d made at a cooking school in Thailand about 12 years ago. Thai yellow curries are unusual because they use both curry paste and curry powder.
I dug out the notes from the school to a check up on the ingredients and headed off to Victoria Street in Richmond to stock up on some essentials that I didn’t have – like fresh lemongrass.
I don’t make curry pastes very often, but when I do I remember how fresh and vibrant they are compared to commercially made ones. This time I decided to go the home-made route, but really you can use a commercially made one and it will be great. I can’t be bothered making a curry paste about 99 times out of 100, I’m fundamentally a lazy cook. 🙂
Valcomm make a yellow curry paste that doesn’t have shrimp paste in it and it is easily available at supermarkets in Australia.
I felt like some greens with mine so, although it isn’t traditional, I threw a big handful of spinach leaves on top of the steamed rice in my bowl to wilt underneath the curry.
yellow curry with seitan and potatoes
recipe type: savoury, main meal
- For the curry paste
- 12 mild large dried red chillies seeds removed and soaked in water for at least 10 minutes then finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ginger peeled and finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons chopped lemongrass (white parts only)
- 4 tablespoons crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon vegan shrimp paste (you can buy this from the Cruelty Free Shop]
- For the curry
- 300 g seitan sliced into bite sized pieces
- 250ml coconut cream
- 250ml coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon mild curry powder
- 4 tablespoons yellow curry paste (either made as above or a ready made one)
- 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar (raw sugar, muscovado or panela are OK too and they are available in a supermarket)
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- Put all of the paste ingredients into a mortar and pound until smooth, You could also do this in a blender adding a bit of water to help. Or use a ready made curry paste.
- Put the coconut cream into a large frying pan or wok and fry for several minutes stirring until the oil separates. This is really important, it contributes to the flavour of the curry.
- Add the curry paste and curry powder and fry for 1-2 minutes
- Add the seitan and potatoes fry for a couple of minutes
- Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil
- Add half of the palm sugar and half of the soy sauce
- Simmer until the potato is cooked adding some water if needed.
- Taste and add as much of the sugar and soy sauce as needed.
- If the curry has become too thick or the oil has separated, thin with some extra coconut milk to bring it back together.