As a creative Indian dish that's quick to prepare in less than an hour, this goes well with hot steamed rice. It's worth a mention that cooking is a form of art, and Indian cooking even more so. Indeed, you don't have to measure any ingredient to their exact amount. Just estimate as you cook and adjust as you go for your taste. Trust your instincts and build up your experience. :)
Ingredients: All ingredients are highlighted in the instructions. Read through them and prepare the ingredients before you start with step 1.
- When all ingredients are ready, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a pot that has a fitted lid (the lid will be used later).
- Add about 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds, and crackle them for about a minute.
- You can add a mixture of mustard and cumin seeds instead.
- Add one onion, a thumb of ginger, 4-5 garlic cloves and 2-3 green chili (all chopped). Sauté this for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.
- You can use a teaspoon or more of ginger-garlic paste.
- You can reduce or skip the chili for a less spicy version.
- Add about half a sprig of curry leaves (more if you'd like), and sauté for another minute until the aroma is nice (not raw).
- Add your chopped vegetables, and sauté until they are about half-cooked.
- Use any one, two or even three vegetables of your choice. I've made this with just 3 carrots, or a combination of 2 carrots and 10 pieces of okra, or even with half head of cabbage and 2 potatoes.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of curry powder and half teaspoon of turmeric powder, and sauté for a few minutes.
- Add a mixture of half cup tomato paste and half cup water.
- If you have thinner tomato sauce, use 3/4 cup of the sauce and 1/4 cup of water.
- Sauté this mixture for about a minute, then cover with the fitted lid, and let it steam for a few minutes.
- Now add about one to two cups of water, that's about enough to be slightly above the level of vegetables.
- Mix in about 1/4 teaspoon of garam masala & some salt to taste.
- Hint: What does "salt to taste" mean? It means to taste-test the dish while adding salt until the flavors pop. Salt should intensify other flavors, not make the dish salty.
- How? Taste the curry without any salt to register the baseline flavor profile in your mind, then add a small pinch of salt. Taste again and notice the difference. Repeat until the level of salt is just right to bring out the flavor profile completely without the curry becoming salty. (Tip: If you added too much salt, a bit of juice from lime, lemon or calamansi will fix it.)
- Cover the mixture, and bring it to a boil. Then simmer in a medium-low heat until the vegetables and cooked to tender.
- Serve with a plate of hot steamed rice. Enjoy!
The dry curry pictured in the cover is with carrots and okra. Here's a soupy curry with just carrots: (If you want your curry soupy but it dried up, just add a bit more water and bring it to a boil.)