An easy vegan coconut curry that's full of flavor!
This easy and simple Coconut Curry takes just over 20 minutes to put together, and you can tweak it to your taste with the veggies you have on hand (although this version with onions, potatoes and tomatoes can't be beat). A vegan, soy-free, gluten-free and nut-free recipe.
This creamy, silky, savory Coconut Curry is one of my favorite Indian style dishes. I call it an "Indian style" dish because it's not based on any traditional dish. Rather, it's something I came up when looking for a tasty partner for my Carrot Rice many years ago.
I reshared that Carrot Rice recipe earlier this week, and I promised to follow up with this curry, so here I am. If you know your way around the kitchen, it should take you no more than between 30-45 minutes to pull this meal together.
Both these dishes are savory but not spicy, which makes them perfect to serve to anyone who can't tolerate heat but still likes a tasty meal. The curry, especially, has layers of flavor from the cumin, the onions, the tomatoes, the ginger, a dash of cayenne, and the coconut milk that ties it all together into a creamy melange.
There are just a handful of ingredients in this curry, and if you have potatoes and onions on hand, you are pretty much set.
Eight ingredients for coconut curry:
- Coconut oil: This is the best choice for this curry and adds more coconutty flavor!
- Cumin seeds: The earthiness of cumin is magnificent with coconut.
- Onions: Onions form a nice base to thicken the coconut curry.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes and coconut? Match made in heaven.
- Potatoes: Potatoes enhance the creaminess of this curry and are a nice treat to bite into.
- Turmeric: For beautiful color and healthfulness.
- Cayenne (or any red pepper powder). For a hint of spice.
- Coconut milk: Use the canned, full-fat coconut milk for best results. Light coconut milk will give an acceptable result but simply won't be as creamy and delicious.
How to make the best coconut curry in around 20 minutes:
One of the secrets to making this creamy and easy curry in a hurry is to prep as you go. And because that's the way most of us cook these days, it should be a breeze. But here are some tips on how to make this process go by faster than ever:
- The only thing in this curry that needs some time to cook is the potato. So before you do anything else, put the potatoes to boil. You can even do this ahead of time, or do it in a microwave, which should take no more than 10 minutes if you're boiling whole potatoes, or five minutes if you dice them first.
- You can use coconut oil in this recipe, to keep the coconut theme running throughout, or you can use vegetable oil, which is fine because you are getting tons of coconut flavor anyway from the coconut milk.
- You can use canned tomatoes in this recipe, although fresh tomatoes would give you the best flavor and texture. If using canned, use diced canned tomatoes, although these won't break down as smoothly as fresh tomatoes would.
- Anytime you cook with coconut milk, it's really important not let the coconut oil come to a boil, which can cause it to separate. In recipes like this one, where I like adding some coconut milk early on so the veggies absorb the flavor, I reserve half the coconut milk and add that at the end to bring back the creaminess.
- My favorite way to make this curry is with the potatoes, but if you want to tailor this recipe to what you have on hand, you can certainly swap out the potatoes for sweet potatoes or zucchini or bell peppers. Or add 'em all in, for more color, health and deliciousness!
What should I serve with the curry?
- The Carrot Rice, like I said above, is my favorite dish to pair with this curry. But you can also serve it with an easy, 15-minute Jeera Rice (Cumin Rice) or a Turmeric Pilaf.
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
- 3 medium tomatoes (finely chopped)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 medium potatoes (boiled and diced)
- 14 oz coconut milk (canned or freshly made are both fine)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon cilantro (or scallions, for garnish)
- Heat the oil. Add cumin seeds and as they start to darken, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Saute for a couple of minutes until the onions start to soften.
- Add the tomatoes, cayenne and turmeric and continue to saute for a few more minutes until the onions are soft and pulpy.
- Add the potatoes along with half the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Let the curry cook another minute for the flavors to meld, then turn the heat to low and add the remaining coconut milk. Check for salt. If the curry is too thick for your liking, you can add some water or vegetable stock to thin it out. Turn off the heat as soon as the curry has warmed through but before it returns to a boil.
- Garnish, if you like, with cilantro. I love this curry with the carrot rice and a garnish of scallions.