For a quick and flavorful weeknight dinner, this unique yellow curry is just the ticket: creamy and coconutty and packed with bold, balanced flavor on top of a bed of smoked basmati rice.
It’s a well-rounded, ultra-satisfying meal. What’s more, it’s ready in no time, and makes for some amazing leftovers.
The recipe you see here is certainly not what we started with; changing, evolving and improving each and every time we made it.
After first discovering the brilliance that is Vadouvan (I believe it was a magazine recipe that first mentioned this new-to-us spice blend), we whipped up a deliciously simple coconut curry with little more than chicken and onions. Flavorful, sure, and we definitely made note of its potential, but it was, frankly, lacking in the substance department. We tried adding sautéed spinach, cauliflower florets, and even tofu to give the dish more oomph and substance.
This most recent version, our favorite by far, adds tomato and okra. As it turns out, the hint of acid and sweetness from the tomato and the hearty texture of the okra, not to mention its natural thickening properties, are just what this dish needed.
The okra lends a lovely thick, velvety texture to the curry. Traditionally considered a Southern staple, okra is rather versatile and makes a perfect addition to curries like this one.
Okra is often chastised for it’s slimy texture (once you start slicing it you’ll know exactly what I mean). Here we’ve embraced the slime instead of fighting it: cooked down within the flavorful coconut curry sauce, the slime serves as a natural thickener, resulting in a unique velvety texture that simply can’t be reproduced with traditional thickeners like cornstarch or flour.
That said, the okra can only thicken the curry so much, so please, please use full fat coconut milk here. The lite stuff is simply too thin and watery and you won’t achieve the same rich results.
Can I also just take a moment to admire the beauty of okra? It might seem low-brow, but when you really stop to examine the geometric perfection of this unique pod, you really can’t help but admire it’s beauty. The fact that it’s delicious too, well, that’s just an added bonus.
This particular variety, gifted to us by a food-loving neighbor, is known as Star of David okra. I won’t nitpick the fact that it actually has 8 points, not 6, although I definitely see where they were coming from (since more common varieties of okra only have 5 points).