Love and Olive Oil

Coconut Vegetable Curry

We’ve done the Thai curries. We’ve done them darned good. But we were ready for a change. So when we saw this vegetable Indian curry in Bon Appetit, we had to try it.

Unfortunately, our Okra went bad before we made it. We have never had Okra, and were both looking forward to it. We were not, however, looking forward to moldy okra. Maybe next time.

We’d also peel the eggplant next time, and try cooking it differently. The skin was tough and the flesh was too bitter. We ended up picking out all the pieces of eggplant and eating the rest of it. If anyone here has a tip for non-bitter eggplant, please share!

If you do choose to make this, chances are you’ll need to run down to your friendly neighborhood international food store to get many of the ingredients. We somehow managed to find curry leaves (which oddly smell like burnt rubber), used what we needed and froze the rest for next time. The Black Mustard and Fenugreek you’ll also need to find. If you want to save yourself some time, pick up some “ghee”, which is basically browned clarified butter. If not, you’ll have to clarify your own, simply by melting the butter and scooping off all the white solids that rise to the top and sink to the bottom.

If I haven’t scared you with the complexity of this recipe yet… you really should try it! It’s darned good (sans bitter eggplant, of course!)

Coconut Vegetable Curry
Coconut Vegetable Curry

Makes 6 servings. Recipe from Bon Appetit.

5 tablespoons Clarified Butter, divided
12 pearl onions, blanched 1 minute, peeled
10 fresh okra pods
6 Indian eggplants (each about 3 inches long) or 4 Asian eggplants, trimmed, each quartered lengthwise 2 large carrots (about 10 ounces), peeled, cut on diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick ovals
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored, cubed

5 tablespoons Clarified Butter
1 pound white onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh or frozen curry leaves* (about 16 leaves)
1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seeds**
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds***
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt 3 1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (preferably organic)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

For vegetables:
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and sauté until onions are just tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer onions to bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add okra; sauté until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add okra to bowl with onions. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplants; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté eggplants until brown on cut surfaces and just tender, about 6 minutes. Add eggplant to onions. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet. Add carrots. Sauté until carrots begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir to blend; add to vegetable mixture in bowl. Reserve skillet for sauce.

For sauce:
Heat butter in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until golden, about 14 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add curry leaves, mustard seeds, turmeric, fenugreek, and cayenne; sauté 1 minute. Add vegetable mixture and 1§ teaspoons salt. Add coconut milk and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Mix in lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer curry to bowl. Serve over basmati rice.

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  1. We’ve tried that trick before… can’t remember what we made or if it tasted better (probably did). Guess we were just lazy this time and neglected to do it. We’re definitely not giving up on eggplant yet!!

  2. Eggplant…yeah, bitter and off. Peeling isn’t the culprit, it’s the flesh. Next time, slice the eggplant, lay them in a colander and sprinkle them liberally with salt on both sides. Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes to draw out that bitterness, then rinse the slices and pat them dry. It also helps to cook the eggplant until it is very soft.

    I have had some very good luck with eggplant this past summer, but it takes some work. Don’t give up on it. When done right, it is really delicious.

  3. Hi Lindsay

    Love your site – why olive oil? – virtually no recipes and no info on olive oil – if you like I will reciprocal link – but you must have more “fresh” olive oil!! Or I will write it for you, if you like!!

    Go for it!


    I am now launching, waterbased Chocolate, with Damian Allsop (Check his site too! – just use his name to search -in London. It is Chocolate Week here!

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