Two Vegetarian Curries from Our Cookbooks

marmalade tart

Vegetarian Chole Curry

This is a beautifully spiced North Indian chickpea curry, which not only draws upon Fortnum's long heritage of spice (they were selling them way before they became common culinary parlance), but caters to an ever-increasing appetite for healthy vegetarian dishes.

Cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, chilli and coriander seeds all meld to create a simple dish with endlessly exotic allure. Try to toast and grind your spices fresh, so all those lovely oils dance and dart about the tongue. If you wish to make the recipe entirely vegan, swap the ghee for a vegan substitute.


300g dried chickpeas, soaked in plenty of cold water overnight; 2 breakfast-blend tea bags, 1 black cardamom pod; 2 large onions; 3 tablespoon ghee; 1 tablespoon cumin seeds; 6 cloves; 1 green cardamom pod; 2 cinnamon sticks; 2 bay leaves; 1 tablespoon ginger paste; 1 tablespoon garlic paste; 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped; 1 teaspoon ground white pepper; 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds; 1 teaspoon ground cumin; 1 teaspoon ground coriander; 1 teaspoon ground tumeric; 1 tablespoon red chilli powder; 1 tablespoon anardana (pomegranate seed) powder (optional)' 1 teaspoon tomato puree; 400g tin of chopped tomatoes; 500ml water; Half bunch of coriander; juice of half a lime; 1 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder)' salt.


Drain the soaked chickpeas, then put them into a pan, cover with plenty of fresh water and add the tea bags and the black cardamom. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 50-60 minutes, until tender. Discard the tea bags, then drain the chickpeas and set aside (you can leave the black cardamom pod in with the chickpeas).

Peel and roughly chop the onions, then whiz them to a coarse paste in a food processor. Heat the ghee in a large pan, add the cumin seeds, cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves and saute over a medium heat for 20 seconds. Stir in the ginger and garlic pastes and the chopped fresh ginger and saute for a few seconds longer. Add the onions and cook gently for 8-10 minutes, until softened but not coloured.

Mix together the ground white pepper, fennel seeds, cumin, coriander, tumeric, red chilli powder and the anardana, if you have it. Add to the onion mixture and cook, stirring, over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, followed by the tinned tomatoes, and continue to stir for 3-4 minutes longer. Add the chickpeas and the water, bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is thick.

Chop the coriander leaves and stalks (a lot of the flavour is in the stalks) and stiry them into the curry, together with the lime juice and amchur. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve with basmati rice


Vegetarian Kedgeree

This is a dish with its roots deep in Empire, an Anglo-Indian classic that evolved from khichri, a fragrant mix of lentils, rice, herbs and spices. This obviously omits the fish, but the dish is as rich as it is regal. Do try to use fresh curry leaves, as they make all the difference. They're easy to find in Indian shops, and I've seen them in some large supermarkets too. If you really can't get hold of fresh, use double the amount of dried.


Half a small squash (about 400g), peeled, deseeded and diced; 1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets; 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; 1 teaspoon ground tumeric; 2 teaspoons ground cumin; 1 teaspoon ground cumin; 1 teaspoon ground coriander; 40g raisins; 25g unsalted butter; 2 shallots, diced; 2 garlic cloves, sliced; a small thumb of fresh ginger, peeled and grated; 5 fresh curry leaves, or 10 dried; Half teaspoon fennel seeds; 1 teaspooon medium curry powder; a pinch of saffron; 1 tablespoon tomato puree; 2 tablespoon tomato puree; 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar; 100g basmati rice; 100g green or black lentils; 400ml vegetable stock; 100m double cream; 4 eggs at room temperature


A small bunch of coriander, chopped (reserve a few springs for decoration); 1 green chilli, sliced (optional); 40g flaked almonds, toasted.


Toss the squash and cauliflower in a large roasting tray with vegetable oil, tumeric, cumin, coriander and a pinch of salt and pepper, then place in an oven heated at 220°/ Gas Mark 7 and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft throughout and charred in places.

Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside.

Heat the butter in a heavy-based casserole pan and fry the shallots, garlic and ginger over a low heat until soft, translucent and fragrant, but not browning. Add the curry leaves, fennel seeds, curry powder, saffron, tomato puree and white wine vinegar then cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly to give the spices a chance to toast.

Stir in the rice and lentils and pour in the vegetable stock. Increase the heat to medium to bring the pan to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes to reduce most of the liquid, then stir in the double cream, turn the heat back down to low and cover the pan with a lid for a final 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and allow the rice and lentils to rest and absorb the cooking liquid for 10 minutes.

During this time, half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Carefully add the eggs to the water and cook for 5 minutes, then put them into cold water to cool. Once cool, peel and keep aside. Stir the squash and cauliflower into the rice and lentils. Taste the kedgeree and adjust the seasoning. Divide between warm plates and top each portion with some coriander (keep a few leaves back for decoration), green chilli (if using) and flaked almonds. Place a soft-boiled egg on top, then crack over some black pepper and put a spring of coriander over each egg.