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Closeup of kadhai with mix veg jalfrezi with a cilantro garnish.
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5 from 8 votes

Vegetable Jalfrezi

This delicious and healthy Vegetable Jalfrezi is packed with a multitude of vegetables, including bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes and onions. The veggies are cooked in a spicy and creamy tomato onion sauce, but just enough to retain their beautiful colors, texture and individual flavors. This is a great recipe to use up those leftover veggies in your fridge. The jalfrezi comes together quickly with a handful of ingredients, and it is soy-free, gluten-free and nut-free. Serve it with roti or naan or with a rice pilaf like jeera rice for a delicious weeknight dinner or an indulgent, exotic weekend meal.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course/Curry
Cuisine: British Indian, Indian, Indo-Chinese
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Vegetable Jalfrezi
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 85kcal

Equipment

  • Wok or large skillet or wide saucepan

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 medium onions (cut one onion into a very fine dice and the other into long, thin slices)
  • 1-inch knob ginger (julienned)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced or crushed)
  • 1 green chili pepper (like jalapeno, optional)
  • 3 large tomatoes (cut two tomatoes in a fine dice and one in long, thin slices)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (or ketchup, or ¼ cup tomato sauce)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne (pr Kashmiri red chili powder. Can sub paprika for less heat)
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves, crushed in your palms)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cashews (or pistachios. If nut-free use pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 medium carrot (cut into 1-inch by ¼-inch batons)
  • 2 bell peppers (or about 8 sweet peppers, any color. Cut into long, thin strips)
  • 1 cup cabbage (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup cauliflower (separated into florets)
  • 1 medium zucchini (cut into 1-inch by ¼-inch batons)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon garam masala (use less to begin with and add more if needed)
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (or use lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (finely chopped)

Instructions

  • Make a "cream" by blending the cashews or pistachios (or pumpkin seeds) into a smooth paste with ½ cup water. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a wide saucepan or skillet or, preferably, a wok. Add cumin seeds and let them darken a bit and become fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the finely chopped onion with a bit of salt and saute over medium heat until the onions brown. You don't want to caramelize them thoroughly but you should have good color on the onions so they just melt into the sauce.
  • Add the julienned ginger and crushed garlic and the minced green chili pepper, if using, and saute for a few seconds.
  • Add the two finely chopped tomatoes followed by the tomato paste. Mix.
  • Stir in the powdered spices: turmeric, cayenne and ground coriander. Add the crushed kasoori methi. Mix everything thoroughly and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are thoroughly broken down and have formed almost a paste along with the onions. If needed add a splash of water to keep the tomatoes and onions from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add to the cashew/pistachio/pumpkin-seed paste to the tomato-onion sauce in the wok and mix well. If you want a saucier jalfrezi, you can add about ½ cup water to the wok at this time and mix.
  • Add the carrots, cut into batons, to the pot. Mix, cover, and let the carrots cook five minutes. Stir once or twice to make sure nothing's sticking.
  • Add the remaining veggies to the pot--bell peppers, cabbage, carrots and zucchini. Mix well and let the veggies cook over medium or medium-high heat, stirring them frequently, for about three to five minutes or until they are tender enough but still have a good bite.
  • Add a sliced onion and a sliced tomato to the pot and stir in. Add garam masala and salt. You can also add some ground black pepper, if you want a bit more spice. Stir in the vinegar. Mix well and turn off the heat.
  • Garnish with cilantro before serving.

Notes

  • To add some protein to this dish, add 14 oz of air-fried or baked tofu, cut into batons. Mix the tofu in just before you add the garam masala and salt and mix it in gently.
  • Cut veggies for the jalfrezi into similar-sized pieces, preferably long slices or chunky squares. You want the vegetables to retain their texture, shape and individual flavor.
  • This is a "hot" dish, remember, so you want it to be spicy. But if you absolutely cannot tolerate spice you can skip the green chilli pepper and use paprika instead of cayenne.
  • Adding cashew or pistachio or pumpkin seed cream will mellow the sauce a bit and will add restaurant-style flavor to this dish, so be sure to add it.
  • You need to cook the first round of tomatoes and onions thoroughly so they are almost paste-like. But when you add the second round of onions and tomatoes at the end of cooking don't overcook those. You want their flavor and texture to add complexity to the dish.
  • Use veggies that are quick-cooking--eggplant, for instance, or okra, would not be a good choice here. Leafies also won't work as they will water down the flavor.
  • Don't overcook the veggies. They need to have a bite. On the same note, don't fry the veggies over extremely high heat, as you would a Chinese style stir-fry, because you don't want the sauce to burn. Maintain a medium level of heat and, if necessary, add a bit of water to the sauce.
  • A jalfrezi is not meant to be a very saucy dish and the juices expressed by the veggies add plenty of moisture. But if you absolutely want some sauce stir up to ½ cup of water into the sauce before you add the veggies to the pot.
  • Roti and vegan naan or kulcha are delicious with veg jalfrezi.
  • You can also serve it with a flavored rice like carrot rice, lemon rice or pomegranate pilaf.
  • The jalfrezi will keep nicely in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat before serving. I wouldn't recommend freezing it because the texture of the veggies will change, but if you absolutely want to you can freeze for up to a month.

Nutrition

Calories: 85kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 470mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2928IU | Vitamin C: 65mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg