No-onion curry sauce with cauliflower, chickpeas, and seitan

July 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm (Beans, B_minus (2 stars, okay), Cruciferous rich, Indian, Other, Sauce/dressing, Seitan)

This is another recipe that I made last year when I was visiting my friend Sarah in Israel.  The original recipe is from the cookbook The Indian Vegetarian by Neelam Batra. Although I have nothing against onions, I like the idea that I can make a delicious, authentic curry sauce even if I’m all out of onions. Batra says that no-onion curry sauce needs extra tomatoes, yogurt, and spices.  Note that the sauce as written is quite thin.  Batra says it makes a lovely base for a vegetable soup, or you can add 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes to make it thicker.


  • 2 Tbs. oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds (I also added 1 tsp. of black mustard seeds)
  • 1 Tbs. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 cup canned crushed or pureed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed finely chopped cilantro with stems
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced (I used 2 Tbs. minced)
  • one 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and crushed or minced (I used 2 Tbs. minced)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat yogurt, whisked until smooth (I used 1/2 cup lowfat yogurt)
  • 3 cups water (I used maybe 1? cup)
  • 1 tsp. dried fenugreek  leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • chopped cilantro for garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan over moderately high heat and cook the cumin seeds, stirring, until they sizzle, 10 seconds.  Stir in the coriander, ground cumin, paprika, turmeric, and salt.  Then add the tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, and ginger.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add the yogurt a little at a time to prevent it from curdling.  Add the water, increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, and let boil for about 5 minutes.  Cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or longer.  Add the fenugreek leaves and garam masala.  You can add more water for a thinner sauce or continue cooking uncovered for a thicker sauce.
  3. The sauce stays in the fridge for 5 to 6 days and can be frozen for 3 to 4 months.
  4. Makes about 2 cups.

My notes

Last night I made this recipe with a few modifications.  I used ghee instead of oil.  I used significantly more ginger and garlic, doubled the yogurt, and used much less water.  After adding the yogurt I added in 500 grams of cauliflower (in small florets), 6 ounces of seitan, and 1 can of chickpeas (240 grams of cooked chickpeas), and let the dish simmer covered until the cauliflower was tender.  Note that I used a little less than 1 tsp. of salt since my seitan was salted.  If you’re using salted chickpeas and tomato puree you’ll want to reduce the salt even more.  Even without salt in my beans and tomatoes this dish ended up being surprisingly salty.

I really enjoyed the curry sauce and the cauliflower and seitan.  Somehow to me the chickpeas didn’t seem to belong, but Derek disagreed.  He didn’t like the curry sauce as much as me.  He said it tasted a lot like my regular cauliflower curry, but less turmeric-y and more Indian tasting.  I thought it tasted nothing like my standard cauliflower curry.  I’ll definitely make this again but next time I’ll try a different mix of vegetables.  Any combination of veggies and beans would work okay, I’m sure.  Next time I might try cauliflower and peas.

Rating: B

My version of the recipe made about 6 cups.

Serving Size: 2 cups
Calories 363
Total Fat 13.3g
      Saturated Fat 1.9g
Cholesterol 2mg
Sodium 924mg
Carbohydrate 45.6g
      Dietary Fiber 12.6g
      Sugars 13.6g
Protein 21.5g
Vitamin A 29%  Vit C 162%
Calcium    19% Iron 28%

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