It had been over a month since we'd last had Indian - an unthinkable gap given my particular obsession with it - so I spent Tuesday morning scanning our cookbooks for a winning recipe. Cindy's a bit of a korma fan, but the vegetarian option in Mridula Baljekar's book has never really impressed me. Luckily, there's a chicken version in one of our other Indian books that looked like it could be easily converted to a mixed-vegie version. The korma used pistachio nuts rather than the usual cashew option, which gave the picture in the recipe book a rather startling green colour. Mine ended up a more traditional colour, but the flavour was quite impressive. Pre oven-baking the spuds and the eggplant was a wonderful idea - both soaked up the curry flavours particularly well and their softness was a nice contrast to the crisper carrots and beans. If anything, I'd probably cut down on the potato a little next time and add in an additional vegetable. Capsicum maybe. It's a fair bit of work for a school night, and it's probably better suited to a Sunday evening cooking session, but it's my favourite korma recipe so far.
Vegetable pistachio korma (adapted from the chicken pistachio korma in '50 Great Curries of India' by Camellia Panjabi)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 eggplant, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, chopped
A couple of handfuls of green beans, trimmed
2 onions, chopped finely
1 piece of ginger, grated
5 cloves of garlic, minced
6 green chillies
5 tablespoons cream
3 tablespoons yoghurt
2 tomatoes, choppped
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 bay leaves
600ml 'chicken' stock
Oven bake the potatoes (about half an hour) and eggplant (20 minutes) at 180 degrees. Pull them out when they're cooked right through, but before they've crisped up on the outside too much.
While they're baking, get to work on the pistachios. Shell them and then boil them in a cup of water for about 10 minutes. Once they're done, drain them and let them cool. The dark skin on the nuts should rub off fairly easily once they've cooled down (this was actually fairly slow and painful, but the cookbook says it should be easy), leaving you with slightly soft, greenish nuts ready to turn into sauce.
Combine the pistachios, four of the chillies and the cream in a food processor and blend until you've got a fairly smooth paste. Mine was only a pale green, but I think it depends on how brightly coloured your pistachios are.
Once the vegetables and the paste are ready to go, you can get cooking. Fry the onion until they've just started to colour and then add in the garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, pepper, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Stir fry for another couple of minutes and then add in the pistachio paste.
Stir in your vegetables (throw them all in together, the eggplant and potato should be soft and you want the carrots and beans to be fairly crisp) and then add the tomato, yoghurt and stock. Keep on cooking until your accompaniments (roti bread for us!) are ready and then you're good to go. Enjoy!