Recipe of the Month Ultimate Cold-Busting Curry

As a mother, I am always trying to keep the children healthy, especially at this time of the year. The medicinal power of spices is very much woven into Indian heritage and I wanted to create a curry to show families that they don’t have to hit the medicine cabinet with the first sign of a cold. In fact, they are likely to have some great cold-busting products sitting on their kitchen shelves!
This tomato based curry, where the vegetables take centre stage, is packed with immunity boosting ingredients including pomegranate, turmeric, garam masala, ginger and garlic that really can improve your overall health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of everyday infections.

Anjum’s tips: You can make a jhalfrezi curry with any vegetables so I have listed a few options to give you some ideas and have suggested a volume amount to get the quantities right. Look for a good mix of colours, shapes and textures for the widest range of nutrition. If you can find baby vegetables, definitely make this dish with them, it will make it even more special. Pomegranates are in season in Autumn so kernels should be sweet and juicy but if they are sour use sparingly as they will add too much sourness to the curry. I like the dish to be quite spicy so add crushed chillies in at the end but I leave it to you as I do with the addition of pomegranate kernels at the end, they add a burst of freshness and sweetness to the dish, but again, it is an added option. Ideally, serve with naan.

Serves 4

Vegetable options – aim for around 2 cups of prepared vegetables

Fingerling or baby potatoes, (cooked whole, peeled and then halved or quartered lengthways)

Courgettes, cut into slices at an angle and then halved lengthways
Japanese eggplants, halved lengthways (leave the stalk on) and quartered
Wedge of butternut squash or pumpkin, skin cut away and cut into wedges or pieces
Carrots, peeled and cut on the angle into long slices and halved lengthways
Green beans, mangetout or green peas, beans trimmed and halved

5 tbs. vegetable oil or a mix of butter and oil
4-5 green chillies, whole but pierced with the tip of a knife

15g ginger, peeled, half grated and the other half sliced into fine julienne
2 large ripe tomatoes, quartered and blended until smooth
2 tsp. dried fenugreek leaves, crushed between your fingers
2 rounded tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. garam masala powder
½ small red bell pepper, cut into fine strips
¼ tsp. crushed red chillies (optional)
Good pinch of dried pomegranate powder (optional)
2 tbs. single cream
Handful of fresh pomegranate kernels (optional)
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is cooked and starts to colour, around 1 minute. Add the green chillies, tomatoes, coriander and garam masala powders and salt. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the tomatoes have completely reduced down and the sauce releases oil on the base of the pan. Taste, it should taste harmonious.

Meanwhile, cook the vegetables. Peel vegetables that need peeling, cut into cubes or long slices. Boil a large pan of water and have a bowl of heavily iced water ready. Working in batches, blanch the vegetables in the water, scooping them up and putting them in the cold water to arrest cooking process and then spoon out and place on a plate. The vegetables should be cooked until done.

Whilst the tomatoes are cooking, cook your chosen vegetables. Bring a pot of water to the boil and season lightly. Add the vegetables in batches, I start with two or three of the starchier vegetables and cook until just tender, spoon out and reserve continue with the others (peel potatoes and halve lengthways, if using). Reserve the cooking liquor.

When ready to serve, add the red pepper strips, ginger julienne, dried fenugreek leaves and 150ml of the cooking liquor (or water) into the sauce and bring back to the boil. Add the vegetables and stir well to coat them in the light tomato sauce; add a small splash of water if the sauce is too thick, it should be of coating consistency. Add cream and pomegranates, taste, adjust seasoning and add crushed chilli (if using). Serve, adding a little swirl of cream, coriander and pomegranate kernels for garnish.