Project Description

Dans Vegetable Jalfrezi is our first bilingual recipe! Hier geht’s zur deutschen Version.

The jalfrezi is the most popular vegetable curry in the UK and for good reason: it’s based on the proven combination of onion and tomato and is spicy enough to taste like a classic curry without the heat dominating the other flavours. It’s definitely a dish for vegetable lovers, too; whilst I’ve heard of chefs adding things like chickpeas to their jalfrezis – which is definitely an option – I prefer to give the veg centre stage, with the cauliflower the star performer. It’s important to understand that the jalfrezi – unlike the korma, for instance – is a relatively dry curry, as it’s not served in a sauce as such: the vegetables get covered in the spicy paste, the sweetness of the tomatoes balancing the spiciness. For added sweetness, the pomegranate seeds and powder are an interesting optional addition, and I always add tomato wedges, designed to keep their shape, just before serving.

The success of the dish depends primarily on the texture of the veg, so the blanching times are important. Naturally, there is room for experimentation in terms of which vegetables to use, but starchy veg are discouraged: potatoes and parsnips are great in other curries, but the jalfrezi doesn’t bring out the best in them. Because it’s not in a sauce, the jalfrezi is complemented especially well by a dal, although it works served just with basmati rice, too. The feeling of having had a healthy, filling portion of vegetables normally lasts about two hours, in my case at least.

4 servings. 60 minutes

You’ll need:

  • Half a medium cauliflower
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 courgette
  • 150g green beans
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 red chilli peppers or 1t cayenne pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 large thumb sized piece of ginger
  • A small bunch fresh coriander
  • 1½T oil
  • 1T cumin seeds
  • 1T garam masala
  • 1t turmeric
  • 1½t salt
  • 1 red pepper
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 1T coriander seeds
  • 3T pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • 1t dried pomegranate (optional)


  1. Cut the cauliflower, carrot, courgette and green beans into bite sized pieces. Blanche these vegetables by bringing roughly two and a half litres of water to the boil, adding half a teaspoon salt, boiling the cauliflower for 8 minutes, the carrot for 6 minutes, and the courgette and the green beans for 3 minutes, then removing them from the heat immediately and pouring cold water over them until they completely stop cooking.
  2. Whilst the vegetables are cooking, chop the 2 onions and 2 of the tomatoes, slice the 2 red chilli peppers into small pieces (if using), mince the garlic (3 cloves), grate the ginger (1 large thumb sized piece), and cut the coriander stalks into small pieces to make 1 teaspoon. Once you’ve done this it’ll probably be time to remove the vegetables from the hob.
  3. Heat the oil (1½T) in the pan and sizzle the cumin seeds (1T) together with the garlic, ginger and coriander stalks for 1 minute. Then add the onion and fry until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped tomato, the red chilli peppers or cayenne pepper (1t), garam masala (1T), turmeric (1t), and the salt (1½t). Fry the mixture until the tomatoes become mushy and a paste is formed, about 4 minutes.
    Add the blanched vegetables and a tablespoon of water and mix thoroughly with the paste. Chop the pepper into bite sized pieces and add to the pan. Add the peas (150g) and cook at a medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the coriander seeds (1T) over a high heat for 3 minutes. Grind them in a mortar and pestle and put them to one side. Prepare the pomegranate seeds (if using) by removing them from the pomegranate. Shortly before removing from the heat, add the third tomato cut into eight wedges, the ground coriander seeds, the pomegranate seeds, and the pomegranate powder (1t, if using). Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve.