Spring Vegetable Curry

spring vegetable curry So, May is just around the corner, and Eric and I are coming up on our five-year anniversary. And without reservation, I can say that being married to him is the best part of my life…I mean, who else would find this as funny as I do…or share my deep but generationally-misplaced love of antiques…or have a an eerily similar admiration for everything Wes Anderson even thinks about doing?

potatoes But it’s not as though we are completely the same person. We most certainly have our differences as every good marriage does. For example…

…I’m completely anal about our house being picked up and generally clean. Eric, left to his own devices, could most likely go eight months to a year without thinking about sweeping.

…Eric is totally laid back, willing to take things as they come, generally at peace with life. I, on the other hand, overanalayze, overworry, and overprepare in a way that makes the Dowager Countess seem easy-going.

…Eric knows more about baseball than anyone I know. I know more about grammar than most people would ever want to know.

…My idea of a successful Saturday includes moderate to severe sleeping in, then several hours of accomplishing tasks on my never-ending lists, finished off with a nap in the sun. Eric’s idea of a perfect Saturday includes opening the curtains once he senses light outside, lounging and internetting for most of the day, and some form of pizza.

curry Marriage is compromise. Marriage is the blending of elements that don’t naturally coexist. Marriage is acknowledging the complete otherness of your spouse, fighting the urge to change everything about them with the realization that you too, have your own, annoying habits and inclinations, and then finding, by trial and error, that each of your strengths balance out and make better the weaknesses of the other.

leek And just like the oddest of things paired together in marriage can make something fantastically wonderful, so it is with this curry….(Segway!)

Seriously, this curry is a true combination of winter and spring. Root-cellared potatoes, onions, and carrots just barely hanging on to life combined with the fresh spring spinach, peas, and leeks – this is a combination made so, so much more interesting by the juxtaposition of the players here. As soon as I saw this recipe in the Northern Heartland Kitchen cookbook, I knew I had to make it for the blog. This recipe is the perfect transition from winter to spring – a way to use up those colorless winter vegetables and introduce the earliest greens of spring back into your diet. This is a simple curry, incredibly hearty with all of the veggies, and made perfect by the addition of dried cranberries (trust me on this).

vegetables * Vegetarian Tip: I used chicken in this recipe, but feel free to leave it out and replace it with four cups cooked or canned chick peas.

Spring Vegetable Curry

Spring Vegetable Curry

(recipe adapted from The Northern Heartland Kitchen Cookbook by Beth Dooley )

(yields 6 servings)

The main way that I adapted this recipe was to replace 4 c. of cooked chickpeas with 1 lb. of chicken breast, which was totally based on personal preference. Additionally, I used way more lime, cilantro, and dried cranberries than the original recipe calls for.


3 tbsp. butter or vegetable oil

Additional 1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil

3 tbsp. curry powder

1 medium-large yellow onion, diced

1 large leek (white part only), slit vertically, rinsed, then sliced OR 3 ramps

1 c. carrots, peeled and diced

1 c. potatoes, diced (about 1 large)

1 c. shelled peas, fresh or frozen

2 c. fresh spinach, packed (I ripped mine because the leaves were large)

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes*

1 c. coconut milk

juice of 3/4 lime, or to taste

salt and pepper, to taste


1 c. fresh cilantro, chopped (or to taste)

1 c. dried cranberries or cherries or both (I used cranberries)


Serve over any of the following: brown rice, barley, mashed sweet potatoes, or noodles. We used rice, but I think any of these options would be fantastic.


*The original recipe calls for 4 c. cooked chickpeas, not chicken, if you're trying to keep this vegetarian.


In a small frying pan, pour about 1 tbsp. of olive oil or vegetable oil. Saute the chicken cubes until no longer pink, and slightly browned on the outside. Just before they begin to brown, sprinkle with salt and pepper. When done, set aside.


In a large wok or skillet, heat butter or oil over medium-high heat. Add the curry powder, onion, and leeks/ramps, and stir fry for about 1 minute.


Add the carrots and potatoes, stirring to coat. Then cover the pan and steam until the vegetables begin to soften a little - about 3-5 minutes. If they begin to stick or burn, add a little water.


When you can get a fork through the potatoes and carrots without straining yourself, add the peas, spinach, and chicken (or chickpeas if using). Stir in the coconut milk. Cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender - about 3 minutes.

Add the lime, salt, and pepper.


Serve over any of the options listed above, and garnish with the cilantro and dried cranberries or cherries.

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6 thoughts on “Spring Vegetable Curry

  1. I *loved* your descriptions of each other…Liz, thank you for your Liz-ness. I don’t know how you can make me enjoy reading a recipe which involves cranberries and chicken as bedfellows, but you do.

  2. If it makes you feel any better, I thought of you as I typed in the dried cranberries/cherries to the recipe. I knew you’d grimace. And I was sad – because they truly make this meal amazing.

    • It’s definitely been a process! I think I made my first curry dish 2 years ago when we lived in Korea with no oven, and only 2 burners. Every year I tell myself that THIS will be the year I learn how to really cook Indian food, and maybe even take a community ed. class. Sigh – I guess it’s only May :) I like this curry recipe because it’s so simple – hard to mess up, even for curry newbies! Good luck!

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