Challenge Accepted: Vegetarian Curry Made From Fridge Scraps

My friend Jo publicly challenged me this week on Facebook: “I have a suggestion: what about some recipes which just use ingredients u have lying around in the back of the fridge? U know when u have to throw a meal together and have no time to buy special ingredients?”

Now I’m not one to back down from a challenge, especially kitchen-related. Jo recently took on her own personal challenge to train and run a marathon as a 40th birthday escapade, and is well on her way, so how can I say “no” to her. So this post is dedicated to all those kick-butt women out there like Jo, who set themselves life-changing goals and achieve them. My vegetarian curry made of kitchen scraps is a mere blip on the radar in comparison to what Jo and others like her are doing, so I will keep on cooking and live vicariously through Jo’s amazing journey!

So back to my fridge. It’s Thursday, which in my house means my kitchen is about as bare as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, so it wasn’t simple. Still, I do always have some trusted basics on hand in the fridge, even if there’s no meat or chicken to be seen. I give you all my word that I did NOT slip out to the supermarket for this. With the few basic veggies in my fridge and freezer, and the pathetic 3 tomatoes that were about to start growing their own life forms, I set out to make a vegetable curry. As an ex-South African, I do always have curry powder on hand – it’s a staple in my house.

This used to be a mainstay of mine in my vegetarian days. What’s good about this recipe is that you can add any vegetables you like. I would have loved to put in cauliflower, but I didn’t have any, so I made do…(but I have added it to the recipe).


Vegetarian Curry


2 large onions cut into 1 cm wide slices

5 medium-sized potatoes peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks

3 large carrots in 1 cm slices

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3-4 large, very ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped

About 2 cups of pumpkin cubed

About 2 cups of cauliflower florets (not included in the version pictured here)

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 cup thin frozen green beans

1 knob of fresh ginger chopped (about 2.5 cm²/1² inch)

4-5 cloves of garlic chopped

2 tablespoons medium curry powder*

¼ cup chutney

2 cups stock (I use parev chicken soup powder), enough to just cover the vegetables

3 tablespoons chopped coriander

How to do it

1. Heat the oil in a large pot and saute the onions until they start getting soft (add half a teaspoon of the curry powder to the onions) and stir.

2. Meanwhile peel and cut the potatoes and carrots and add them to the onions and saute on medium-low heat covered for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. If the veggies start sticking to the bottom of the pot, add a little more oil.

3.  Add the chopped garlic and ginger to the pot and stir around for a minute, then add the chopped tomatoes, stir and simmer for a few minutes.

4.  Add the pumpkin and cauliflower and stir

5. Add the stock, chutney, curry powder, coriander, corn and beans, mix, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrot are completely soft.

Serve with rice

*Curry powder differs and it’s just a mixture of different spices. The level of heat will differ depending on the curry spice you use, so adjust the quantities according to the curry powder you are using. I use a medium strength curry.


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