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Kumara Curry NZ

I often hear what is the difference between NZ kumara and the sweet potato. Our most commonly grown red kumara has a denser texture and a sweeter, less watery consistency when cooked, it is especially pronounced when roasted as it caramelises beautifully. In this delicious Kumara Curry it holds it's shape well, where as the sweet potato tends to go a bit mushy.

This beautiful ENORMOUS specimen below was grown locally in Kaeo and has an amazing rose like flavour quality. I was lucky enough to receive a heap of amazing kumara this year. I've made it into all sorts of yumminess including Kumara Pie, Kumara and Banana Fritters, my famous Kumara chips and of course a fear few Kumara, Cauliflower and Cashew Curries.

This Kumara Curry recipe I'm sharing with you today is a firm favourite out of The Veggie Tree Autumn & Winter Cookbook and has also featured in multiple New Zealand magazines, webpages and radio shows so it's only right I finally pop it up my recipe blog aye!

Kathryn Ryan asked me on RNZ's Nine till Noon what was the trick to making a good curry? With vegetarian curries much less cooking time is needed to create a delicious result. In this recipe I have used whole spices, toasted and then ground them myself, this is the trick for taking homemade curries to the next level. The aroma from freshly ground spices is intoxicating and boosts flavour to the max, plus whole spices keep better for longer in the pantry and once you've tried freshly ground you'll never go back. You can use a mortar and pestle to grind spices, but even more effective is an electric spice or coffee grinder dedicated to the cause. These are especially good for fenugreek seeds which are tough cookies to grind by hand!

I have suggested soaking the cashews but if you forget to put them on to soak in the morning, never fear just chuck them in it will work out fine, even if you only have salted cashew's, just make sure you check the seasoning at the end.

This Kumara Curry is nutty, creamy and full of texture and is perfect for cosy winter evenings. The Kashmiri rice is not just delicious, it is more nutritious with the addition of coconut and raisins to the fiber rich brown rice. Raisins add little pops of sweet juiciness and are also high in fiber as well as B6, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. This meal is healthy, tasty and I'm sure your family will love it as much as mine does, Happy Cooking!

Anna x


~Recipe from The Veggie Tree Autumn and Winter Cookbook~

Vegan | Gluten-Free

Serves 6

Soak together, for a minimum of three hours:

200g raw cashew nuts

300ml water

Gather your ingredients and prepare the following:

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 fresh chilli, sliced (optional)

1 red kumara, scrubbed and diced

1/4 cauliflower, cut into small florets

Toast the spices in a dry heavy-based pan. Measure in:

1 tsp cumin seed

1/2 tsp fenugreek seed

1 tsp cardamom seed

1 T fennel seed

1 T coriander seed

1 cinnamon quill

Toast the seeds over a high heat, shaking the pan often, until just starting to vapour, then take off the heat. Cool slightly and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.


Add to a large pot:

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

Toast in the dry pot until just starting to pop. Now add:

2 T coconut oil or ghee

Melt the oil, then add the onion and chilli. Fry for 30 seconds, then add the ground spices and kumara. Fry for another 30 seconds, then add the soaked cashew nuts and the soaking water, plus:

1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes, then fill the can with 400ml water and add to the pan

1 x 400 ml can coconut cream, then fill the can with 400ml water and add to the pan

1 T ground turmeric

8 curry leaves

1 T coconut or rice vinegar

1 tsp sweet soy sauce

Bring to the boil then turn down to a gentle simmer for 45 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Meanwhile make the rice.


Measure the following amount of rice into a sieve and rinse under cold water:

1 c brown basmati rice

Tip the rice into a pot and add:

2 T raisins

1 pinch saffron (optional)

1/2 tsp salt

650ml water.

Cover with the lid and bring to the boil. Turn it down to a simmer immediately and stir with a fork. Replace the lid and simmer until you can’t see the water anymore. Stir again gently and add:

4 T threaded or desiccated coconut

Replace the lid and remove from the heat to steam for 10 minutes; then give it a final, gentle stir with a fork while it sits.

To finish the Curry add your prepared cauliflower to the curry along with:

4 T ground almonds

1 tsp cracked pepper

1 tsp salt

Stir through and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve the Curry and rice with poppadoms and your favourite chutney or pickle.

In the picture below is my Indian Thali Feast which is a favourite cook school here at The Veggie Tree and includes my Tomato and Red Lentil Curry, Pakoras and Raita which recipes are also in my Autumn and Winter cookbook available here -

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