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This the last part of my Afro-Middle eastern inspired menu was a Swahili vegetable curry. Okra, green beans, tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, corn, cauliflower, baby potatoes, carrots….Nine total vegetables are featured in this all encompassing vegetable curry.

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The vegetables are stewed in a coconut based sauce with a variety of spices, and I cracked my own fresh coconut to extract the coconut flesh.

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The spices are first heated in a pan until fragrant, and then are finely ground in a spice or coffee grinder.

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To make the spice paste, grated coconut flesh is sautéed with some olive oil until lightly browned,

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The coconut is transferred to a blender along with the toasted spices and onions.

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And blended until a paste forms. The paste is set aside until ready for use.

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To start the curry, sliced onions and mustard seeds are cooked in a large casserole over high heat, until the onions are browned. Turmeric, mace, Garam masala and bay leaves are added to the casserole, and cooked until fragrant.

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The coconut spice paste is added to the casserole and simmered over low heat for 10 minutes.

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The coconut milk and water are added to the casserole and brought to a simmer.

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Sliced carrots and potatoes are added to the pot, and simmered for 15 minutes.

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All vegetables, except for the okra, are added to the pot with the tomato paste and simmered for 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

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At this point, the curry can be made ahead of time, cooled and refrigerated over night, which is what I did.
The next day, the dish is slowly brought to a simmer, and the okra is added to the pot, and cooked for about 5 minutes. Fresh curry leaves and cilantro are stirred into the curry, adjusting the seasoning to your taste.

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I like to serve the curry with some hot sauce and basmati rice.

Swahili Vegetable Curry

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