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Recipe Jamie Oliver's Vegetarian Christmas Curry - December 22/January 23

Jamie Oliver’s Vegetarian Christmas Curry

What better way to beat the winter chill than with this hearty, delicious – and rather healthy – Christmas curry. Ideal for any day during the festive period when you’ve had too many heavy, meat-based meals and instead want something more on the nourishing side.

Serves 6-8

1½ tsp fennel seeds
1½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 medium cauliflower
Groundnut oil
15cm piece of ginger
9 cloves of garlic
20 finger aubergines
3 medium onions
2-3 fresh green chillies
1kg ripe tomatoes
1 cinnamon stick
150g cashews
100g coconut shavings
1 pomegranate
Coriander leaves

Spice Blend

1 tsp cardamom pods
2 tsp turmeric powder
3 dried Kashmiri red chillies
7 cloves
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns

1   Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Using a pestle and mortar grind the fennel and coriander seeds and chilli flakes until fine. Place the cauliflower on a sheet of tin foil, rub in half of the ground spices and 1 tablespoon of oil, and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Wrap the cauliflower in the foil, pop it on a roasting tray and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes to brown it. Remove and set aside.

2   Peel and finely grate the ginger and 6 cloves of garlic. In a bowl, combine two-thirds of the ginger, the grated garlic and the remaining half of the spice mixture. Make an incision in each aubergine with a small sharp knife, then rub the ginger mixture into each one, along with a drizzle of oil. Place the aubergines in a small roasting tray and cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until softened and starting to split. Set aside.

3   Make your spice blend. Split the cardamom pods, add the seeds to a mortar with all the other ingredients, then grind well. Peel and finely chop the onions, then deseed and roughly chop the chillies and tomatoes, keeping them separate. Peel and finely slice the remaining 3 cloves of garlic. Place a large pan over a medium heat and toast the ground spices for 1 minute, or until aromatic.

Stir in 1 tablespoon of oil, followed by the onions, green chillies, sliced garlic, and the remaining ginger. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the onion and garlic are softened and coloured. Add the tomatoes, cinnamon stick and 200ml of water and let it simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes.

4   In a blender, blitz the cashews with 4 tablespoons of water until you have a smooth paste, then stir this into your curry. Cook for 5 minutes, or until thick and fragrant. Chop the roasted cauliflower into florets and stir into the curry along with the aubergines.

Halve the pomegranate and bash it, cut side down, with a wooden spoon so the seeds come tumbling out. Scatter the seeds over the curry along with the shaved coconut, and add some coriander leaves, then serve with chapatis on the side.

Top Tip

If having as a Boxing Day treat, use leftover turkey instead of cauliflower.