Healthy Veg Curry Bowl

Curry bowls are quite the rage these days. Open Pinterest or any food websites, and I'm quite sure you will find some of these gorgeous bowls loaded with healthy ingredients staring back at you. When I first read about curry bowls, I went hmphhh and said to myself, "this is how I eat my sambar, rice and veggies in one bowl on most weekdays for lunch".  But smirks and jokes apart,  they are much more than just mixing a dal, rice and veggies in a bowl, even though that also well qualifies to be a 'curry bowl' :D

From what I have understood, a curry bowl comprises a curry - which could be any curry of your choice, made using vegetables or meat or both, a kind of grain to soak up all the curry liquids and a variety of toppings to add interest, colour and texture to your bowl.

Also read: How to make a quinoa bowl
I usually make a quick Thai curry from a ready paste and reconstituted coconut powder, especially because chopping up and then cooking the vegetables and the grains takes some time, and I don't have time to make the curry paste from scratch for a weekday lunch. This is a great way to get your 5 a day share of vegetables. Even if you are using a protein like tofu or chicken, make sure you add a mix of colourful vegetables too, to make it healthier.

For the grains, you could choose from cooked broken wheat (dalia)/ brown rice/ red rice/ couscous/ quinoa or even millets. Most of these grains are best cooked with 1:2 water, so that they remain fluffy and not clumped up. In my experience, brown rice cooks best in pressure cooker. Keep the flame on Sim for 10-12 minutes after one whistle and then switch off, allowing the cooker to cool down. When you open the cooker, the grains will be perfectly cooked. The other grains like dalia, millets and quinoa can be cooked on stove top or rice cooker. Couscous needs no cooking, just soaking in boiling hot water. You can also choose noodles instead of any of the above grains.

The toppings are what make the curry bowl so much more interesting than just a mix of curry and rice. Chopped boiled eggs, toasted peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped herbs, pickled onions, stir fried greens, sesame seeds, julienned lemongrass, all make wonderfully flavourful toppings.

Recipe for a Healthy Veg Curry Bowl
Makes 1 large bowl
Time taken: Under 30 minutes

Equipment required: Pressure Pan to cook the brown rice

 1/4 - 1/3 cup brown rice (raw)

For curry:
1 tsp oil
1/2 onion, peeled, halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small eggplant, diced
1/4 cup diced yellow pumpkin
4-5 green beans, julienned
1/4 cup diced zucchini
1/4 cup diced carrots
1 tsp grated fresh turmeric (optional)
1/4-1/2 tsp salt (depending on salt in the curry paste)
1 heaped tablespoon Thai red curry paste
2 heaped tbsp of coconut power + 150 ml lukewarm water (or 150 ml coconut milk)
Water if required, to thin curry

For toppings:
1 cup finely chopped greens (I used Bathua / goosefoot)
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper

2 tbsp julienned spring onion greens
1-2 tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed coarsely

To cook brown rice, rinse in water once, drain and place in a pressure pan with twice the quantity of water. Cover the cooker with its lid and the whistle and keep flame on high. After one whistle, lower flame to Sim and cook for 12 minutes. Turn off the flame and allow to cool and pressure to drop. After opening cooker, fluff up grains with fork. If any extra water is leftover in the cooker, unabsorbed by the rice, using a colander, drain it in a bowl and add this to the curry. 

To prepare curry, in a wide pan, heat 1 tsp oil. Saute the onion and garlic for 1 minute on medium heat.
Add all other vegetables, stir on high flame for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup water, pinch of salt, cover and cook until nearly tender.
Add the red curry paste and stir well for 30 seconds - 1 min. 
Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer, adding a little water to thin the curry if too thick.
To prepare topping, add 1 tsp oil in a pan. Add sesame seeds and garlic and stir for few seconds, until sesame seeds start popping. Add finely chopped greens and stir until wilted. Season with a little sprinkle of salt and pepper.

To assemble curry bowl, in a large bowl, serve the rice to one side. Ladle the curry on the other side and some over the rice. 
Top with sautéed greens with sesame seeds, roasted peanuts and spring onion juliennes.
Before eating, stir it all together with a fork and tuck in.

This makes a very hearty and delicious lunch for me on weekdays. In fact almost all the components can be prepped ahead of time, when you are spending time in the kitchen. Come lunch time, you can mix them in a bowl and enjoy it. Even for a lunch at work,  you can carry the grains, curry and toppings in a 3 tiered leakproof Tupperware and mix them in a dish or bowl during lunchtime. 

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