Gingergirl: ‘Sprice up that boring vegetarian dinner with this Indian staple”

Helen Keown


Helen Keown

Endless variations: Why not try mixing and matching some of your own favourite veg
Hello and welcome to all about food. Time to veg out!

Hello and welcome to all about food. Time to veg out!

Ask Gingergirl

Dear Gingergirl,

I’ve noted in the past that you try to have meat-free dinners on a regular basis. I would like to increase our vegetable intake but, dare I say it, I find vegetables quite boring! Do you have any suggestions?

Many thanks,

Michelle, Newport

Hello Michelle,

You are right; I do try to eat meat-free dinners a few evenings a week, mainly for nutritional reasons. I am a complete carnivore so I do like to ensure I keep my meat-free meals tasty and satisfying, that way no one really misses the meat!

One way to make vegetables a little more ‘interesting’ is to add a little spice. The paste of chilli, ginger and garlic is something of an old reliable and is one that I use as a base for many spice dishes.

Finally, it is important not overcook the cauliflower; soggy vegetable curry will never leave you wanting more!

Vegetable Madras

(serves 6)

Sunflower oil

1 onion, roughly diced

1 red chilli (remove seeds if you don’t want the curry too hot)

2 thumb sized pieces of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

4 cloves of peeled garlic

1 tablespoon of madras curry

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 teaspoon of black onion seeds

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into 2cm

4 tablespoons of ground almonds

A handful of sultanas

½ a cauliflower head, broken into florets

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

200g frozen peas

a handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

In a large saucepan, heat two tablespoons of sunflower oil and gently fry the onion for 10-15 minutes. Using a stick blender or processor blitz the chilli, garlic and ginger to a paste. Stir the paste into the onions along with the turmeric, onions seeds, and curry powder. Cook for 5 minutes then add the sweet potato, almonds and season with a generous pinch of salt. Mix well so that everything is coated.

Turn the heat up to medium and add 500ml of water and the sultanas. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cauliflower florets, the peas and the coconut milk and simmer for a further 15 to 20 minutes with the lid on. Check that the potato and cauliflower are tender then turn off the heat. Stir in the coriander, check the seasoning and serve. I like to serve the curry with some rice, naan bread and some natural yoghurt.

And finally…

This recipe offers endless possibilities based on what vegetables you like. Experiment a little, try using spinach, courgettes, butternut squash, peppers, green beans, aubergine (aubergine and chickpeas are a favourite of mine)… the list goes on!

Contact Gingergirl


Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer who produces a range of handmade luxury jams, preserves and chutney’s made from local, seasonal or organic ingredients. Helen’s produce is available nationwide from independent food emporiums and is also available at selected food delis across Europe.

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