Potato Vegetable Curry (Kootou Curry)

  • Yield 6 servings

Here’s a traditional curry from Kerala, the gorgeous southwestern strip of India, where the spice-laden land meets the Arabian Sea.

Despite that yellow bottle of curry powder found everywhere, curry isn’t a set blend of spices but a multitude of variations, some guarded as a family secret for generations. You’ll make your own curry powder—and maybe start your own family secret! But if you want to avoid mixing all those spices, just substitute 2 tablespoons mild yellow curry powder doctored with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne.

Ingredients

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsweetened coconut (see note)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound plus 2 ounces red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
2 1.4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 1/4 cups peeled, diced eggplant
1 1/2 cups chopped green beans
3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons canola oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Place 1/2 cup coconut, ginger, coriander, cumin, salt, dry mustard, cinnamon, pepper, and cayenne in a spice grinder or a mini food processor; grind or process until about the consistency of coarse sand.
  2. Stir the potatoes and broth with the spice mixture in a large saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer slowly for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the eggplant, green beans, and chickpeas. Cover and continue simmering slowly until the vegetables are quite tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the remaining 6 tablespoons coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Heat oil in the same skillet now set over medium-low heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, soft, and very sweet, about 12 minutes.
  6. Stir the lemon juice into the stew. Serve the stew in bowls, topped with the toasted coconut and frizzled shallots.
Note: Unsweetened coconut, sometimes called “desiccated coconut,” is simply dried, shaved coconut flakes. It’s found in gourmet markets, East Indian markets, and health food stores. Do not substitute sweetened coconut, familiar from the baking aisle of most supermarkets.
Recipe by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, courtesy of the United States Potato Board 

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