Serves 4 as main course. This dish uses ingredients that are available fresh and locally at the time. It does not need processed foods or lots of exotic imports and most of the items can be replaced to suit availability or your taste.
For the spice paste:
A thumb size piece each of fresh garlic, turmeric root, ginger root and galangal root
Chilli to taste
4 coriander roots
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon rock salt
2 lemongrass stalks
2 tablespoons good quality oil or ghee
2 teaspoons cumin powder
For the sauce:
2 cups dessicated coconut or 1 tin of coconut milk
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
For the vegetables:
Any or all of the following – 1.5 kg in total
Carrot, sweet potato, mushrooms, bok choy, green beans, onion, green pawpaw, green banana, pumpkin, potato, eggplant
To top it off:
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Toasted macadamias or peanuts
Roughly chop the spice paste ingredients then place in a mortar and crush until a rough paste is formed.
Heat the oil in a pan then cook the ingredients until aromatic, adding the cumin at that point. Mix through the hard vegetables and cook for 2 minutes or until nicely coated with the spice mix. Put 1 cup of water in the pan and deglaze. Then put in the kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk. Add the other vegetables and cook until tender but not mushy. Some more water may need to be added during cooking depending on your choice of vegetables.
Serve in a generous bowl with steamed or sticky rice and garnish with the leaves, tomatoes and nuts. If using curry leaves drop in hot oil for a few seconds before adding to the dish.