Comfort Cooking: Cook vegetable curry with ease

Change the combination of vegetables depending on what you can get. ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

SINGAPORE - I stumbled upon Sedap Vegetarian Curry Mix when looking for vegetarian pastes at a provision shop. It is so tasty, I forgo making my own from scratch.

It is neither too salty nor too spicy, with plenty of aroma and flavour from lemongrass, galangal and a touch of tamarind. The best part is that it is free of monosodium glutamate.

I had tried a vegetarian curry paste from Penang, but it pales in comparison to the Sedap one made in Malacca. This underrated brand of curry mix is owned by local company Dobe Foods, which supplies ingredients such as pepper, belacan and gula melaka to food manufacturers.

Sadly, this curry mix is not easily found online. It is available at some provision shops and selected outlets of U Stars Supermarket. I paid $2.50 for a 150g packet.

I tried cooking it meat-free and enjoyed the resulting curry.

It is such a versatile paste, it works well for non-vegetarian curries too. I made my curry with dried prawns and the result was even punchier and tastier.

When cooking vegetable curry, I usually double the portion of curry paste to accommodate a wider variety of vegetables for colour, taste and texture. I find it more practical and worth my while as I can have it over two meals.

If you are keeping the curry overnight, the gravy thickens, especially if you add mung bean vermicelli which tends to soak up moisture. This is an easy problem to solve. Simply add a little more water and season the curry with a little more salt or light soya sauce.

I add turmeric leaf as I grow it at home. It is not easily available, so feel free to omit it.

Change the combination of vegetables depending on what you can get. For a bare-bones version, cabbage and carrot will suffice. Other vegetables that can be used include French beans, okra, potato or jicama.


Vegetable curry

Ingredients

ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

35g dried prawns, soaked and rinsed

2 packets of vegetable curry mix (300g)

20g galangal (cut into three slices)

400ml coconut milk

250ml water

8 Thai lime leaves (6g)

3 pandan leaves

1 turmeric leaf (optional)

2 stalks of lemongrass (70g, cut into 5cm lengths and bruised, optional)

1 tomato (100g), sectioned

400g cabbage, cut into 7cm by 7cm pieces

220g cauliflower, cut into florets

200g carrot, halve it laterally then slice diagonally into 0.5cm thick pieces

100g long bean, cut into 5cm lengths

2 small brinjals (160g), roll-cut

60g tau kee (unfried dried beancurd skin), cut into 6cm pieces

58g tau pok (beancurd puff)

60g tang hoon (dried mung bean vermicelli)

½ tsp salt (optional)


Method

ST PHOTO: HEDY KHOO

1. Heat a non-stick pot or wok over medium heat.

2. Add dried prawns and fry for one minute.

3. Add the curry paste and fry until it simmers.

4. Add the galangal, coconut milk and water. Let the mixture come to a simmer and add the lime leaves, pandan leaves, turmeric leaf, lemongrass and tomato. Let the mixture come to a simmer.

5. Add the cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, long bean and brinjal. Let the mixture come to a simmer.

6. Add the tau kee, tau pok and tang hoon.

7. Season with salt if needed.

8. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

9. Serve hot.

Serves six

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