Spring Vegetable Curry with Sri Lankan Spices

A blend of sweet fragrant spices simmered with coconut milk, tomatoes, and ginger fills this curry with warm flavor and gentle heat. It's delicious made with peas as they come into season–sugar snap peas and shelled English peas add bright, fresh color.

You can make it in summer with tender green beans in place of the peas and include different varieties of summer squash, such as golden zucchini, scallop-shaped sunburst, or pale green pattypans.

The Spices
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 teaspoons coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
The Stew
1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, about 2 cups
1 1/2 cups cold water
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, strings removed, about 2 cups
1/4 pound English peas, shelled, about 1/2 cup
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1  yellow onion, chopped, about 2 cups
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2  medium-sized carrots, cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch think on a diagonal, about 2 cups
1 pound new potatoes, cut into halves, quarters, or 1-inch pieces if large
1/2 head small cauliflower, about 2 cups florets
1  medium-size zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, sliced 1/2 inch think on a diagonal, about 1 cup
1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk, stirred
 {cayenne pepper} to taste
For the spices, toast the cumin, coriander, fennel, fenugreek, and black mustard seed over low heat in a dry small skillet, shaking or stirring often, until they become aromatic, a minute or two. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and combine with the remaining ingredients.

For the stew, combines the tomatoes, cold water, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons of the ginger, and 1 tablespoon of the mixed spices in a medium-size saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes while you cook the vegetables.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drop the snap peas into the water for about 2 minutes, until just tender. Scoop them out, rinse under cool water, and set aside. Repeat the procedure with the English peas. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sauté until soft, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, and potatoes; cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower, zucchini, remaining spices and ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; sauté for about 5 minutes, until just heated through. Add the tomato mixture and the coconut milk; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Add the peas just before serving. Season with salt and cayenne to taste.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 1 hr

Servings: serves 4 to 6

Recipe By: Annie Somerville

From:  Field of Greens: New Vegetarian Recipes From The Celebrated Greens Restaurant
Used with permission of Scribner