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Mixed Vegetable Kadhai

A trio of vegetables in a totally delicious sauce

A kadhai – a certain spice combination – is both a type of restaurant dish and also a cooking pot, similar to a wok but with rounded sides. It is a really useful pot as it allows you to stir-fry with without worrying about bothersome edges, but also to cook a curry and do everything else you need in an Indian kitchen. The word kadhai also refers to the dish’s style and the spices used. This is a delicious and versatile sauce to have with any protein, but also works really well with vegetables, and is one of the dishes I order for my vegetarian husband in Indian restaurants (in India). Delicious with Indian breads, Naan or Flaky Malabar Paratha. —Anjum Anand, author of I Love India


For the kadhai masala

  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 3/4 Teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 –2 Kashmiri dried chiles (these are mild, if you don’t have them, use 1 red chile, or give them a miss)
  • 8 black peppercorns

For the sauce

  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon finely grated root ginger (peeled weight)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 3 medium-large tomatoes, blended until smooth
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 Teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves, crushed between your fingers
  • 2 –3 tbsp single (light) cream
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, to serve

For the vegetables (this is the classic version, but vary them as you like)

  • 1 potato, cut into 3⁄4 inch pieces
  • 1 small carrot, cut into half moons
  • 3 1/2 Ounces cauliflower cut into 1 1/2 inch florets
  • 2 Cups boiling water
  • 2/3 Cups frozen peas, defrosted


For the kadhai masala

In a small frying pan, gently dry-roast the spices for the kadhai masala, stirring often to avoid any burning. Once the coriander seeds have colored a little, pour everything into a spice blender and grind to a fine – or even slightly coarse – powder.

For the sauce

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan, add the onion and cook until golden on the edges. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute or until they smell cooked. Add the blended tomatoes, turmeric and salt and cook over a medium-high heat until the mixture has completely reduced and releases oil back into the pan.

For the vegetables (this is the classic version, but vary them as you like)

Stir in the potato and carrot, cover and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and boiling water and return to the boil. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked, adding the peas for the last couple of minutes.

Add the garam masala and fenugreek leaves to the pan and give it a stir. Take it off the heat and sprinkle over and shake in the cream and coriander. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.

Recipes excerpted with permission from I Love India by Anjum Anand, ( Quadrille September 2017)