Summer Vegetable Curry Recipe
A summer vegetable curry punctuated with the citrusy pop of fresh coriander seeds.
Fresh coriander seeds have been showing up at the farmers' market these past few weeks. They're sold in bunches of long whispy limbs, dotted with bright green seeds and tiny pinprick white flowers. I bring them home, trim the ends, and place them in a big jar of water on my counter - directly in my line of sight, easy to reach for whenever I'm cooking. The seeds are incredibly aromatic, intensely flavored, vibrant and citrus-forward. And texturally, they deliver a bit of pop and punctuation.
In the cycle of a coriander/cilantro plant, you'll first see leaves develop, then flowers, followed by electric green seeds. I use them as an accent here in this summer vegetable curry (and if you're making your own curry paste, you can certainly add some there), we've also been working it into pesto, smashing them into pastes to top soba noodles, and I'd bet there's an excellent summer cocktail to be made with them - high on my list to experiment with...
I know it's an ingredient you rarely see at the grocers, but I suspect many of you actually grow coriander/cilantro in your gardens. The flavor is incredible, and I'm wondering if any of you have special uses, or favorite ways to use the seeds. I'm also going to buy a good amount in the coming weeks and freeze and/or dry the fresh seeds - see how they hold up.
Summer Vegetable Curry
HS: You can use a store-bought green curry paste here, or make your own. I'll include a recipe for green curry paste I learned in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
1 14-ounce can coconut milk*
4 medium shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons green curry paste, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 pound waxy potatoes, washed and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/4 pound yellow (or green) beans
1/4 pound Romanesco florets (or broccoli)
8 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
kernels from 1 ear of corn
1 lime, halved or quartered
fresh coriander seeds (or chopped cilantro)
Spoon a few tablespoons of thick coconut cream from the top of the coconut milk, place it in a large pot over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
Add 2/3 of the shallots and saute until they soften a bit, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and salt, and cook for another minute or two. Have a taste, and decide if you want to adjust the flavor - adding more curry paste or salt if needed.
Squeeze some lime juice over remaining shallots and set aside.
Add the rest of the coconut milk to the pot along with the potatoes, cover, and simmer until they are just starting to get tender throughout - about 10-15 minutes. At this point add the yellow beans, romanesco, and tofu. Let simmer for a couple of minutes, the potatoes should be completely tender by this point. Add the corn and remove from heat.
Serve each bowl topped with a sprinkling of the remaining shallots, fresh coriander seeds and feathery sprigs (or chopped cilantro), and more lime juice, to taste.
*You have some options here. I've cooked this with full-fat coconut milk, low-fat coconut milk, and another time with a blend of full-fat coconut milk + broth (half of each)....all are good. Full fat tastes quite decadent here, very rich. Although I normally don't buy lite coconut milk, I had a can on hand and used it - it was ok(!) for this curry. Or for a lighter broth without using "light" coconut milk, you can simply thin full-fat coconut milk to the consistency you like with some great-tasting broth - this also works great.
Thai Green Curry Paste
2 green hot chilies (Thai chilies)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 teaspoon chopped galangal
1/2 teaspoon chopped lime rind (pref. makrut lime)
1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass
1 tablespoon chopped krachai
1/4 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
If you have a good-sized mortar and pestle, put the green chilies in the mortar and pound, add the garlic and pound. Now add the shallots and pound - continue down the ingredient list pounding away. Alternately, give it all a whirl in a food processor.
Prep time: 30 minutes - Cook time: 10 minutes
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The taste of fresh coriander has always reminded me of Fruity Pebbles. I bet that they would be great in a sweet treat. Maybe with strawberries or plums. Hmm..
Thank you so much for this recipie. I was trying to work out what to do for dinner tonight and this is the perfect solution. I wil be adding eggplant and some pak choi.
Wonderful, wonderful... thank you Heidi!
The seed bouquet looks incredibly pretty and ethereal. I forget how beautiful they look because I am obsessed with continuously harvesting the leaves so that the plant doesn't go to seed. Even when it does seed though due to neglect, it is only a couple of wispy stalks but never in abundance. I must plant one of those coriander plants that says "for seed". Have you ever tried growing it yourself? I usually use the meagre amount of fresh seeds I get from my garden in a lassi or in Asian-inspired pestos.
My garden is just poping with goodies to try this. I was excited to see, and purchase as a gift, your latest book at the Santa Cruz, CA Costco. Placed right next to the organic foods they have showcased there.
I use bolted cilantro the same way I use fresh cilantro-- in salsa all summer. The punchy little gems are delicious, and change the flavor profile without altering the character of the finished product.
I grow my own cilantro, so this is a great use for the seed. We live "at the edge of civlilization", so I have no access to most of the ingredients to make my own green curry paste. I'll check at the local health food stores and Safeway to see if they have it ready-made. If not, is there a substitute I could use in this recipe? Our garden is just beginning to produce-we live at 6800' elevation-so we do have broccoli, potatoes, corn and green beans growing (some are re-growing after an elk invasion).
Hi Heidi! I also live in SF and I was wondering where you get all your curry ingredients. Does Rainbow usually have galangal , makrut lime, and krachai? And I am in love with all of your bowls - the flat bottomed ones with straight sides - just gorgeous. I would love to know where they are from! Looking forward to making this curry - thanks for another unique recipe :)
HS: Hi Kendall - yes, some of those Thai ingredients are tough to find. I just do my best between the markets and Rainbow / Bi-Rite...and often I just wing it using whatever tastes best - but that is the recipe I learned in Chiang Mai...and I'm wondering which bowls you're referring to!?
Have you ever seen the "Spice" cookbook by Ana Sortun? She is Chef/Owner of the Oleana restaurant in Cambridge Ma. She has a wonderful summer sangria recipe using coriander seeds!
I am smitten with the color palette of this dish. I wanted it in my kitchen before even looking at the ingredients.
I love green coriander seeds, they're great! i usually grow them at my garden, it's so easy! Just add them on a olive oil bottle and wait...the flavor of this oil is amazing! But seeds have to be green and fresh.
A few years ago I let cilantro go to seed in my garden...what a mistake! The next year I pulled out a full wheel-barrow (not kidding) of errant cilantro, and it's still coming up as volunteers. However, your mention of welcoming the immature seeds as seasoning gives me a new reason to let them grow, I'll just have to be careful not to allow them to ripen and drop.
Perfect timing for my stash of summer vegetables that are just starting to pop up. The seeds are good for making some Indian pickle.
I have tons of summer veggies to use up, and this sounds great. I need to get some summer squash cooking, so hopefully this will go on the agenda sooner rather than later. Thanks for the recipe!
Curry is also very popular in our house. I never realized the extent of all the possible different types of vegetables. Just love the photos, because it paints such a lovely appetizing picture.
looks amazing - beautiful photograph
This looks and sounds delicious. I'm a huge green curry fan.
I've not used the coriander seeds while they are so fresh and green before. I usually leave them on the plant until fully dried and then store them for planting later on or using in cooking. I'll have to pick some earlier next summer (in Aussie) so I can play around with them. What a great idea! xx
Coriander seeds should be appearing in my garden very soon! Was planning to dry them for next year but will have to try cooking with some as well. As for krachai, do you have a local source? I can find galangal but not krachai - should I substitute ginger?
Oh oh ohhhhhh this is gawgeous. Why is my face not in it?
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