All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians

connoisseur veggie curry for dumbos

While preparing liver - a bloody task, at the best of times - and onions on board our yacht my then girlfriend Sue upped and declared that she would much prefer to be vegetarian, and had in fact been so for many years while an undergraduate at Oxford.

Ever the one for peace and contentment all round, I suggested that we should both turn veggie after the liver and onions was finished (a combination of Cornish, Irish and Scottish genes making the idea of there and then chucking said liver overboard impossible) the only caveat being that there should be plenty of spuds involved (genes again, clearly).

One of the first recipes we developed was this one.

Ingredients for six or eight good sized helpings:

ghee, vegetable ghee or sunflower oil. Vegetable oil is too greasy.
garlic - at least two cloves, crushed
onions - two or three good sized onions chopped small. Do not use any in poor condition as they badly affect the flavour.
carrots - two or three medium sized, cut in sticks about 20mm
capsicums - one red and one green, a third one optional. Chop moderately small. The seeds and white pith contain valuable stuff - chop pith finely.
potatoes - optional - a couple of medium spuds, cubed about 10mm
mushrooms - a double handful, chopped small
root ginger - a bit almost as big as your little finger, sliced thinly
stick cinnamon - optional. One stick broken in about 25mm lengths
runner beans and/or french beans - optional. A few, sliced
ground cumin - one teaspoon
ground coriander - at least one dessertspoonful
turmeric - a couple of teaspoonfuls
cayenne - to taste. One level teaspoon or a bit less gives a mild curry.
fresh chillies - may be used instead of cayenne, but are very variable in size and strength, so you will have to wing it
mango chutney - one dessertspoonful
lime pickle - one dessertspoonful
salt to taste
red kidney beans - one 400ml tin (all tinned stuff can be cheaper 'own brand' or 'basics')
butter beans - one 400ml tin
chick peas - (optional) one 400ml tin
baked beans - (optional) one 400ml tin
lentils - optional. a handful or two.
tomatoes, chopped - one 400ml tin
passata - one 400ml tin, box or jar
a couple of nice seedless oranges, peeled and divided into segments


Warm ghee or oil in a large pot and add onions, chopped small, and crushed garlic. Fry on gentle heat for a few minutes until transparent. Do not brown or flavour and nutritional and medicinal properties of alliums will be reduced or destroyed.

Remove from heat and add cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne and root ginger. Stir to spread flavours and colours around. Leave for a few minutes - have a drink and read through recipe.

Now add the rest of the prepared vegetables and gently stir together. The potatoes, being white, give a good indication of when all is well mixed.

Return to gentle heat and add mango chutney, lime pickle, chopped tomatoes and half the passata. Check recipe again. Nothing forgotten? then carry on..

Turn up the heat, stir occasionally and as soon as it boils, cover. Stir lentils, if used, into top inch of mixture. Simmer on lowest heat for about forty minutes or until carrots nicely tender. Lentils increase the possibility of the curry 'catching' the bottom of the pan, so if used beware of too high a heat and keep checking with a wooden spoon.

Add tinned pulses, check for consistency. Moisture content of vegetables is variable, so this has to be borne in mind. Add more passata if too thick. Bring back to boil, then straightaway cover and simmer for ten minutes or so. Do final check for salt level and adjust to taste.

The curry can be served as soon as it is judged to be nicely cooked, or it can be allowed to cool and carefully heated up later (allow about half an hour, go gently with the heat and stir from time to time). This is makes it an extremely useful dish for a party.

A minute or two before taking off heat add orange segments. Particularly good with a hot curry (if the going gets a bit furious) biting into an orange segment floods your mouth with hot orange juice and cools and cleans the palate.

Serving suggestions

Poppadums and dips are good while waiting. Decent crisps are also good with dips. Home made dips are cheap and good and can be tuned up to individual preference (recipes posted in due course). A little garlic bread never goes amiss. Bombay mix and so on keeps the teeth from being bored while awaiting the main course.

Rice or nan bread are traditional. We prefer long grained brown rice as being easy, reliable and good nutrition. Allow about 400 grms before cooking per person with a good appetite. Throw into boiling water, bring to boil then simmer for 25 minutes or so.

Yoghourt can be added at the table if liked with curry.

If the curry is eaten over two or three days (for idle or busy curry lovers!) we sometimes have it with mash on the second day and add water and whizz it with the Kenwood for an amazing soup (usually needs a bit more salt) on the third...

What to drink? While wine is overpowered by a hot curry, milder curries give more options. A good slurp of dry sherry before anything else gets the digestion in the right mood. White wine with the dips and robust, modestly priced reds with the curry itself are our choice. In summer, or with a hot curry, a nice cider goes well, or a beer such as Skinner's Betty Stogs. I have a brother in law who likes Guinness with curry...


Well-Known Member
Skabertawe, South Wales
One of the best drinks for a curry is a strong pale ale, such as those produced by Marstons (Strong Pale Ale, Old Empire, Pedigree).
Interesting recipe. One of the challenges for me about vegetable curry is making sure it is not too stodgy.

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Ilkley West Yorkshire
One of the best drinks for a curry is a strong pale ale, such as those produced by Marstons (Strong Pale Ale, Old Empire, Pedigree).
Interesting recipe. One of the challenges for me about vegetable curry is making sure it is not too stodgy.

I tend to stagger the veg hard ones like tatties and carrots first, butternut squash next and softies like courgette and pepper for
only three or four minutes last. Nothing woese than a stodgy veg curry.

It's often best to stick to two or three vegies as it is easier to balance all the flavours and textures.

Pale Ale is my curry drink too, and there's so many good one's out there. Try to find Saltaire Blonde it's a beaut.


Well-Known Member
Costa Blanca Spain
With all those ingredients you could easy slip a couple of chops in and she wouldnt know the difference. Same as her though, veggieism is creeping upon me as I get older. For the last three xmass its been festive nut roast (I wrap it in pastry like a chunk of fillet) and less and less do I eat animals. In some ways sadly, though I only miss the memories, or lack of them, I dont really drink now either. Not even beer. No offence but there´s a lot going on in that curry, I will try to pare it back a bit and have a go. A veggie curry is smashing grub, with a nice mug of cold milk and a settlers chaser.


Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
Yes, IPA (India Pale Ale) was developed in the days of the Raj to be an ale stable enough to be transported to India and still be drinkable when it got there - so a very appropriate beer to go with a curry.

The one I favour is Betty Stoggs - Skinners, a Cornish brewery. Imagine the well known Old Speckled Hen but even nicer, in my view.

You can fool meat eaters with this curry - at least for a while; we have had guests suddenly say "Hey, just realised there's no meat in this - nice though!" I think that it's the red kidney beans and the mushrooms which give it 'meatiness'.

The mushrooms produce quite a bit of juice - so if you want to cut back on them you will need to make sure it doesn't get too thick. You may well need to add more passata or water.

I tried sweet potato some time ago - had some lying around - can't remember how it was, probably OK.

I'd be interested in variations/simplifications of this recipe. I'd suggest trying 'as is', then chewing it over (!) and trying a modification next time around - which is how we developed this over hmmm...two and a half decades! The chick pea option only arrived in the last six months... you can do it as a korma, too.
Last edited by a moderator:

Members online

Popular Discussions

Top Bottom