12 years ago this week, I married the most amazing man I have ever, ever met. Seeing he was born in the Andes, it feels like the perfect time to share this dish with you....
Please, please, please do not judge this delicious vegan cabbage curry on its appearance! What it lacks in looks, it makes up totally, utterly and completely in taste. This dish is so unique and its flavours so unexpected, I’m really, really proud to be able to feature it here on my blog.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from high up in the Andes.
When my husband was little and lived in the mountains of Ecuador, there was an old lady who used to sell cabbage and potatoes in a rich pumpkin seed and peanut sauce. She was the only person selling a vegetarian dish in the whole of the town. The old lady had her small stand on market day, just on the corner, where she stood behind a big black pot filled with boiled potatoes, cabbage and sauce.
My husband vividly remembers the dish’s aroma being enticing and mouth-watering. Unsurprisingly, there was always a long line of people queuing to buy and eat her food. As my husband spoke of his first encounter with this dish, my father in-law listened attentively and noted that he remembered his mother making a similar dish when he was young; my father in-law was quite certain that the dish's origins went back many, many years.
Sadly, the old lady’s spot on market day has since been taken over by those selling processed sausages and French fries :(. So, my husband and I were keen to recreate this ancient, long forgotten Andean dish just for you (and for our own bellies of course ;)).
We ‘veganised’ the original recipe, replacing the cow’s milk with almond milk. Furthermore, my husband drew on his international experiences to perfect the dish by adding lime and ginger, flavours more often associated with Asian curries than Andean food. Genius (see why I married this guy?).
Now, are you up for a challenge? Yes, good, cool, thought so. I challenge you to make this dish and not fall head over heels in love with it ;).
Thanks for reading everyone.
ANDEAN CABBAGE CURRY (V+, V, GF, P, NF)
Preparation Time: 5 - 10min
Cooking Time: 50 – 55 min
1 medium sized (organic) red or white onion, peeled and finely chopped
50g fresh (organic) ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
5 (organic) garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 vegetables stock cubes
A pinch of ground black pepper
1 medium sized cabbage, core removed, finely chopped (see tips for details)
A pinch of salt
500ml + 250ml of almond milk (see tips for substitutions)
1 tsp (organic) muscovado sugar
2-3 tbs of (organic) olive oil
7 tbs of (organic) unsalted and unsweetened smooth peanut butter or pumpkinseed butter (see tips below)
1 small chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
A pinch of dried oregano
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
A handful of washed and chopped (organic) coriander leaves
Place all your ingredients on the kitchen counter. Weigh, measure and prepare all your ingredients, ready for use.
Place the thinly sliced cabbage in a pot. Fill the pot with water, so that it just about covers the cabbage. Add a sprinkle of salt and boil over a medium heat for about 20 minutes – the cabbage should be just cooked with a little bit of a crunch left in it.
Whilst the cabbage is boiling, gently heat the oil in a separate large pot and add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger. Gentle stir the ingredients for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the ground cumin, ground pepper and vegetable stock cubes. Gently stir until all the ingredients are nicely combined. If you feel as though this mixture is getting too dry, please add a little bit of the water in which the cabbage is boiling to the mixture; it is important that the onions, garlic and ginger don’t dry out or burn! Instead, you want the chopped onion to become soft and translucent. After about 5-10 minutes of stirring your onions should be ready.
Drain the cabbage, leaving only a tiny bit of water in the pot. Add the cabbage and extra water to the onion mixture as well as 500ml of almond milk, nut- or pumpkinseed butter and sugar. Stir and combine everything. Note that the cabbage should just be submerged by the liquid. (At this point add the chilli pepper if using). Cover the pot and let everything boil and simmer over a medium heat for about 25 minutes.
You really want the flavours to intensify and the sauce to thicken through the reduction process. If after 25 minutes the sauce looks too watery, just allow it to reduce a little longer, say for another 5-10 minutes. In turn, if it all looks too dry, don’t be afraid to add some more water.
When this is done, add another 250ml of almond milk as well as a pinch of dried oregano and allow everything to simmer for another 5 minutes over a low heat.
When everything is ready, remove the pot from the heat, add the juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon and the chopped coriander leaves, serve and enjoy.
Eat with... boiled potatoes or quinoa.
Tip 1: You can use store-bought almond milk, as we did, or use home-made milk. You can find the recipe for home-made almond milk here.
Tip 2: For a nut-free option, please replace the almond milk with a nut-free milk such as (home-made) seedmilk (recipe here), rice or oat milk.
Tip 3: For a non-vegan version, you can of course use cow's milk. I'm not encouraging it though ;)
Tip 4: Please use pumpkinseed butter instead of peanut butter for a peanut/nut free version. We actually like to mix the different butters up in line with the original recipe, using about 4 tbs of peanutbutter and 3 tbs of pumpkinseed butter. But, the choice is yours.
Please note that if using pumpkinseed butter only, add an additional tbs of sugar. You may also need to reduce the mixture a little bit longer as pumpkinseed butter is runnier and lighter than peanut butter.
Tip 5: We usually use white cabbage, but you can also use savoy cabbage. Again it's about what works for you.