As soon as cold weather hits I start to crave curries, pho, soup and stews. However, many autumn and winter soups and stews are associated with meat. For something different, Anna and I try to replicate our favorite seasonal dishes with only vegetables instead of the more traditional beef, chicken, pork, or lamb.
Rojan Josh is a milder curry (sometimes it is referred to as Kashmiri curry paste) traditionally made with lamb, and it has a flavor base of traditional curry spices – cloves, bay leaves, cardamom and cinnamon – along with tomatoes, garlic, and shallots. Making curry paste is admittedly and extra step, so do what we do and use a good curry paste at the market – we like Patak’s. For the vegetables, we use cauliflower, butternut squash, spinach, and chickpeas, but feel free to use whatever vegetables meet your tastes or look great.
A soup pot or dutch oven is a must for cooking this dish, and you cannot go wrong with basmati rice and naan on the side.
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 1 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper (I keep the seeds in, but its up to you - results in a spicier curry)
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 lb of spinach
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
- 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 white onions, thinly sliced
- ½ of a 10 ounce can of Patak's Rogan Josh (or more, to taste)
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Greek Yogurt, to taste
- Limes, to taste
- The first step in making the curry is to begin with making an aromatic paste. Using a knife, cut of the cilantro roots from the leaves and place into a small food processor (you could use a mortar and pestle, but if you have a food processor, use it). Add the ginger, garlic, and jalapeno pepper to the food processor, and finely chop all ingredients until you have a nice paste. Set aside.
- Heat a dutch oven to medium high heat. Add the olive oil and butter, and once the butter is foaming, add the onions. Cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until the onions start to get colored, adding a few pinches of kosher salt and pepper along the way. Add the cilantro/ginger/garlic paste to the onions, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Your room should smell great by now, so add the curry paste to the onion mixture and cook for a minute or so. Then add the butternut squash, cauliflower, garbanzo beans, and tomatoes, and stir so all the vegetables are coated in the rojan josh paste (add more curry paste if necessary). Using one of the 15 ounce cans, fill it up with cold water and add to the curry, or until the vegetables are covered. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer the curry for about 20-25 minutes, or until the squash and cauliflower are tender.
- Once the squash and cauliflower are tender, add the spinach leaves a few handfuls at a time, or until they are cooked down and incorporated within the curry. This is a great time to taste the curry - it will likely need more salt and pepper, so season, stir, and taste, and repeat until you hit your taste preferences.
- Once you've nailed the seasonings, chop up those cilantro leaves you set aside earlier very finely, and add about ½ - ⅔ of the leaves to the curry, stir it in and cook for about a minute or so. In a bowl, put in a nice helping of basmati rice and top with the vegetable curry. Personally, I like to top my curry off with a nice spoonful of plain greek yogurt and a generous squeeze of lime. Serve with naan that has been heated in the oven. An IPA is always a great choice to go with the curry.