Warm up your stomach and your tastebuds with this flavourful and wholesome vegetable curry from Simon Hopkinson.

I am delighted to say that my local supermarket here in west London (Tesco, as it happens) has recently made a move to stock the brilliant Shana brand of parathas in its freezer section. They are just delicious and are simply cooked, direct from frozen, by placing into a moderately heated, heavy-based frying pan until pale golden and nicely puffed on each surface; about 5–7 minutes, regularly flipped over with a spatula.

Once cut into flaky, buttery quarters and used to scoop up this fragrant curry, it moves me to think that to ‘eat with crusty bread’ has never been so redundant a suggestion. Unless, perhaps, with a nice slice of chicken-liver pâté.

Cauliflower-and-tomato curry (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1tbsp coriander seeds
  • 10 cardamoms
  • Half a tablespoon fennel seeds
  • Half a tablespoon black mustard seeds
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2tbsp sunflower oil (or other neutral-flavoured oil)
  • Half a teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 2tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 4 small green chillies, halved and de-seeded
  • 24 cherry tomatoes
  • Several curry leaves (optional)
  • 1–2tsp sugar, depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes
  • Several sprigs of coriander, roughly chopped

Method

Using a frying pan, lightly toast the first 7 whole spices until aromatic, taking care that they don’t scorch. Heat the oil in a wide and shallow pot and add the whole spices. Fry for a couple of minutes over a moderate heat, then add the turmeric and salt. Pour in the coconut milk, stir in the tamarind, bring up to a simmer and allow to quietly cook for about 15 minutes.

Now, using a stick blender (or a liquidiser), blitz the mixture for about 30 seconds, just to break up the spices. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse.

Pass this sauce through a fine sieve and return it to the (clean) pot. Tip in the cauliflower florets and the green chillies, allowing to cook for a few minutes until the cauliflower is almost tender, then stir in the tomatoes and curry leaves, if using.

Simmer for a few more minutes, until the tomatoes soften, burst and then slightly collapse and the sauce further reduces—about 10 minutes in all.

Finally, taste the sauce to see if it needs a touch of sugar or salt, then stir in the chopped coriander leaves and serve forthwith.