Like most families, we have a few favourite dinner recipes that run on repeat like old records in our home. Our spinach crepes are rotating at least a couple of times each month. So are variations of this beetroot salad, these quinoa patties and this carrot and red lentil soup. They are simple comforting recipes that everyone in our family loves and most importantly; recipes that we almost always have the ingredients for at home. I guess we could call them our family’s recipe staples. Another dish that has made it into our recipe staple list during the last year is this no-recipe curry. Not only have we been cooking it in our own kitchen, but also in kitchens in Melbourne, Sydney and on the tiny stow top kitchen in our campervan on New Zealand. A rather well-travelled dish and for a good reason. It is very simple to adapt to whatever you have at hand and therefore easily prepared, always tasty and comforting like a big, warm hug.
We start out with a base of onion, garlic, ginger (heaps!) and turmeric, then add whatever vegetables we have within reach, fill up with coconut milk and add some tofu. And right when it’s done cooking, we always add fresh spinach that we quickly let wilt down without loosing its sturdiness. The result is a sweet and creamy dish with lots of vegetables and a punch of ginger and garlic. It’s a very likeable dish and easy to adapt to whatever flavors you prefer. Chili would be a good addition if you like it spicy and are not cooking for kids. We always make huge batches of this so we have lunch or dinner sorted for another day. It keeps well in the fridge and the flavours will develop even further.
We call it no-recipe curry because we improvise it slightly every time we make it. We are however giving you a specific recipe for it today. Our hope is that you will try it, tweak it and make it into your own recipe staple. We would also love to hear about which recipes you always return to? Any favourites that you want us to try?
Sweet Potato, Ginger, Spinach & Tofu Curry
As I have mentioned above, there are plenty of ways to tweak this recipe. Feel free to add mustard seeds, ground coriander, curry leaves or chili with the other spices if you have it on hand. Replace any of the vegetables with whatever is in season – pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes or aubergine will all fit right in. A splash of yogurt is also nice on top if you are not vegan.
2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 large chunk (at least 2 inches / 5 cm) fresh ginger root
2 tsp ground turmeric or fresh, grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 large sweet potato (approx 500 g / 1 pound)
2 cans (800 ml) coconut milk (or half water if you want it lighter)
7 oz / 200 g tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch / 2,5 cm cubes
2 large handfuls fresh spinach
1/2 lime, juice
a large handful cashew nuts, pan roasted
2 cups cooked quinoa or rice
a sprinkle of nigella seeds (optional)
fresh coriander/cilantro (optional)
Add coconut oil to a large sauce pan on medium heat. Peel and finely chop onion, garlic and ginger and add to the pan together with turmeric and cumin. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the onion is soft. Meanwhile, peel and cut the sweet potato in 1 inch / 2,5 cm cubes. Add the sweet potato to the pan and let sauté for a few minutes. Stir around every now and then to make sure nothing is burnt. You can add a splash of water or more oil if the spices stick to the bottom of the pan. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets and add to the pan together with the coconut milk and tofu. Cook until the sweet potato cubes are soft and tender (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat, add spinach and a squeeze of lime and stir around. Taste and add more salt and spices if needed.
Serve in bowls with cooked quinoa, cashew nuts, nigella seeds and some fresh coriander.