There is no cuisine more alive to the delicious possibilities of vegetables than Indian. Because so many Hindus are vegetarians, they have found ways to prepare vegetables that are extraordinary. The selection used here is quite typical of those found in local markets in India. (In Agra there is a small market where all the vegetables are arranged according to color.) Honey mellows any harshness the spices may impart and makes this curry completely delicious.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 large leek, white part only, well rinsed and diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons best-quality curry powder
- 4 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 cauliflower, trimmed and broken into small florets
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 cups cut green beans (1½-inch lengths)
- 4 cups Vegetable Broth or Basic Chicken Broth
- 2 tablespoons clover honey
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick (3 inches long)
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, for garnish
1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook over very low heat until the flavors are blended, about 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until the curry aroma permeates the kitchen, another 2 minutes.
2. Add the carrots, potatoes, squash, cauliflower, fennel, and green beans. Stir in the broth, honey, cloves, and cinnamon stick, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Then add the chickpeas and simmer, stirring once or twice, to blend the flavors, another 10 minutes.
3. Shortly before serving, stir in the cilantro and remove the cinnamon stick and cloves. Sprinkle with the chopped mint and serve.