Kootu Curry


Wintertime dinners can be both hearty and healthy.


Our end-of-the-week recipe is a traditional curry from Kerala, the gorgeous southwestern strip of India, where the spice-laden land meets the Arabian Sea. The recipe was created by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of The Ultimate Potato Book.

All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store. 

Makes 6 servings

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsweetened coconut (see note at end of recipe)
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 pound plus 2 ounces red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (3 cups)
2¼ cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2¼ cups peeled, diced eggplant
1½ cups chopped green beans
3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons canola oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place 1/2 cup coconut, ginger, coriander, cumin, salt, dry mustard, cinnamon, pepper and cayenne in spice grinder or mini food processor; grind or process until about the consistency of coarse sand.

Stir potatoes and broth with spice mixture in large saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer slowly 10 minutes.

Add eggplant, green beans and chickpeas. Cover and continue simmering slowly until vegetables are quite tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast remaining 6 tablespoons coconut in dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned. Pour into bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in same skillet now set over medium-low heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, soft and very sweet, about 12 minutes.

Stir lemon juice into stew. Serve stew in bowls, topped with toasted coconut and frizzled shallots.

Note: Unsweetened coconut, sometimes called “desiccated coconut,” is simply dried, shaved coconut flakes. It’s found in gourmet markets, East Indian markets, and natural and organic food stores. Do not substitute sweetened coconut, found in the baking aisles of most supermarkets.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the United States Potato Board

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