One thing you might know about me is that I’m really passionate about our environment and working towards a sustainable future. And, as sad I am to admit this, the meat industry, unfortunately, is too big a factor in today’s pollution that we can ignore. Hence, you are seeing more and more articles about the ‘planet diet’ and such. I don’t believe in being preachy, and I won’t be – so meat eaters don’t worry! But I did decide to make some changes in my lifestyle to start doing my bit beyond using reusable cups and avoiding plastic and such. I might write a proper post on the changes I’ve made if you would be interested but for now just a quick one: I’ve stopped eating meat every other week, therefore massively reducing my consumption. This is one of the best recipes I’ve made in this period (and in general!)

More in vegetable curries: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Hawaij root vegetable stew with whipped fenugreekChickpea, tomato and spinach curryQuick spinach, sweet potato and coconut stew + bonus Korma Paste recipe

Vegetable Jalfrezi

Serves 4 | Prep 25 mins | Cook 50 mins
Easy | Gluten-Free | Vegetarian


Tip: I made my own Jalfrezi paste, but if you’d like to make this even simpler, just use 175g. Jalfrezi Paste from a jar.

You’ll need

For the Jalfrezi Paste:

  • 2 cloves garlic, pealed;
  • 5 cm piece of fresh root ginger, pealed;
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric;
  • 2 tablespoons groundnut oil;
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree;
  • 1 fresh green chilli;
  • 15g fresh coriander;
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds;
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds;
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds;
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds.

For the Curry:

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil;
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced;
  • ½ butternut squash, cut into chunks;
  • 1 small head cauliflower, broken into florets;
  • 1 vegetable stock cube;
  • bunch coriander leaves, picked and stalks finely chopped;
  • 500ml passata;
  • 1 red pepper, sliced;
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced;
  • 400g can chickpea, drained and rinsed;
  • 100g natural yogurt;
  • 1 fresh green chilli, sliced;
  • boiled rice, to serve;
  • naan bread, to serve.

First make the Jalfrezi paste. Put a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the cumin, fenugreek, coriander and mustard seeds to the dry pan. Lightly toast them for a few minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine, or put them into a food processor and whiz to a powder. Either way, when you’ve ground them whiz the toasted spices in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and ½ a teaspoon of sea salt until you have a smooth paste.

For the curry. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onions and cook over a low heat for about 8-10 mins until soft, stirring them often and adding a splash of water if they start to stick. Add the Jalfrezi paste and mix well, then add the squash, cauliflower, stock cube, coriander stalks, passata and 500ml water. Simmer for 20 mins, adding some more water if it gets too thick.

Add the peppers and chickpeas, and cook for 15-20 mins more, until all the veg is tender. Stir in the yogurt and most of the coriander leaves. Serve scattered with the rest of the coriander and the sliced chilli, with rice and naan bread on the side.

Original recipes: Jalfrezi Paste by Jamie Oliver, available online here. Vegetable Jalfrezi recipe from BBC Good Food magazine, issue May 2013, available online here.