My friend Leigh lent me one of her cookbooks called "Moosewood Cookbook" by Mollie Katzen and I instantly fell in love. The recipes are all vegetarian and the cookbook itself is darling. It's either all handwritten or in a handwritten-like font, easy to read, with delicious recipes. I was very excited to cook out of this adorable cookbook. Around the same time, my parents got me a Le Creuset dutch oven for my birthday -- something I've been lusting after for as long as I've understood the importance of having Le Creuset in your kitchen. It's an amazing kitchen tool, good for cooking so many things and cooking them well. I was SO excited to have one!
I christened my Le Creuset by cooking a tomato curry recipe out of the Moosewood cookbook. It was rich and thick, tangy, and not at all spicy. If you like spicy curry, then you should work with this a little more or try a green curry. But if you're new to curry or are looking for something mellow to eat for dinner, this is for you. I added a few things to the original recipe based on what I had in my own kitchen, and there are a lot of other additions you can put with this to make it your own. It's fantastic over some basmati rice or scooped up with garlic naan (the naan at Target is pretty damn good).
1 tbs. butter or oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped or grated onion
1 tsp. salt
1 small bell pepper, minced
6 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeded (see below)
2 cups tomato puree
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp mustard seeds (but not yellow mustard seeds)
2 tsp grated ginger*
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cayenna, more to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala (optional)
1/2 tsp dried coriander (optional)
In order to peel and seed the tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Immerse the tomatoes in the water for about 10 seconds and remove them. The skins should peel right off,. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze them over a garbage can or the sink in order to seed them. Roughly chop them and you're ready to proceed.
Melt butter or heat oil in a dutch oven (or large pot if you don't have a dutch oven). Add onion, salt, and mustard seeks. Saute over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until the onions soften and the mustard seeds begin to pop. (Cooking time will be shorter if using grated onion.) Add ginger, garlic, and bell pepper, cook another 5 minutes. Add remaning ingredients and mix well. Heat until boiling, stirring frequently. Turn the heat to low and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Serve over rice or with naan. Add some chopped cilantro or some extra firm tofu.
Makes 3-4 servings and leftovers keep well in the fridge.
*Food Tip: Ginger is one of those ingredients that I infrequently use so I never have it on hand when I need it. Now I buy a big chunk of ginger at the store and break it up into managable pieces at home. I put the pieces in a freezer bag and freeze it. Then whenever I need some ginger, I take out the right size, peel it, and grate it. You'll always have ginger when you need it!