My last post really put me in the mood for some more vegan cooking, so I googled Isa Chandra Moskowitz, remembering that she has a cooking website somewhere. I was also hoping to find some of her top recipes. I had a slight facepalm moment because Post Punk Kitchen was already bookmarked in my browser…that’s right, my writer friend from Chicago, Amanda Tague, had told me about it a good three or so years ago.
I decided to make Cashew Vegetable Korma for my dad’s birthday. He’s a fan of chicken korma, and the rest of the family was planning on eating meatloaf and mashed potatoes. While I realize Indian food and meatloaf don’t exactly go hand in hand, I didn’t want to be stuck eating nothing but mashed potatoes for dinner.
I halved Moskowitz’s original recipe, which serves 16+ and still have more leftovers than I know what to do with.
I found everything but the garam masala at a local grocery store. According to Moskowitz, the tamarind can be bought at Whole Foods or an Indian market. I had no luck at Sprout’s, so I opted to use a lime instead.
You can tone down the heat of this recipe by adding coconut milk and stewed tomatoes. I’m the only person who likes spicy food in my family, so I used a whole can of coconut milk. If you’re going for a medium/hot curry, use half a can.
For the cream:
1 cup raw cashew pieces (plus water for soaking)
2 cup vegetable broth
Veggies to boil:
1.75 pounds yukon gold potatoes (large chunks)
1 lb cauliflower in large florettes (don’t cut them too small, or they will fall apart)
1 lb carrots
1 medium yellow onion
1 inch nub of ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1.5 tsp peanut oil
.5 T coriander
1 tsp red pepper flakes
.5 T curry powder
1 tsp garam masala
Fresh black pepper
1 tsp salt
Lime or .5 T tamarind concentrate
1 T tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth
1 can coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas
1 large caramelized onion
1. Submerge the cashews in water and soak for at least an hour. The softer they are for your puree, the better. Set aside.
2. Slice the potatoes, cauliflower and carrots. Moskowitz suggests cutting the potatoes in 1.5 inch pieces and 1/2 inch carrot chunks. Upon completion, I thought the carrot pieces were way too big.
4. Place the veggies in a large pot, she says 8 quarts is ideal. Cover them with cold water.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes. Potatoes should be fork tender. Don’t be alarmed if the cauliflower looks a little brown. Drain and set aside.
In the meantime…
5. Puree the onion, ginger and garlic in a food processor. It shouldn’t be completely smooth, some texture is good.
No need to wash the processor bowl yet, you’re going to puree the cashews in a bit.
6. Cook the puree in 1.5 tsp peanut oil with a sprinkle of salt for about 15-20 minutes until it’s nice and browned. It will start to clump together and spit at you a little.
7. And now, the big test and most difficult part of this recipe: the cashew puree. Drain them and place them in the food processor along with two cups vegetable broth. Puree until smooth. This can take up to five minutes to get it as smooth as possible.
I really hope your food processor is larger than mine, because this was a bit of a juggling act. I don’t have any pictures of this because most of my time was spent running back and forth, trying to get an even mix and clean up the mess.
8. I didn’t time this out like Moskowitz. Don’t get too close to your dish or else you’ll start coughing since you’re using all those spices. My puree was really starting to dry out, so I wanted to hurry up and get to the vegetable broth/cashew cream step stat.
Once the puree is browned (or you’re sufficiently frustrated with your cashews), add the coriander seed, red pepper flakes and saute for about three minutes.
9. Add curry powder, garam masala, several dashes fresh black pepper and salt, and saute for another minute.
10. Add tamarind/lime (I squeezed the entire thing), tomato paste and vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.
11. Now add the cashew cream and your desired amount of coconut milk.
Remember, the amount of coconut milk dictates how spicy your dish will be. If you want spicy korma, feel free to go easy on the coconut milk and add some more red pepper flakes.
Let cook uncovered for about 15 minutes.
That’s starting to look like curry, all right.
12. While the sauce is cooking, saute the red onion in a separate pan in a little peanut oil with a pinch of salt for about 15 minutes until it is browned and slightly caramelized. This adds a really nice sweetness and some texture to the finished dish.
13. Add the peas to the sauce. Fold in the boiled veggies, put the lid on the pot and let it heat through. Taste for salt and seasoning and serve garnished with cilantro if you’d like.
That’s it! Goes great with naan and/or basmati rice.
Isa Moskowitz is an inspiration. The next time I go to the bookstore, I plan on looking for some of her cookbooks so I can check out some more of her recipes. The korma turned out really well, although it took about an hour to make.
I would have no problem going vegan if I could eat delicious food like this all the time. Who knows, some day it may happen.