• Eggplant and pumpkin green curry (Sharyn cairns)Source: Sharyn cairns
Proof that you can enjoy a full-flavoured, spice-laden curry that satisfies even the deepest of curry cravings, minus the meat.
8 Mar 2018 - 11:53 AM  UPDATED 8 May 2019 - 1:57 PM

1. Radish and chickpea curry (mulangi kadalai kozhambu)

The radish in this curry is daikon, Japanese radish. It's - one of it's - attributes is the ability to absorb the flavour of the liquid it's cooked in, at the same time becoming soft, sweet and refreshing. Another attribute - it has pretty much zero calories. 

2. Creamy red lentil and coconut dahl

Creamy but zesty, and hearty without being stodgy. 

Creamy red lentil and coconut dahl

3. Caldin mushroom curry (cogumelo kari)

A heavenly flavour trio of earthy mushrooms, tangy tamarind and milky coconut. 

4. Eggplant and pumpkin green curry

You may have a reliable bottle of ready-made green curry paste, but there's nothing like the vivacity of a freshly made green curry. You'll just need a mortar and pestle or processor to wizz up your spice concoction. 

5. Butternut pumpkin, peanut and mustard curry

This Sri Lankan curry is pure sunshine. The key to mastering not just this dish, but all pumpkin curries, is to not let the pumpkin reach mush point - you want it soft, but with some body, so that you can bite into it and release the all the fragrant flavours it's been infused with. 

6. Cauliflower and potato curry

Consider this quick and flavour-packed curry your weeknight best friend. It uses spices you most likely have on hand (turmeric, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic), and can be cooked in under 30 minutes. Serve it with rice, pappadums, raita and pickle for an expanded curry feast. 

This organisation has been prepping potato curries and other meals to feed the local population.

7. Sri Lankan green mango curry

Unripe mangoes are used commonly in Southeast Asian cooking, and work particularly well as a feature ingredient in curries, with firm flesh, and nutty and sour qualities that vary in strength depending on the mango variety. This version is served with a tangy Sri Lankan mustard, which won't take you long to make, and will mean you’ll have plenty left over to keep in the fridge and add excitement to other meals (eg. boiled eggs on toast for breakfast). 

8. Red lentil curry

This curry has a real ratio for success: a short ingredient list and brief cooking time, but maximum flavour. Garnish it with some coriander, and serve it with your favourite chutney or pickle - or just a dollop of natural yoghurt. 

9. Cashew nut curry

Cooking this curry is sheer aromatic bliss, and gives you an indication of the taste sensation that awaits: it starts out with curry leaves, chilli, onion and pandan leaf sizzled in oil, and finishes with coconut cream and roasted curry powder. The cashews are soaked first for an hour, to make them plump and meaty. All in all, a real dazzler of a dish. 

10. Aloo chana chaat

"Chaat" are snacks in Indian cuisine, but this dish could easily qualify as a light meal or a substantial side. It offers plenty of textural fun, with crunchy chickpea noodles (available from Indian and some Asian grocery stores), soft chickpeas, crisp potatoes, and little pops of black mustard seeds.

11. Chilli paneer

You have options available on the paneer front for this recipe: buy it from an Indian grocer, make it using a mixture of milk, yoghurt and lemon juice (try this recipe - you won't need to worry about preparing the marinade), or substitute it with haloumi, ricotta salata, or tofu (which would make this dish vegan-friendly). Either way you go, you'll be glad you did. 

12. Yellow dhal with peas (arhar dhal matar)

Stop by your local Indian grocer and pick up some yellow lentils (toor dhal) and Kashmiri chilli powder to create this one-pot wonder. 

13. Palak paneer

DIY this eternal Indian curry shop favourite. Fried paneer cheese cooked in a smooth and vibrant sauce of pureed greens. 

14. Rajasthani chickpea dumpling curry

Rather than purely just vegetables, this is a curry of chickpea dumplings, called "gatta". They're made by mixing up a dough of chickpea flou, yoghurt and spices, rolling the dough into little ropes, cooking these in boiling water, then slicing them into coin shapes. This treasure bounty of coins is then cooked in a lively tomato-yoghurt sauce.

15. Matthew Evans' saag paneer

This is mild saag paneer is a great way to use up greens, whether they're beetroot tops, silverbeet leaves, spinach or kale. 

Curried vege ideas
Spinach pakoras with tamarind and mint chutneys

My mum taught me this pakora recipe. The chickpea dough is quite dry, not like a batter at all, so when they are fried, they get extra crisp on the outside, while still being nice and soft in the centre. I've added coconut milk to make the flavours pop.

Chickpea flatbread

Many of my Asian patients with blood sugar problems tell me that they struggle to replace flatbreads or chapattis in their diet. Unfortunately, most shop-bought flatbreads these days are made of highly refined wheat flour, whereas in India they are traditionally made with wholemeal chickpea flour, which is relatively lower in carbohydrate and high in protein and fibre. It is also gluten-free. 

Potato and cauliflower masala dosa

Dosa, or Thosai, originated in South India. It is traditionally a breakfast dish of a fermented crepe with a spiced potato filling. This full-flavoured, low-fat and high-fibre option includes dried spices for a healthy meal.

Indian spiced lentils with roast pumpkin and yoghurt

Canned lentils are a great, mid-week time saver and this quick cook dhal can be pulled together from mostly pantry staples in less time than it takes for delivery to arrive.

Red onion bhajis with minted raita

Bring a little bit of Bollywood into your kitchen with these exotic vegetarian morsels. Bhajis are the Indian version of vegetable fritters, and are perfect as a colourful entrée or canapé at your next backyard soiree.