Winter Vegetable Curry Recipe

Do you want to hear one of the least publicized benefits of working from home? You get sick less often.

Not only can you choose to stay in when it’s cold and drizzly and icky outside (pyjamas optional), but you also spend less time in crowded public transportation, shake fewer hands and kiss fewer cheeks (in French office environments, it is common to kiss your close colleagues hello when you come in in the morning), and touch fewer shared coffee pots and bathroom door handles.

It’s a profoundly comforting dish, full of warm flavors, the vegetables soft and fuzzy in their spiced coconut milk sauce.

Or at least that has been my experience for the past seven winters, ever since I quit my office job and started writing full time.

But this year was different: my son Milan goes to daycare, and there he is naturally in contact with other adorable little people — including an Abel he gets along with famously — and the bazillion germs and viruses they all bring to share with one another, and take home at night.

It’s all part of the process, and I was copiously warned about it, but we went through a rough patch in November, when Milan was sick for the first time of his life, I had the nastiest cold I’d ever, ever had, and neither of us seemed to be getting better. At all. For weeks. It looked like it was going to be a long winter.

And then one night my dear friend Florence, who was kindly checking in on us, suggested a vegetable curry might be just the thing.

Just the thought of it cheered me up. I dragged myself up from the couch, looked up a recipe that would require neither grocery shopping nor lengthy preparation, and got to work.

The recipe I used was this one by Beena Paradin, a French-Indian cook, food writer*, and co-founder of the online shop Beendhi. She presents the recipe as a riff on a traditional stew from Kerala, the region in the Southwest of India where she was born, and explains she’s adapted it to speed up the process, and accommodate the kind of ingredients one finds in France.

It was profoundly comforting, full of warm flavors, the vegetables soft and fuzzy in their spiced coconut milk sauce. It made me feel considerably better.

The stew has since become a fixture of my weeknight dinner rotation, and it has turned out to be a most rewarding method of using up mismatched vegetables that may be losing patience in the fridge drawer.

And whether it’s the winter vegetable curry, the preventive homeopathic treatment we now take religiously, or just our lucky star, I’m happy to report we’ve all been doing fine since that dreadful fall episode.

Join de conversation!

What’s your edible remedy for bad colds and other grisly viruses?

* In particular, she has written the superb cookbook Inde intime et gourmande with her mother, Padmavathi Paradin.

Winter Vegetable Curry Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves 4.

Winter Vegetable Curry Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kilos (2 1/2 pounds) mixed cold weather vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, kabocha, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil or ghee
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • a "thumb" of fresh ginger, about 2.5 cm (1 ") in length, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 400 ml (13 1/2 ounces) coconut milk
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • basmati rice, for serving (optional)
  • chutney, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the vegetables into bite-size cubes, or sticks, or florets.
  2. Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pot with a lid, such as a Dutch oven. Add the onions and salt, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the vegetables, pour in two thirds of the coconut milk and 120 ml (1/2 cup) water, and stir. Cover, bring to a low simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Stir in the remaining coconut milk, cook for another minute or two, sprinkle with black pepper, and serve, with freshly basmati rice and chutney.
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  • http://legrumeau.com/en/ Le Grumeau

    Curry and rice, best combo in winter times. I’ll try this one soon. Thanks for the recipe.

  • http://mrsredbootsfood.blogspot.com/ Annabel

    I did a really nice root vegetable curry last winter – made it often, and a couple of times without the curry seasoning for friends who don’t care for that.

    But today I was just thinking that winter is nearly over, and leeks are at their peak just now, and cauliflower…. spring is nearly here! #

    I do so know what you mean about nursery, though – my little grandson picks up everything going, and generously shares it round the family. Less so this year, but last winter he simply didn’t grow because he spent the entire time fighting off viruses! I hope Milan likes the curry, too – they are great cold-fighters.

  • Richelle

    Lovely recipe! We take vitamine C, a multivitamine and high dosis of vitamine D3 from October through March, have not been ill in years.

  • http://bulleetblog.canalblog.com Anne-Liesse @ Bulle & Blog

    Can’t say I haven’t been sick at all over the last winters, but my lentil dal has helped me stay comforted, if not healthy ;-) There seems to be something about Indian recipes and those warming spices… Too bad my 6-year old son doesn’t like them – any more…

    Happy to hear you’re all doing fine. I sure think that curry in Milan’s milk must be doing wonders !!!…

  • http://www.sailblogs.com/member/steenrally Voahangy

    Welcome to my world! Curry is weekly feature in our house (boat) as well: vegetables, meat, fish, chicken…you name it, there is nothing that can’t be treated with a loving dose of spices. I note that your recipe doesn’t include curry powder or chili, assuming to keep it mild for breastfeeding?? I love to include a stalk of lemongrass (when I can find it, not easy in Mexico) to give a light citrusy flavor.

    We ward off evil germs and viruses with loads of garlic and spices, and on the rare occasion when we’re really sick there’s nothing better than homemade soup (my daughter loves chicken soup, my son goes for minestrone, hubby begs for pumpkin…)
    Good luck for the rest of winter, spring will be here before you know it!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The original recipe doesn’t include curry powder or chili — I’m otherwise happy to expose my son to those, directly or through the milk he drinks! — but the stew packs a nice amount of heat from the fresh ginger.

  • http://naivecookcooks.com ami@naivecookcooks

    Yumm!

  • http://cuisinediplomatic.blogspot.com.au/ Louisa

    Sorry to hear about your nasty cold, Clotilde. My personal favorite winter cold cure is Brazilian black bean soup with lots of chilli and lime. It clears your head and takes you away to a warm, tropical place! Maybe I’ll give your curry a go next time one strikes though.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That sounds great, Louisa. Do you have a recipe to share?

      • http://cuisinediplomatic.blogspot.com.au/ Louisa

        Actually yes, there’s one on my blog, though the recipe originally comes from the Australian magazine Vogue Entertaining. Here’s the link to my version. Enjoy.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Great, thanks!

  • http://swans-place.blogspot.com/ swan

    Clotilde, I’m sure the curry is lovely and all, but YOUR SON! Little Milan, how adorable is he!!!

    ;-)

  • Lynn

    I feel so dumb that I thought all curries had curry in them!

  • Shantel

    My favorite drink when I have a cold (and for stressful winter days of all kinds) is broth of ginger root steeped in boiling water for 15 minutes, sweetened with honey. I’m contemplating a savory dish using the ginger with a good stock, scallions, mushrooms, greens, etc…

  • Roseanne

    Hello Clotilde,

    Yes, those little ones certainly contract the nastiest viruses. This year I felt symptoms of the flu (chills, watery eyes and mouth) coming on and like Richelle mentioned in her comment, I doused myself with Vitamin C (5,000 mg per day) for a week. By doing this I successfully erradicated the nasty virus from taking over my body.

    As far as a food related remedy for colds and flus, I’m a firm believer in the powers of chicken soup (homemade stock of course) infused with herbs (I use Herbs de Provence) and spices (for this I use a Moroccan spice blend). There is something in capsicum that warms you inside and makes you sweat out the germs that have invaded your system.

    All the best to you and your family.

  • http://soupedupgarden.blogspot.fr/ Michelle Beissel

    Vitamin A rich foods like carrots work because Vitamin A maintains the health of mucous membranes–I steam carrot slices and then using a stick mixer, cream them with spices including a heap of crushed garlic and a bit of yogurt. The baby-food form is welcome as it is easy on sore throats. :-)

  • http://www.theteachercooks.com The Teacher Cooks

    It has got to be chicken soup, but this curry looks delicious. Best of all no trip to the grocery!

  • http://www.sunshineandsmile.com Kankana

    Lovely meal! I like spicy food when I have cold. Tom Yum soup is almost always my first choice :)

  • http://cowenparkkitchen.com Fawn at Cowen Park Kitchen

    I have a soft spot for homemade applesauce when I’m sick, as my mother would always give that to me as a child (comfort food). If that won’t help, a thick veggie soup is superb, like this one I made a while back.

    Hits the spot.

  • Madonna

    I make large batches of chicken soup and keep individual cartons in the freezer. That’s my husband’s favorite food remedy. When I have a cold and need something warm and comforting, I send him to a nearby Chinese restaurant for a carton of hot and sour soup.

    The vegetable curry recipe looks very good. We’ve started doing meatless Mondays at our house, and I know what we’ll be having for dinner next Monday.

  • mamagotcha

    My go-to comfort food when ill has become Tom Yum Gai, or Thai chicken-coconut soup. Lots of chicken broth and meat, rich coconut milk, plenty of veggies, hot spices like chilies and garlic and ginger, bright flavors like lime and lemongrass and cilantro, just a touch of sweetness… if I feel sniffles coming, I brew up a giant pot of this and sip on it for the next few days.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That sounds fantastic!

  • http://peachtopie.blogspot.com Alicia

    I totally agree that curry is the best cure! I too have a cold and the thought of having something hot and spicy sounds so appealing. Plus, you can actually taste it, which is more than can be said for most other food when you’re sick. :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Excellent point!

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/thesweetbeekeeper christiana

    I love curries and this sounds delicious!!
    My winter cold remedy is a drink which includes hot water, a tsp of raw honey, 2 or 3 cloves, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a little grated ginger and another small pinch of black pepper..it certainly does the trick!!

  • Katie

    I made this tonight and found it quite bland. Maybe I didn’t add enough ginger, but it was a good 1″ knob.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Sorry it didn’t turn out to your taste, Katie. What mix of vegetables did you use?

  • Kristin

    I have a a few winter cold remedies, and they involve copious amounts of ginger or hot chile, or both! A large pot of ginger tea (to which I often add a stick or two of cinnamon for both the natural sweetness it imparts and for its antibacterial properties) is immediately brewed at the first sign of sickness. It soothes a sore throat better than anything I know.

    I also love to make the Dong Chicken Hot Pot from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s book “Beyond the Great Wall.” It’s loaded with vegetables, fresh ginger and as much chile as you can stand. I make it even when I’m feeling perfectly healthy because it is so delicious and…revitalizing.

    I’ve also developed a deep appreciation for many Korean soups and stews. One of the best when you’re feeling less than your best is Kimchee Chigae–a thick soup usually made with ‘older’ kimchee, tofu, and whatever bits of vegetable and meat you might have on hand. It’s always what I want after a long, tiring trip. It’s very simple and quick to make too, which is nice when you don’t feel well. It feels light yet substantial at the same time.

    Milan is beautiful. Really beautiful. Thank you for sharing the photo.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Wonderful recommendations, thank you!

  • http://Www.eatwellathome.blogspot.com Jennifer

    This sounds divine! I want to pair it with the yummy sounding chic pea crepes you blogged about earlier.

  • http://revessurpapier.wordpress.com Rachel

    Your timing couldn’t have been better – I’m not ill, but London has just been plunged back into the depths of winter and this was exactly what I wanted! I made it this evening (carrots, parsnips, turnips, sweet potato and broccoli) and wanted a tiny bit more heat, so I added a pinch of cayenne with the rest of the spices: perfect.

    I also tend to gravitate to soups (or soupy dishes) with lots of ginger and/or chili in them when I’m under the weather – tom yum is a favourite, as is Vietnamese rice curry. And ginger tea, of course!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m so pleased you tried it, Rachel! Your mix of vegetables sounds perfect.

  • http://chickadeesays.blogspot.com Kait @ ChickadeeSays

    Oh my goodness this sounds so good! I’ve pinned this- it is a must try!!

    xx Kait

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Do let me know if you do!

  • Jules

    Alas, I can’t have any coconut products. Could I substitute broth?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m sure you could. It won’t be the same dish, but it should be good and comforting too. If it lacks creaminess (that’s one of the qualities the coconut milk provides) you can always thicken it with a little corn or potato starch.

  • Jenny Rae Rappaport

    Oh, I’m so excited to see this recipe!

    I don’t like cumin, and I think I’m genetically built to not like chiles because I can’t stand them, even in topical analgesic creams.

    My poor husband has long gotten accustomed to cooking which involves neither, although he does like Indian food. But now I have a curry that I can make him, which involves neither! Woo-hoo! I had no idea such a thing existed. =)

  • JC

    I wasn’t sure how it would turn out since we’ve always used tomato in some form in all our curries, but was very pleasantly surprised. We must have used at least two kilos of vegetables, including green string beans and yams, plus garam masala, turmeric, garlic, coriander, cardamom, and half a block of tofu. And we have lots of leftovers! My finicky poodle also gave his seal of approval. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m happy to hear it, your version sounds delicious!

  • http://missloublog.com/ Miss Lou

    Mon dieu maintenant j’ai faime! This just made me hungry. Thanks for sharing your friend’s post, very informative, as a vegan knowing local Paris places for vegetarian places (of ten with vegan options) is great as I’ll be flying there soon.

    Anyhow that curry looks delicious and sound like it can wake the dead (or in this case the sick).

  • James

    This lovely post in this blog I just found…and the recipe and the pictures make my mouth already watering…event tough it is not winter anymore I will try it tonight if I have time to go grocery shopping tonight. I assume it tastes as good as it looks because the Curry dishes have never disappointed me so far. If you have a recipe like this but the only thing that keeps you from doing it is the foreign language it is in commission a professional translation agency for the translation so that you won’t miss out on a delicious dish.

  • Jana

    This did not turn out like I’d hoped. Mine did not look lovely like the photo. Mine was gray and looked like prison food. It also had zero flavor; despite following the recipe. I love the idea, but it didn’t work out for me :-(

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m really sorry to hear that, Jana. What mix of vegetables did you use?

  • Marry

    Oh Man was this good! I knew it would be because your recipes are always so great. I threw in some tofu at the end with the remaining coconut milk. I also made Apple Chutney from Closetcooking.com It didn’t even need the chutney but it was really good too. Thanks Clotilde.

  • kltranslations

    This vergetables receipe is very nice to and I will do this vegetable curry food items.

    KL Translations

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