Saturday, May 11, 2013

Recipe: Blissful Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, and Cashew Curry

When we pulled a bag of soggy brussel sprouts out of the fridge this evening, we knew our dinner plans were doomed. We were supposed to have a roasted brussel and potato salad for dinner, but I don't do soggy brussel sprouts. I just won't. Luckily, we had lots of odds and ends of vegetables that needed to be used, and I whipped up a phenomenally great curry that took about 35 minutes start to finish. I put brown basmati rice in our rice cooker right before starting (we swear by this little gem), and was just taking the curry off the heat when the rice finished.

This curry tastes oh-so-creamy and decadent, but it's insanely healthy. Seriously. The curry itself is about 275 calories per serving (what!). Check out the nutrition facts at the bottom for more details.

Two notes on the following recipe:
  1. After reading The Engine 2 Diet last week, Ian and I are currently following the eating rules for four weeks to see how we like them: no added oils to cooking, avoiding processed foods in general, but especially any with added oils/sugars, using whole forms of sweeteners and fats, such as avocados, nuts, molasses, and maple syrup,etc.
  2. I estimate that 50% of this curry's awesomeness is a direct result of our homemade vegetable stock. Per Rip's advice in The Engine 2 Diet, we've been making our own stock out of discarded vegetable peels, stalks, bits, and ends. Ian made a lovely stock earlier this week primarily composed of eggplant, onion, and carrots. Personally, we think Rip is crazy for only simmering his stock for 20 minutes. A good stock needs at least an hour of love on the stove at a nice low simmer.

Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, and Cashew Curry

Serves 6

Serve this silky curry over brown basmati rice. As with most curries, you can swap out veggies for what you have on hand. Just adjust your cooking times to reflect the changes. You really don't need oil to saute the spices, but if you feel so inclined, knock yourself out. I promise you won't miss it though. 

To make this recipe truly efficient, measure your spices beforehand, and prep the garlic, ginger, and onion. Start your rice while the pan heats up. Then, while the onion cooks, chop the tomato, and chop the potato and sweet potatoes while the tomato cooks. Chop the cauliflower and puree the cashews while the potatoes soften.

2 tsp garam marsala (I used the Trader Joe's blend with success)
1 tsp cumin
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2-4 Tbsp water
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (peels on)
1 potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (peels on)
3-4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, preferably homemade (see notes)
1/2 cup currants (or raisins)
1/2 head cauliflower, stalks in 1/2-inch pieces, florets in bite-sized pieces
1 cup peas, frozen or fresh
1 cup cashews
water or additional vegetable stock
salt to taste
chopped cilantro to serve (optional)

Heat a wok (or dutch oven) over medium-high heat (nonstick isn't necessary but a plus). Once the wok is hot, add the garam marsala, cumin, garlic, mustard seeds, and ginger, stirring to avoid burning. After a couple of seconds, add water to saute, just as much as you need to keep the spices from sticking.

As soon as the spices are fragrant, add the onion, again adding a little water if needed to avoid sticking. Saute for a minute or two until you start seeing a little color on the onion. Add the tomato, continuing to stir frequently. After two or three minutes, add the sweet potato and potato. Stir and add broth to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium, and add the currants. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking, allowing the potatoes to cook and the liquid to reduce. Allow the vegetables to cook for about fifteen minutes, until the potatoes are almost done.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the cashews: Using a blender or an immersion blender, puree 1 cup cashews with just enough water or stock to cover them until they are completely smooth, 1-2 minutes on high. If you are using a blender, you may need to add slightly more water to allow the mixture to move, which is completely fine.

Add the cauliflower stalks and florets and a little more broth, if needed, and stir everything together. Allow to cook for five minutes, then add the peas and pureed cashews cream. Stirring often, continue to cook until everything is warm through and the cauliflower is crisp-tender, another 5-10 minutes.

Salt to taste and serve over basmati rice with cilantro to garnish, if desired.

275 Calories, 11.5 grams of fat, and 7.5 grams of protein per serving. Good source of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C (69%), and Iron (16%).  

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