Posts Tagged ‘celeriac’

Celeriac and coconut curry

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Celeriac-coconut curry

As the summer vegetable season draws to a close, one of my consolations is the appearance on the market stalls of the first celeriacs.

They taste wonderful, raw or cooked, and when peeling them I always think I can smell a hint of coconut – perhaps my favourite food of all. One grey autumn day I decided to introduce them and this was the result:  a smooth, creamy curry brightened by turmeric, a spice whose many health benefits are just being discovered.

Celeriac often plays a bit part  – however vital – in recipes, but here it takes a starring role. I just hope its impeccable green credentials help to make up for the air (or maybe sea?) miles travelled by its tropical partner.

Those who like to use cayenne pepper in their cooking will know how much to add, but you can simply leave it out if you prefer a milder flavour.

I served this dish with round-grain brown rice and broccoli. Two of us had no trouble polishing off the lot, but it will serve four if you’re planning a starter and dessert as well..

1 average celeriac (about 400 g or 1 lb)
4 tbs olive oil

Pinch of fenugreek seeds
One star anise
2 cloves of garlic
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 small green pepper
1 small apple (about 100 g or 4 oz)
½ tsp salt
200ml (8 fl oz) coconut milk (half a tin)

1 small onion (about 50 g or 2 oz)
The juice of half a lime
30 g (1 oz) grated coconut

Peel the celeriac and cut into roughly 2 cm (1-inch) chunks.

Heat 2 tbs of the oil in a heavy sauté pan and pitch in the fenugreek and star anise. Let them sizzle for a few seconds, then add the celeriac and garlic. Stir well to coat them with oil. Add the turmeric, coriander, paprika and cayenne pepper (if using). Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the celeriac starts to colour.

De-seed the pepper, peel and core the apple and chop both roughly. Add them to the pan with the coconut milk, salt and 200 ml (8 fl oz) of water. Cover and simmer for about half an hour.

Meanwhile peel the onion, halve it horizontally and cut crosswise into very thin slices. Line a plate with a few sheets of kitchen paper. Heat the rest of the oil in a small frying pan and fry the onion until it turns a good reddish-brown, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn. As soon as the last white specks turn beige, remove the onion with a slotted spoon and spread it out on the plate. (The onion-flavoured oil can be used again).

When the curry has thickened, take out the garlic cloves and crush them with the back of a spoon. Return them to the sauce with the grated coconut and lime juice. Stir for a minute or two to warm through, add the onion and serve straight away.