Inspired by Vietnam’s ca ri ga (chicken curry), this vegetarian version is moderately spicy with just a hint of sweetness. If time is tight, or you don’t feel like whizzing together the paste, you could try using a couple of tablespoons of Thai yellow curry paste instead. The flavour won't be the same, but it’s better than ordering take out.
- 1 lemongrass stalk, white part chopped, green part bruised
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2 long red chillies, sliced, plus extra to serve
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded, plus extra to serve (optional)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp mild curry powder, such as madras
- 300 g potatoes, cut into 2 cm pieces
- 250 g carrots, cut into 1.5 cm pieces
- 325 ml (1½ cups) vegetable stock or water
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- ¼ cup peanuts, roasted
- 150 g green beans, trimmed
- steamed rice, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Roughly chop the white part of the lemongrass and place in a small food processor with the onion, chillies, garlic, lime leaves and half a tomato. Process until finely chopped, scraping down the bowl a few times. Alternatively pound in a mortar and pestle until smooth.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the paste and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until fragrant. Add the remaining tomato and curry powder and cook for 2 minutes until the tomato softens and begins to break down. Add the potato, carrot, stock, fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of peanuts. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer steadily, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the green beans, stir to combine and continue to cook, covered, for a further 7–8 minutes until the carrots and green beans are tender.
Divide curry between bowls and top with the extra chilli, lime leaves and roasted peanuts. Serve with steamed rice.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachel Lane. Creative concept by Lou Fay.