This is a vegetarian curry that features ingredients available here in upstate NY in the spring: ramps (which I foraged myself), fiddleheads, and dandelion greens. If you can't find one of more of these in your neck of the woods, I've given you some ideas for substitutions. The recipe is adapted from a vegetarian curry of mine that was originally inspired by the delicious Tomato and Coconut Fish Curry recipe in Monica Bhide's lovely book, Modern Spice. —WinnieAb
organic coconut oil or ghee
black mustard seeds
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
whole ramps, chopped fine (use 4 cloves of peeled garlic if you don't have ramps)
Serrano chili pepper, minced (leave the seeds in if you want your curry to be spicy)
large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
one 14 oz. can organic whole coconut milk
fiddleheads, rinsed very well and cleaned of all debris (use 1 cup asparagus tips if you don't have fiddleheads)
chopped dandelion greens (use collards or kale if you don't have dandelion greens)
bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped (I used half of a red one and half of an orange one)
large tomato, chopped
sea salt- optional
about 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
green tops of 4 ramps, chopped fine (use 1/4 cup chopped mint if you don't have ramps)
In a large skillet or wok, melt the coconut oil or ghee over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and cook for a minute or two until they "pop", then add the ginger, minced ramps, and chili pepper. Stir everything around for a minute or so.
Add the chopped sweet potato to the pan along with the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if the liquid seems too thick.
While the sweet potato is cooking, place your clean fiddleheads in a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 10 minutes (fiddleheads are a wild food, and this is the recommended preparation so that you don't become ill from them...better safe than sorry). After they've been boiled for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.
Add the fiddleheads, the dandelion greens, the bell pepper, and the tomato to the sweet potatoes. Simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender, again adding a little water if necessary.
Mix in the spices (and salt, if using). Cook for another minute or two. Taste and adjust the spices, if necessary. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly while you proceed with the chutney.
To make the chutney, mix the minced ramp tops with the cilantro in a small bowl. Add the fresh lime juice and the sugar. Mix well, and serve over the curry.
I grew up in a restaurant family (my parents owned the now closed Quilted Giraffe in NYC) and I've always loved to cook.
My interest in the connection between food and health led me to pursue a graduate degree in naturopathic medicine. I don't practice medicine anymore; I have a blog called Healthy Green Kitchen that I started in May of 2009 and I wrote a book called One Simple Change that will be published in January, 2014.
I live in upstate New York with my family and many pets.