Vegan Curry With All the Vegetables

April 22, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by WoonHeng Chia
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

When my mom wants to include a variety of vegetables in a meal, her favorite dish to make is a curry vegetable bowl. She calls it ga li chap choi, which translates to curry mixed veggies. This dish is also a common option in Malaysia at many hawker stalls that sells mixed rice. The colorful vegetables and spicy curry always whet my appetite despite the warm weather at home.

Since there are more and more spring and summer vegetables at the store, I decided to create this tasty bowl at home. This recipe uses a simple chile paste made from fresh red jalapeños, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, and galangal. This paste gets sautéed for 20 to 30 minutes until fragrant. It is then simmered along with tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage, tofu puffs, and okra. (Note: The okra comes in at the end to prevent a slimy consistency.)

What I love about this dish is how flexible the pairing ingredients are. If you don’t have or can’t find tomatoes, eggplant, and okra, try cabbage, long beans, and boiled potatoes. —WoonHeng Chia

What You'll Need
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Vegan Curry With All the Vegetables
  • 1 1/4 cups neutral oil, divided
  • 2 small eggplants, cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
  • 8 ounces red jalapeños, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, white parts roughly chopped (green parts discarded)
  • 5 slices galangal
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6-7 cups vegetable stock
  • 10 pieces of fried tofu puffs, rinsed in hot water and halved
  • 3 pandan leaves, tied into knot
  • 3 cups cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 5 ime leaves, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 5 curry leaves, plus more as desired
  • 1 1/2 palm sugar rounds (about 22 grams), roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon mushrooms seasoning or vegetable bouillon, plus more to taste
  • 4 ounces okra, tips removed and sliced
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice or tamarind juice, plus more to taste
  1. In a 1 1/2–quart saucepan, heat 1 cup of the oil to 350°F. Fry the eggplant sticks, in small batches, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until the skin turns slightly darker. Using a pair of tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Fill another saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Blanch the okra for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
  3. Make the chile paste: Place the jalapeños, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, and 2 tablespoons of oil in a food processor. Blend into a fine paste. (Alternatively, you can also use a mortar and pestle to pound the ingredients.)
  4. Heat a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-low heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then sauté the chile paste, stirring often, until the chile turns a darker shade of red, 20 to 30 minutes. Add more oil if the pan starts to look dry along the way.
  5. Add the cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and continue to sauté for a few more seconds until fragrant.
  6. Add the stock, tofu, pandan, and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat.
  7. After 10 minutes, uncover the pot. While the broth is simmering, add the cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, lime leaves, and curry leaves. Use the back of the spatula to immerse the vegetables in the broth if needed.
  8. Season with the palm sugar, salt, and mushrooms seasoning. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  9. Once the cabbage is as crisp-tender as you like, add the okra and coconut milk, then simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  10. Swirl in the lime juice, taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Remove the pandan leaves before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Annada Rathi
    Annada Rathi
  • Sony
  • catydid
  • Eth

5 Reviews

Sony July 21, 2022
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catydid May 22, 2021
Awesome! However, we totally changed the recipe due to various lack of ingredients. No tofu puffs, used xtra firm tofu cubed seasoned and baked at 400F. Seared eggplant in 2T oil, then also baked at 400. Chopped up cauliflower, added to roasting pan. Made chili paste on cutting board and sautéed, added onion, peppers, mushrooms, then broth and spices and curry and lime leaves (no pandan leaves). Put roasted veggies and tofu back in the pot. Added chard/kale (no cabbage) and coconut milk. Then tamarind and lime at the end. Very brothy, super delicious. Served w brown rice. A very different curry, truly delicious.
Eth April 23, 2021
Annada R. April 22, 2021
Ooh, this sounds delicious! Can't wait to try! I have had trouble in the past cutting the lemongrass. Glad you specified that green portion is to be discarded.
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