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A dry potato, carrot and pea curry.

After the rich offerings of last week, here is a simple, economical vegetable curry using staple and seasonal ingredients.

This is my son’s absolute favourite vegetable curry. I could, in winter in particular, make it on a weekly basis and he would not tire of it.

But there’s another really lovely story that I fondly remember with regard to this curry. Back in the days when my son was a teenager and played hockey, we went to a hockey tournament organised in Birmingham. It was a freezing December day, where the sun did not feature at all. The sandwiches that I had prepared suddenly did not seem to be at all appealing.

By lunchtime we were chilled to the bone, when we saw a Sikh gentleman arrive with a large white van. At the back of his van he had an enormous pot, steaming with this vegetable curry. He had also been to the Gurdwara (Sikh temple) prior to his arrival, and together with the “sewadars” (a Punjabi word for a volunteer who offers his/her services to a Gurdwara), they had made chapattis. Out came a chapatti, lined in a napkin, and he placed some piping hot curry onto it. A Punjabi wrap, I thought!

Some of you may recall me writing about the time I was at risk of diabetes and how I changed that through diet and lifestyle. One of the easy steps I took to modify my diet was to decrease the amount of carbs in a recipe, hence the smaller amount of potatoes.

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Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Freezing – not suitable

Vegan – use alternative to butter

Gluten free – be sure to buy a suitable alternative to chapatti or naan

Ingredients

500g carrots – peeled and sliced into even sized pieces (approx 1cm cubes is ideal – we buy organic carrots, they are relatively inexpensive)

250g potato – peeled and cut into same-sized cubes as above (you can leave the peel on if you prefer, especially if using organic potatoes)

200g frozen peas

1 medium – large sized onion – cut into small pieces

2 inch ginger – finely chopped/minced

3 cloves of garlic – finely chopped/minced

1 green chilli or ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons rapeseed oil

1 level teaspoon salt

1 level teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon garam masala – to garnish

A large non-stick frying pan is ideal

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Method

1. Heat the oil into a frying pan on a medium – low heat, add the cumin seeds. You will see them sizzle, add the onions and salt. Continue to stir. Cover with a lid. Once the onions are a light golden colour, add the garlic, ginger, chilli/cayenne pepper and turmeric. Keep the heat on the low side so that the mixture does not burn. Fry for a further 2 – 3 minutes. If the mixture sticks to the pan, squirt a few drops of water and cover with the lid.

2. Then add the carrots. Stir and cover with the lid. Stir frequently. Again if the mixture sticks to the pan, just add a splash of water. Cook for approximately 5 minutes.

3. Add the diced potatoes and stir the mixture. Cover with the lid again. Continue to stir frequently to ensure it does not stick to the pan. Cook for approximately 15 minutes.

4. The mixture will be almost cooked, add the peas, mix well, and cover with the lid again. After about a further 7 – 8 minutes the mixture should be cooked. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Garnish by sprinkling the garam masala.

Serve with piping hot buttered chapatis/naan and plain yogurt.

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Variations

I sometimes also added a combination of frozen sweetcorn and peas.

You can also add a couple of heaped tablespoons of chopped fenugreek leaves when you add the peas. I buy fresh fenugreek in the summer, chop it and freeze it. Fresh fenugreek is available at some supermarkets or Indian stores, however, we would not recommend you but it for the use of this recipe only. Fenugreek is reputed to lower blood sugar levels.