Years ago, when I asked my friend Arthi for her favorite curry recipe, she gave me this sauce, which she adjusted to make what I call her “supermarket” version. That meant I could grab the ingredients at my local market without a special trip to her Indian grocery.
I love this sauce! It’s rich, but there’s no cream. It’s spicy, but not too hot. When it’s done cooking, you want to eat it with a spoon.
Arthi comes from Madras, in the south of India. Her original recipe contained chicken, but I use the sauce with all kinds of vegetables.
Since I adore potatoes in curry, I've used them in today's version, along with some broccoli for crunch and color. You can also switch up the vegetables I've used here with carrots, peas, cauliflower, or any other favorite.
The secret to the creamy sauce without the cream is almonds, which are ground in a food processor with canned tomatoes and ginger. After you mellow the spices in oil, stir the pureed mixture into the pan, add vegetable stock, and let everything simmer briefly.
Then add the vegetables (steam the potatoes first or they’ll soak up all your sauce!), and simmer again. Don’t throw away your broccoli stems; they’re a tender and deliciously crunchy addition to this curry.
I make a big pot of basmati rice while the gingery sauce is cooking and the kitchen smells divine from all the aromas. Sprinkle the curry with chopped roasted almonds and cilantro and you have bowls loaded with flavor and lots of texture.
Potato and Broccoli Curry
If you don't already have rice prepared, begin cooking a pot before you start making this recipe so that it's ready by the time you're ready to serve.
- 3 large (1 1/4 pounds, 670 g) Yukon Gold or other golden potatoes
- 3 big stalks broccoli with fist-sized crowns, or one larger melon-sized crown
- 1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 can (14 to 16 ounces, 400 to 453 g) diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cup roasted unsalted whole almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- 2 to 3 cups cooked rice, to serve
- Special equipment:
- Dutch oven, or other large, heavy pot with a lid
- Food processor or blender
Prepare the potatoes:
Without peeling, cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Steam the potatoes over boiling water in a vegetable steamer, tightly covered, for 10 minutes. When done, the potatoes should be firm, but tender and easily pierced with a fork. Drain.
Prepare the broccoli:
Cut the stems from the crown. Use a paring knife to peel the tough outer skin from the broccoli stems. Slice the stems into 1/4-inch pieces. Cut the crown into florets about 3-inches long.
Make the sauce:
In a food processor or blender, combine the ginger, garlic, tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the almonds (set aside the remaining 1/4 cup for garnish), and salt. Pulse the mixture until it is smooth.
Cook the spices:
In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot with a lid, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the chili powder, coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute until the spices are fragrant.
Simmer the sauce:
Add the pureed tomato mixture to the pot with the spices – stand back as it may splutter as you add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Cook the vegetables:
Add the potatoes and broccoli to the sauce and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer for 8 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender when pierced with a skewer.
Serve the curry:
Remove the cinnamon stick. Coarsely chop the remaining 1/4 cup almonds. Ladle the curry into bowls with rice and garnish with almonds and cilantro.