Recipe of the Week: Coconut Curried Vegetables

Vikram Vij is the chef of Vij's, one of the star restaurants in Vancouver. In the Globe and Mail this week, Mr. Vij extols the virtues of shopping at your local farmer's market and then going home and cooking the family dinner together. I happen to agree. For a number of years my teenage son and I cooked dinner together every night. It was wonderful to talk about our day while we chopped and stirred and listened to music. But for most working people this is just not practical during the week. So the recipe that Mr. Vij has provided is pretty simple using ingredients you can get anywhere. Well, almost. I am at the cottage and the general store doesn't have curry leaves so I substituted curry powder and it was still delicious. The recipe looks long, but half of the ingredients are spices, so don't let that put you off. My husband thought this was a bit wintry for August. I don't know if that was because he was thinking we usually grill vegetables or serve salads or that he associates cauliflower and eggplant with cooler weather. Our August evenings are beginning to cool off, so it seems just right to me.

Coconut Curried Vegetables1/2 cup canola oil
25 to 30 fresh curry leaves
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1 tbsp + 1 tsp chopped garlic
2 cups chopped tomatoes (2 large)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 12 ounce can coconut milk, stirred
1 lb eggplant, cubed
1 lb cauliflower, cut into small florets
3/4 lb red, green or yellow bell peppers, cubed
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1. In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Keeping your head at a distance from the pot, add the curry leaves and mustard seeds and allow them to sizzle for about one minute or until a few seeds pop.
2. Immediately add onions and saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes
3. Add tomatoes and remaining spices and saute for 8 minutes or until oil glistens on top.
4. Stir in coconut milk an d bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Add eggplant. Cover and simmer to five minutes. Add cauliflower and bell peppers, cover and simmer for another five minutes. Stir in cilantro

Serve over basmati rice.

Serves 6-8

This recipe is from Chef Vikram Vij, published in the ::Globe and Mail picture: Vikram Vij scours Vancouver's Granville Island Public Market. John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

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