Wednesday 12 November 2008

Rogan Josh with variety

On the weekend, E and I headed off to Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces in inner city Fitzroy to see an exhibition called 21:100:100 one hundred sound works by one hundred artists from the 21st century.

The art gallery was an artful arrangement of the rows of 100 artist storyboards and headphones with long cords fanning out from points in the ceiling to each set of headphones. It was a fascinating sound art installation with such an abundance of pieces to listen to. Low stools were scattered about for those who chose to listen at length.

We didn’t manage to listen to all of them but stayed for quite some time sampling the soundwaves. Some pieces were such a cacophony that no sooner had I put on the headphones than I would replace them in their cradle. But others had me mesmerised and it was hard to drag myself away from such beguiling sounds. Some of the bands I enjoyed were Three Quarters Had Been Eliminated, Brothers Of The Occult Sisterhood, Fennesz, Pateras/Baxter/Brown, Michael Snow, and Sonic Youth. Sadly I can’t remember most of the names. What I loved about the exhibition was the smorgasbord of so much to sample.

When I started to write this post about how I love lots of different vegetables in a curry, I thought of the exhibition and how the myriad of choices made it so enjoyable. While the idea of a table filled with many different curries is hugely appealing, the reality at home is that I usually only make one curry so it needs to be good and full of lots of interesting vegetables..

When we lived in Edinburgh, we would frequent the Prince of India in Peebles when visiting E’s parents. I would often order a sabzi rogan josh. It was quite spicy but not eye-wateringly so. What I really loved was that it was filled with lots of different vegetables. Most curries served in Melbourne’s Indian restaurants seem lucky to have two vegetables – or three if you count onion! So for some time now I have had my eye on a recipe for a rogan josh sauce in Barbara Cousins’ Vegetarian Cooking Without. Such a treat to have a home made rogan josh sauce and be able to fill it with lots of lovely vegetables ad legumes!

The sauce was full of flavour and spice, albeit a bit sweeter than my usual curries. As usual I went easy with the chilli and then found myself thinking it should have a bit more heat. I haven't cooked with coconut milk much lately and forget how much it takes the heat out. I was glad there was a nice red tomatoey taste to the sauce which is how I remember it.

I was not surprised that the suggested curries were only a couple of vegetables but I just added my own mixture of potato, pumpkin, zucchini, peas, chickpeas plus sultanas and cashews! I was surprised that even with my generous helpings of vegetables there still seemed to be a lot more sauce than I usually make but found this pleasing. Of course, any combination of vegetables could be used. My combination just lacked the chunks of just cooked tomatoes which I always loved in Peebles.

While I was indulging my whims I decided I needed to find some good thick flaky roti breads to serve with the curry. I bought roti from the supermarket some time ago and it resembled a flat tasteless tortilla. Luckily E is quite familiar with the city’s curry cafes and recommended the Curry Corner on the corner of Bourke and Russell Streets which I was able to get to at lunch time and purchase some good roti.

I made the sauce one night and simmered the vegetables in it the next. Heating up the roti on a frypan made easy work of dinner. On the third night when our roti supplies had dwindled, I served it with a little roti and a chilled yoghurt rice that I will post about soon. Most delicious. Highly recommended for anyone who fancies sampling just a little of everything.

With lots of chickpeas in the curry, I am sending it to Simone from Briciole who is hosting this month’s My Legume Love Affair (deadline 30 November) which was founded by Susan from The Well Seasoned Cook.

Vegetable and Chickpea Rogan Josh
(adapted from Vegetarian Cooking Without)
Serves 6

Simmer Sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium onions, chopped
2.5cm/1 inch piece of ginger, finely grated
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
¼ - ½ tsp chilli powder (I used ¼ cayenne pepper)
270ml tin of lite coconut milk
400g tin of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
½ tsp salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

In the curry:
400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4-5 medium potatoes, diced
1 cup frozen peas
Small handful of sultanas
4 smallish zucchini, sliced
200g pumpkin, peeled and diced
Small handful of chopped cashew nuts

Heat oil in a medium saucepan and add onions, garlic and ginger. Fry til onions soften. Add spices and stir another 1-2 minutes. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, coriander and salt. Check seasoning. Simmer about 5 minutes. Blend using a hand held blender or food processor. (At this stage the sauce can be frozen to use later if desired.)

Transfer sauce to a large saucepan and add potatoes, peas, chickpeas and sultanas. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add zucchinis and pumpkin. Simmer about 20 minutes, stirring frequently (mine kept sticking to the bottom of the pot). Scatter with cashew nuts to serve.

On the stereo:
The World that Summer: 1986-2006 20th anniversary extras - Death in June


  1. What a delight! Funny you want more veggies in curries that's the way I feel about Chinese places!
    Chickpeas and pumpkin sound great and I couldn't do with out a potato or two ;)

  2. Sounds like a great combination of flavours, and I'm glad you got to revisit an old favourite!

  3. Yum, yum, yum.

    Gosh, you're so right. Why do so few restaurants up the veg count in a curry?

  4. this is a delightful dinner, I am sure! pls post the youghrt rice! I am curious! :D

  5. I do love me a good curry! I find that the restaurant variety is also mostly sauce, but adding all those veggies is a great idea.

    I loved the names of those bands--where do they come up with those things??

  6. Thanks Tanna - I often feel the same way in chinese restaurants too

    thanks Lysy - yes always good to revisit rogan josh

    thanks Lucy - it is a mystery - are vegetables that difficult to serve up!

    thanks Anh - the yoghurt rice post is in the pipeline

    thanks Ricki - I love me a good band name too - pure poetry!

  7. Anything with chickpeas in it is a winner in my book! This sounds yum.

  8. It sounds wonderful and I love all the veg and beans you used. I'm longing for a curry now

  9. thanks AForkful - I feel the same way about chickpeas!

    Thanks Katie - nothing like a good curry packed with vegies

  10. This sounds extraordinarily good. I know I am ging to enjoy this one :)

  11. Thanks Holler - I am sure you will

  12. Hi Johanna - thanks for this! We made this on the weekend and all loved it so much (including fussy toddler) that I'm hoping to post about it soon if you don't mind. thanks for a great idea, and I totally agree with you about putting lots of vegies in a curry - hooray.

  13. thanks Frances - glad you and your family enjoyed it - will be interested to see you post about it - always love seeing someone else's experience of the meals I make!

  14. This sounds very appealing and something we would enjoy, with lots of vegetables. Thanks!


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