This vegetable curry recipe was inspired by one of my celebrity crushes, Vikram Vij. Vij, as he’s fondly known, is an exceptional Vancouver chef with dreamy blue eyes. The first restaurant he opened in Vancouver, Vij’s, was a game changer in the local culinary scene. Taking no reservations, people start to line up at Vij’s at 5:00pm. When I was last there, it was in the old location and we were lucky enough to get into the bar in the back of the restaurant while we waited. Vij walked around feeding us hot cassava fries that were crisp, light and flakey. The warmth and the atmosphere made me feel like I was family. If you haven’t been, you must. And I need to go back.
Onto this recipe. I wanted to make a curry that had a mild colour (read: not brown) and a heady mix of flavours. Vikram Vij’s Family Chicken Curry recipe called out to me and I took some liberties. The big difference is no chicken and instead of sour cream, I added coconut milk. It’s now vegan. I also used fresh turmeric versus dried as I spotted it at the the Granville Island market and knew my dried turmeric was old and stale. It was the first time I smelled and tasted fresh turmeric and I was delighted. It was a combination of earthy, peppery, floral and spicy aromatics. Exactly what I was going for! You can use any vegetable combinations you like and instead of roasting them, let them simmer in the pot until tender. Enjoy! -bvox
Chickpea Coconut Curry with Roasted Squash and Cauliflower
1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1 cups finely chopped onions
3 inch cinnamon stick
3 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp chopped ginger
2 small peeled and diced potatoes
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
3 tbsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 small cauliflower, cut up into bite size pieces
1 can chickpeas
1 can coconut milk
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, including stems
Toss cubed squash with a couple tbsp oil, and salt and pepper. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet and roast in a 425 F oven for 25 mins. On another baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with oil, salt and pepper. Halfway through cooking the squash, add the cauliflower to the oven. Roast until the vegetables are tender enough to pierce with a fork and you see some charred bits on the edges. Set aside.In a large pan, heat the remaining oil (may need to add more) on medium heat for one minute. Add onions and cinnamon, and sauté for a few minutes. Add potatoes, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne. Cook this masala for 5 minutes or so.Add coconut milk and water and mix well. Increase the heat to medium-high. When curry starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium, and add the chickpeas, squash and cauliflower. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, while stirring two or three times until potatoes are cooked. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick.
To Serve: Divide curry evenly among six bowls. Just before serving, top with chopped cilantro. Serve with naan or rice.
Now that summer is here, let’s all go on a picnic! Pan Bagnat, a yummy french layered sandwich, is what I want to bring. This sandwich is layered perfection in all of its glory. You can make it well in advance and it feeds a lot of people. A traditional Pan Bagnat has tuna, egg slices, anchovies, and olives. But this recipe is vegetarian and you can use whatever vegetables, meat/protein, and cheese you like or have on hand. Steph McVox and I use to make this sandwich for our Mother’s Day picnics with Mom and Cate–before I moved to Vancouver. We have lots of good memories of those days and we’re long overdue for a picnic. -bvox
Grilled Vegetable Pan Bagnat
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large round country loaf
- 1-2 zucchinis, sliced length-way, grilled
- 1 eggplant, sliced length-way, grilled
- 4 portabello mushrooms, gilled and grilled
- 2 medium-size, ripe tomatoes, sliced
- 1 large red onion, caramelized with herbs
- Slices of your favourite cheese (I used brie)
- 12 large basil leaves
- Grill vegetables (brush with oil and salt and pepper first) and caramelize your onions first. You can also use raw onions and cucumber slices to work around this step.
- Whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
- Slice country loaf in half and pull out some of the soft interior crumb to form a cavity.
- Drizzle half of the vinaigrette mixture on the bottom of the bread. Top with layers of your vegetables and cheese. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over the top. Cover with the second bread half and firmly press the sandwich together.
- Wrap the sandwich tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a plastic bag. Put sandwich under a weight, such as a cast-iron frying pan topped with something heavy and sturdy. Weight sandwich for 10 minutes, then flip and weight it for another 10 minutes. Unwrap, slice and serve–or keep it wrapped for up to 8 hours before serving.
This chickpea dish is my latest food obsession. I’ll make a batch at the start of the week as my quick lunch and dinner go-to staple. Cooking the chickpeas gives them a nice toasted crunch on outside and a creamy bite on the inside. Continue reading
Tomato soup is one of life’s big comforts. And whoever thought of pairing a bowl of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich should be granted knighthood. Sharp gooey cheddar snuggled between buttery crispy bread longs to be dunked into bowls of rich tomatey goodness. Grilled cheese sandwiches are my favourite sandwich and one of the first things I learned how to cook as a child. I’d often make them for lunch alongside a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup. Now I make my own. Continue reading
Each Christmas our mom Leslie makes tourtière, the French Canadian classic. Traditionally tourtière is a New Year’s Eve meal in Quebec but it has become our family tradition to have it on Christmas Eve. I look forward to it as my mom makes a vegetarian version with veggie ground round for me! Served up savoury with baking spices such as nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon – tourtière is comfort food on steroids. Continue reading