January Challenge: Roasted Potato Curry

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” -Michael Pollen

I’ve never really made New Years resolutions, and certainly not food centered resolutions. I think they are cursed and doomed to failure simply because of all the inflated build-up. So how did I find myself making a “January challenge”?After reading an article in Bon Appetite about this big wig food critic who eats vegetarian for the month of January as a way to cleanse his pallet so to speak and give himself a break to start out the new year. It kind of resonated with me and got me thinking. In the summer it is easy to eat “mostly plants” and have meat as a side dish but as soon as the days get short and cold and the only moderately local thing is kale it gets hard. I realized that we ate almost exclusively meat, carbs and starches with a little kale thrown in for good measure. I started to notice how heavy I felt all the time. So, a January Challenge. We challenged ourselves to eat vegetarian for the month of January, not to lose weight or as some lofty goal for 2011 but as a way to challenge us to get our nourishment from food other than meat. To force us to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. To really make me think about what I am cooking and eating every day.


Its been challenging, the first few days we ate pizza (whole wheat crust with veggies!), take-out (with tofu instead of chicken), and quiche (without bacon). Humm… I’ve got to put some thought into dinner for a change. Last night I searched the vegetarian food blogs and cookbooks and came up with a list of things to try, starting with a tempeh curry. It was really good, and a great quick dinner. We had it over couscous with some Trader Joe’s Naan. Definitely one to add to the dinner rotation even after our January Challenge.

My other “not-a-resolution” resolution is to effectively and consistently use social networking and media for the blog. What does that mean? I’m actually going to post updates, photos, and engage in discussions using Facebook and Twitter. So, you should click on the link up there on the right to “like” our Facebook and “follow” our Twitter.

Roasted Potato Curry

Adapted from 101cookbooks.com

The original recipe calls for tempeh, which I found quite bitter (is this normal or just the brand I bought??), so in the future I will swap it out for chickpeas. You could also add carrots or cauliflower. Come to think of it, sweet potatoes might be really good too. If you want a vegan meal you can replace the cream with coconut milk. Also, the spices listed below make a pretty spicy curry, I dialed them back when I made it and it was plenty spicy.

1  pound small waxy potatoes, halved or quartered so they area all the same size
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
2 Tablespoons Garam Masala

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (or olive oil)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
scant 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, plus extra to taste (I recommend Muir Glen Fire Roasted)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup  cream or coconut milk
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained and rinsed. (or 8oz Tempeh, cut into 3/4 inch pieces)

Preheat oven to 375°

Toss the potatoes with a splash of olive oil, salt and Garam Masala. Lay out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are slightly crispy and cooked all the way through.

While the potatoes cook, heat oil and butter in skillet, add onions and cook on medium-low heat until soft. Stir in cumin seeds, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne powder. Stir to mix and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to mix. Remove from heat.

Once the potatoes are done, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Add cream to sauce and stir to mix. Return to heat and add chickpeas and potatoes. Heat through. Add more tomatoes, water, or cream to taste or to adjust thickness of the sauce.

Serve over couscous.

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6 thoughts on “January Challenge: Roasted Potato Curry

  1. looks really good, a bit of a carb explosion though… keep an eye out for the book ‘plenty’ by yotam ottolenghi, beatiful book with amazing vegetarian recepies, guaranteed to make your january a lot better

  2. Pingback: January Challenge: Beet and Greens Quesadillas « Real Food NW

    • Yeah, both of those are good. They need to have structure and a tender skin to be good for roasting since you don’t peel them.

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