I have found this deceptively simple, vegan curry recipe to be just as delicious as one made with a masala. The individual flavors (garlic, ginger, cloves, cardamom) stand out more instead of getting lost in a cacophony of spices.
• 6 cloves
• 8 cardamom pods
• 1 tbsp Kashmiri chile powder, OR Korean chile powder OR whatever you have (optional)
• 1 head garlic, peeled and ground to a paste, or finely chopped (Tip: shake cloves in a jar for 2 minutes or until skins loosen)
• 2.5 inches of ginger root, ground to a paste or chopped finely
• ½ red or yellow onion, sliced thinly into half moons
• 1 can (13.5 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
• ¼ cup salty vegetable stock, OR 1 tbsp miso paste diluted with ¼ cup water
• 1 tbsp lime juice, or 3 tbsp tomato sauce/chopped tomatoes
• neutral oil, such as grapeseed or vegetable.
VEGETABLE / MEAT OPTIONS
• 3 large carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces OR
• 3 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces OR
• 1.5 lbs Chicken (white or dark meat, preferably with skin) cut into bite sized pieces
Note: you can also do a mix of the above, or even add ½ cup frozen peas to the carrots and/or potatoes (which I like to do).
Dry roast cardamom and cloves in a large sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant and popping. Be careful not to brown them! Add enough oil cover the pan to 1cm, turn heat to medium-high, then add the garlic and ginger, frying for two minutes. Add the onions, and fry for one minute more with a good pinch of salt. Then add the vegetable/meat of your choice (if using frozen peas, add them after the coconut milk). Fry for another two minutes, then pour in the coconut milk and stock/miso and add the chile powder. Allow the sauce to simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add lime juice or tomatoes, then simmer for about 12 minutes or until sauce has thickened, checking meat and/or vegetables for doneness. Adjust salt to taste, and serve with freshly cooked rice.