This quick and tasty curry came about because I was experimenting with quick midweek meals for my Food on the Brain group. I’d found a host of quick chicken curries listed on Olive Magazine’s website which included a delicious sounding West African inspired chicken and peanut curry. I wanted to create something similar that was quick to prepare and vegan and this is the result. It tastes so good. If you can get hold of tempeh then it works well here but if that’s not your thing or you can’t source it locally then other variations are given below.
So, let’s deal with the tempeh first. Tempeh is a fermented soy bean product. It’s used a lot in Indonesian cooking. It has a completely different taste and texture to tofu, it’s less processed and a lot of the health benefits associated with soy products are linked to fermented versions of soy rather than products like soy milk or tofu. Many Chinese supermarkets stock blocks of tempeh in their fridges near the tofu but an increasing number of supermarkets are now also starting to stock tempeh in their fridges and these versions are often organic too.
Like tofu it doesn’t have a great deal of taste so works better when marinated or used in something like a curry which already has plenty of strong flavours. It’s a good source of plant protein and for many of us a way of adding more variety into your diet. If you can’t get tempeh you could replace with tofu or just do the rest of the curry without the soy – it would still taste really good. If you eat seafood then prawns also work well here or you could go with the original recipe if you are omnivorous and add in some shredded chicken.
Because I was developing this as a quick midweek meal I have suggested some short cut ingredients. Stocking up on frozen pre-prepped herbs and spices and vegetables means you have ingredients to hand to make a healthy meal even when you are tired after a long day at work. At it’s simplest you can use pre-chopped onion and spices for the base. Add boiling water to the peanut butter as the base of your curry and then put in the can of coconut, frozen chopped sweet potato or squash, green beans and spinach - all in the space of 5 minutes. You can leave it to simmer for 20 minutes and put your feet up then come back to a tasty, healthy and filling meal. With a bit more time and planning you could use fresh ingredients or a mix of both – but you don’t have to do this to eat healthily.
Place half the onion in a blender with the ginger and chillies and 100ml of water/stock and blitz to smooth paste.
Add the peanut butter to the remaining 400ml of water/stock and stir well to incorporate the nut butter into a smooth sauce.
In a large pan add a little oil and gently fry the remaining onion until it browns. Add the cumin, ground coriander and turmeric and fry gently for a further minute.
Add the onion paste from the blender to the fried onion and spices and stir until the paste thickens and water evaporates.
Next add the peanut sauce, coconut cream, sweet potato and green beans. Bring to the boil then cover and turn to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 mins or until the sweet potato is cooked through. If you are cooking rice to accompany this then set this to cook at the same time. You may want to give the curry a mix halfway through to check how it’s doing. You can add a little more water if it seems too thick.
Meanwhile cut the tempeh into strips (about 1cm thick) and gently shallow fry until crispy on all sides. Set aside.
Once the sweet potato is cooked add the spinach and tempeh to the curry and cook for a further 2 – 3 mins until the spinach is wilted and the tempeh warmed through.
Serve with rice, noodles or flatbread. Top with fresh coriander and chopped peanuts and finish with a squeeze of lime.
For more inspiration on quick and easy midweek meals join us over on Facebook in the Food on the Brain group. This is our topic throughout February. The group is completely free to join – new topics, challenges and inspiration each month.
I'm Kim Adams, founder of SAVI Nutrition. A Registered Nutritional Therapist who is passionate about healthy, tasty food. Here I share with you my thoughts on food and health alongside a few of my favourite recipes.