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Tomato and Coconut Curry

Maria Elia
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 15
  • Cooking: 20
  • Ready: 35

A summery one-pot curry that’s quick and easy to prepare.


  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 5 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • pinch of turmeric
  • pinch of ground coriander
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves (optional)
  • 1 x 400g tin coconut milk
  • 20 g palm sugar, grated
  • 3 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 800 g fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons Thai basil, chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok, add the mustard and cumin seeds and let them pop for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the curry leaves, garlic, ginger and chillies. Return to the heat and cook for a few seconds, taking care not to burn the garlic, then add the onion and cook until softened.

Add the turmeric, coriander, cardamom and cloves and cook for a further minute. Add the coconut milk, palm sugar and fenugreek leaves and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for a further 5 minutes, adding a little water if too thick. Stir in the herbs, season and then serve with rice or lentils and poppadoms.

Additonal notes

Maria Elia is a chef and author. This recipe is taken from her book The Modern Vegetarian, published by Kyle Books. Photograph by Jonathan Gregson.

“Allison, my flatmate, grows pots of tumbling cherry vine tomatoes in the summer, which means that I am always creating new tomato recipes in which to use them. Try varying the curry by adding broad beans, fresh peas or courgettes, or play around with the tomatoes, using a mix of green, tiger and yellow.”

See Maria Elia making this recipe in her Meat Free Monday School Cookery Workshop.


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