RAINBOW CURRY TABLE
Serves 4 to 6
Comforting and full of vibrant flavour, curries win my heart and my stomach every time! The concept of this meal is to serve a table of curries, where the flavours of the different dishes fold into one another beautifully when combined in each guest’s bowl. Alternatively, you can cherry-pick any one of the components to make and enjoy on its own. The bold smoky quality of the tandoori cauliflower harmonises well with the fragrant lemony edge of the fresh coriander in the chickpea and spinach curry, and the pilaf is made warmly aromatic and earthy with the spicing of chai tea and therapeutic turmeric. Take your guests further on the spice trail by adding cherry chutney, a fantastic sweet contrast to the savoury curry, and cooling elements to complete the taste experience such as a tangy yoghurt raita, pickles and naan bread.
FOR THE PILAF
• 250g basmati rice, rinsed in several changes of cold water until the water is clear, then soaked in fresh cold water for 30 minutes
• 500ml water
• 1 chai teabag
• vegetable oil, for frying
• 2 shallots, finely sliced
• 1 tsp ground turmeric
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 50g toasted almonds, coarsely ground
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed • a handful of raisins
FOR THE CHICKPEA AND SPINACH CURRY
• vegetable oil, for frying
• 2 shallots, finely diced
• 2 tsp black mustard seeds, toasted and ground
• 1 tbsp ground coriander
• ¾ tbsp garam masala
• ¾ tsp salt, plus extra, to taste
• 300g spinach leaves, roughly chopped
• 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 600ml vegetable stock
• 10g fresh coriander, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp agave syrup [available at Dis-Chem and Wellness Warehouse]
FOR THE RAITA
• 200g vegan yoghurt [available at Wellness Warehouse]
• pinch of salt
• pinch of cumin
• 2 tbsp grated cucumber (optional)
• tandoori cauliflower (see recipe, right)
• cherry chutney (see recipe on pg 102)
• naan bread
1. To make the pilaf, drain the rice and put it in a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid, cover with the water and add the teabag. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for 10–12 minutes.
2. Turn off the heat, remove the teabag and leave the rice to stand, uncovered, while you fry the shallots. Heat a large, wide frying pan over medium heat. Add a little vegetable oil and fry the shallots, stirring frequently, for 5–7 minutes until transparent.
3. Add the remaining pilaf ingredients including the cooked rice; fry, stirring, for 3–4 minutes.
4. To make the chickpea and spinach curry, heat a saucepan that has a lid over medium-high heat. Add a little vegetable oil and fry the shallots with the spices and salt, stirring, for 4–5 minutes.
5. Add the spinach and cook, stirring it with the shallot and spices, until wilted. Stir in the remaining ingredients, cover the saucepan and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.
6. To make the raita, simply mix the ingredients together in a small bowl.
7. To assemble the curry table, put the warm pilaf, and chickpea and spinach curry in serving dishes, along with the accompanying tandoori cauliflower and cherry chutney, plus the raita, pickles and naan bread.