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This quick Indian vegetable masala is one of my mum’s favourite recipes – I’m so glad I can finally share it! At its core, it’s really just some simple veggies cooked gently with masala spices until perfectly tender. And, this vegan masala is best served, of course, with basmati rice and naan bread!
The best part about this curry recipe is how quick and easy it is: one pan, 15 minutes of cooking and you’re done! Plus, the main bulk of ingredients are ones you should already have – oil, onions, veggies, spices and, of course, a hint of salt.
These basic ingredients also keep things gluten-free, vegan and healthy. And really, what could possibly be better than a healthy curry? It’s also nut-free – a bonus for all of you with allergies!
What vegetables should I use in my masala curry?
We typically keep things simple for these masala veggies. You always need onion, tomatoes and spinach and really, that’s the bare minimum!
Of course, if you fancy making your masala curry even healthier, you could add diced bell peppers, grated carrots or even some finely diced parboiled potatoes!
(Note: if you add potatoes, you may want to increase your spice mix measurements slightly as they tend to suck up a lot of the spices and somehow still taste a little bland!).
Or, if you want a spicier vegetable curry, feel free to add in a finely diced, deseeded green chilli pepper. Personally, I wouldn’t use a red one. However, of course, it’s your curry so do what you want! After all, it’s you who gets to eat it!
Softened aubergine/eggplant could also be delicious as it has a tendency to suck up a lot of flavour. However, this may add to the cooking time as it takes quite a while to soften. Try slicing your aubergine into matchsticks or a very fine dice in order to minimise this.
Should I add any protein? What vegan proteins can I add?
Obviously, if you’re vegan then you’re probably fairly limited here.
A tin of chickpeas could work, although you’d likely only want a couple of tablespoons.
Or, try coating some tofu in cornstarch and frying it until crispy (like I did with halloumi here) and then adding to the vegetable curry with the spinach.
If you’re looking for vegetarian protein options, then paneer is perfect for curries. It’s a type of Indian cottage cheese that doesn’t melt when cooked. Try these baked tandoori paneer skewers if you’re looking for an authentic taste in an easy way!
If you do eat meat and would like to add some diced cooked meat to your (ex-vegan) curry at the end then that works too! I’d personally recommend shredded chicken or turkey. I’d try to avoid pork or beef as they may overpower the veggies in the masala curry.
What spices do I need to use in my vegetable curry?
The key spices are:
- ground turmeric
- ground cumin
- cayenne chilli pepper
- ground coriander
- garam masala
These are all used in equal quantities.
Garam masala is an Indian spice mix that usually consists of cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel, mace and dried chilli peppers. You can usually find it in supermarkets, but if you can’t then you can try making your own using whole, toasted spices – try this recipe!
Most of these spices are also used in my crispy Indian chickpeas recipe – which is absolutely delicious, so if you have any spices leftover and need a way to use them then give it a try!
What should I serve with my vegetable masala curry?
You have plenty of options – feel free to pick and choose depending on your diet and preferences.
- naan bread (I like to use the mini store-bought garlic and coriander ones, but you can also make your own)
- basmati rice. Or, try making your own takeaway-style pilau rice using this recipe!
- poppadoms! (my personal favourite)
- roti or chapati – soft wheat breads that are usually brushed with ghee. You can try making your own using this recipe.
- paratha – buy or make your own version of these soft, doughy flatbreads
- raita – a simple yogurt sauce that’s great with almost all Indian food! Try making your own using this recipe.
- mango chutney (you can even make a spicy version!) or lime chutney
What equipment do I need to make this simple vegan masala?
Really, as per usual with my recipes, you only need standard kitchen equipment, such as:
- a knife set for chopping your onion and tomatoes. I like these knife sets because they come with different sizes of knives, but so long as you have a chef’s knife they aren’t essential
- a cutting board for chopping your veggies! I like to use wooden ones, but you could also use these handy folding ones that make it easier to pour your chopped veg into the pan
- and speaking of pans, a regular nonstick frying pan does the job perfectly here! You can use a cast-iron skillet instead if you have one, but there isn’t much of a bonus.
- you’ll also need a silicone spoon for stirring your masala veggies as they cook.
UK Equipment Recommendations:
Simple Vegan Masala Curry
- 1 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 1/4 large white onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 2 large ripe tomatoes cut into wedges
- 80 grams baby spinach
- 1 pinch of salt or to taste
- Heat oil in a pan over low heat. Add onion and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally until softened.
- Add the spices (keeping the pan over very low heat) and allow them to cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Do not let them burn and keep stirring.
- Add tomato wedges and cook on medium-low heat until soft.
- Add the spinach and salt and gently stir it through, allowing it to wilt. Serve hot with naan bread and basmati rice.
- leftovers reheat well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge once cool and reheat either in a pan or by microwaving until piping hot.
- Extra veggies can be added to taste. Try green chilli peppers with the onions for extra heat, or add bell peppers while the onions are softening.
Or, if you’re looking for more flavourful one-pan, single-serving recipes then try my crispy sweet chilli halloumi noodles or my lighter arrabbiata pasta. Both of these are sweet, spicy and absolutely delicious! Plus, they both include a good amount of fresh veg!
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