My good friend’s mom is South African and I was recently chatting with her about spices. She was sharing the most glorious stories of her childhood in South Africa – the spice markets and the curries! Then she mentioned the Durban curry that uses many spices I am familiar with but in unique combinations and I knew I had to make it for you.
Most Durban curries are chicken or lamb based but in honor of our Whole Food Plant Based challenge, I made it with mixed veggies and black eyed peas for plant-based protein. It was a giant hit with my kids and the hubby (who has been 80% plant-based this month whoooop). My son Ilhan even said, “This dish is outstanding mummy”. 🙂
2 tablespoons high heat stable neutral oil like avocado oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 sprig curry leaves (or 4-6 dried curry leaves) (leave out if you don’t have them)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 onion, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped or grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (I make my own or use the Frontier Coop brand available at Whole Foods and Amazon)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne for heat (optional, I skipped it for the kids)
Salt and pepper
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 Japanese sweet potato, peeled (or peel on), chopped
A handful of green beans, roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped eggplant
1/2 zucchini, roughly chopped
Any other veggies you’d like to use, roughly chopped 🙂
1/2 cup cooked black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2 cups pureed or crushed tomatoes
Cilantro to garnish
Heat the oil on medium high until it shimmers. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for about 45 seconds. Don’t let them burn!
Add the curry leaves and the turmeric and saute for 30 seconds. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook until the onion is softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the spices, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Add the vegetables and coat well with the spice mixture. Add the beans and the tomatoes, mix well and sautee every now and then for 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let the curry cook for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are softened to your liking. You want them to hold their shape and not be mushy but cooked through.
Adjust the salt to taste. Garnish with cilantro and serve over wild rice, quinoa or with your favorite flatbread. You can also enjoy it as is like you would a stew.