I can’t stand throwing out food. I’m not quite sure when I became so fanatical about it – I definitely wasn’t as a kid, I still remember the standoffs where I’d be sat at the dining room table for hours while I stubbornly refused to eat my dinner. But something changed over the years and now I can’t bear to see any food go in the bin, in fact I quite enjoy the challenge of ensuring everything gets used up before it goes off (which can even stretch to scraping a bit of mold off the bread now and then, mmm!)
So as usual I made far too much rice when cooking our Christmas day banquet, so I decided to make a Caribbean vegetable curry the next day to use it up.
I make Indian curries quite often and looking at the ingredients I wondered whether this would have a noticeable Caribbean flavour or not. But the addition of some different spices (allspice and scotch bonnet in particular) really gave it a new twist! It was delicious with Levis coconut rice and peas.
Caribbean vegetable curry
Inspired by various recipes in Caribbean Food Made Easy by Levi Roots
- Chopped vegetables (I used potatoes, carrots, broccoli, beans and pepper)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
- 1 scotch bonnet chilli, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp each cayenne/chilli powder, onion powder, thyme, turmeric, black pepper and salt
- 1 tsp each allspice, coriander and mustard (grind any seeds fresh if you can, or use pre-ground)
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp tamarind paste (optional)
- 1/2 a can (200ml) of coconut milk
- Chopped spring onion to garnish
- Coriander yoghurt: yoghurt or sour cream, lime, coriander, seasoning
- Add the garlic, ginger, tamarind and spices to a mortar and pestle and grind to a paste.
- Fry the onion in oil until soft.
- Add the vegetables to the pan (you may want to par-boil the potatoes first if using) and then the spice paste.
- Fry for a few minutes but don’t let the spices burn (add a splash of water if necessary).
- Add the coconut milk and bay leaves and let simmer until vegetables are soft.
- Serve with plain rice or rice and peas (recipe below), garnished with chopped spring onion. I like to serve this with dollops of coriander yoghurt – a quick mix of yoghurt, chopped coriander and lime juice and zest.
Serves 2-3, adapted from Caribbean Food Made Easy by Levi Roots
- 150g basmati rice (washed and set aside)
- 200ml coconut milk
- 300ml water
- 1 spring onion, bruised
- 1 whole scotch bonnet chilli
- 1 tsp ground allspice (or substitute 5 whole berries if you have them)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme (a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme also works)
- 1/4 large onion, finely diced
- 1 can of black beans, drained (kidney beans also work)
- a small knob of butter
- Put all the ingredients in a pot (except the rice) and heat to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Add the rice and bring back to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook the rice until done, 15-20 minutes.
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