Rootin’ Tootin’ Curry

This one’s for Phil. It’s a great recipe that really got me into grinding my own curry spices, which is in fact super easy and nowhere near as scary as it seemed at first. It’s vegan (if you want it to be) and paleo friendly if you don’t put any off-road type ingredients in (potatoes or corn!) and don’t serve it with rice. To be honest, you don’t really need rice as it’s full of roots but we do like it with rice!

This recipe was inspired by Nigel Slater’s root vegetable curry recipe, but I’ve removed all the dairy and changed up a few things! It’s a Korma curry, so mild unless you add loads of chillies.

Serves 6-8

2 medium onions, chopped
2 inch piece of fresh root ginger, grated
3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1.5kgs mixed roots, peeled and chopped. Some suggestions: butternut squash (ok, not a root!), sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, jerusalem artichoke, potatoes (not strictly paleo if you add these).
100g unsalted cashews, half roughly chopped
6 cardamom pods
2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
1 cinammon stick
2 small green chillies
300ml coconut cream
2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
large handful freshly chopped coriander

Take the cardamon pods and split them open (you can do this with your thumbnail), remove the seeds and put in a pestle and mortar. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and then grind until you’ve got a coarse powder. Mix in the turmeric and chilli powder.

Put the oil or ghee into a large heavy bottomed pan, add the onions and stir gently letting them soften but not colour, then add the ginger and garlic and allow them to cook gently for a couple of minutes. Add the spices, stir for a couple of minutes until the spices release their fragrant aromas.

Add the roots and the chopped half of the cashews to the pan, season with the chillies, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then add 750ml water to the pan, partially cover with a lid and simmer for 45-50 minutes or until the roots are tender to a knife point.

While the roots are simmering toast the remaining cashews in a pan. To do this use a dry frying pan on a medium heat, add the cashews and stir regularly for a few minutes until the nuts start to colour, keep them moving to toast all over. Do not use a high heat or the nuts will quickly burn.

curry up

When the roots are tender add the coconut cream to the pan. Check the seasoning and then serve garnished with the toasted cashews and fresh chopped coriander.

If you wish you can substitute the coconut cream with 150ml of cream and 150ml thick natural yogurt. If you do this do not allow the curry to return to the boil or the yogurt will curdle. If this does happen, the curry is still perfectly tasty and edible but does have a slightly grainy texture to the sauce.

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