We admit it, finishing a box of Imperfect produce can be a challenge some weeks. Days after the wide-eyed glee of customizing your box has vanished, you can be left with a mountain of produce racing towards their expiration dates, and no plan for how to use it all up. We’ll let you in on a secret: even Imperfect employees get stressed out about letting their carefully chosen produce go to waste. Thankfully we’ve found a solution, the unglamorously named, “kitchen sink curry,” where we throw in everything (but the kitchen sink!) into a delicious Sunday curry. Our marketing team has decided to share their favorite tips and tricks for a delicious and versatile curry that uses up all of your leftover Imperfect veggies. Want an easy recipe instead of tips and tricks? Try this one and get cooking! Without further ado, to make the ultimate curry:
- Cook with whole spices! Whole spices pack way more flavor than pre-ground spices and last for much longer as well. For curry, we stock our pantries with whole spices like cloves, cumin, coriander, mustard seed, dried chiles, and black pepper. To maximize their flavor, either dry toast them and grind them before adding them to the pan, or sauté them whole alongside your vegetables. To avoid having to pick out whole cloves from your finished dish, try throwing your spices in a tea ball or wrapping them in cheesecloth before adding them to the pan.
- Experiment with different cooking oils. In addition to neutral smoke point oils like avocado oil or grape seed oils, we love sautéing our aromatic vegetables in ghee (clarified butter) and/or coconut oil. Both ghee and coconut oil are heart-healthy, and add an indescribable richness to the final curry.
- It’s okay to use pre-made curry pastes and sauces. Don’t get us wrong. We’re big fans of homemade everything but sometimes a store-bought “compromise” like a curry sauce mix or paste is a great way to get dinner on the table fast without sacrificing flavor. We use them with our Imperfect boxes all the time and can honestly say that having a jar or tin of curry sauce around makes all the difference in the world when it comes to using up your leftover veggies.
- You don’t need meat to make a filling curry! Indian cuisine is world renowned as one of the most versatile vegetarian cuisines for good reason. To make an extra-filling vegetarian curry, use lots of starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes or try hearty legumes like lentils or chickpeas!
- Eggplant is a curry all-star! Eggplant is one of our favorite vegetables to add to curry because of its’ hearty, savory flavor, and ability to thicken and improve a sauce. One of our go-to moves with eggplant is to char the exterior over a gas burner, and then transfer it to a hot oven until it has steamed through. Once it’s cooled, the charred skin comes right off, revealing a creamy yet smoky interior that is the perfect addition to your curry.
- Try roasting your vegetables! Roasting isn’t just for eggplants. We pre-roast many of our curry veggies to add depth of flavor and so we don’t have to worry about softening them in the pan. This is especially useful for fibrous veggies like squash or sweet potatoes, but even pre-roasting onions or bell peppers will improve their flavor! When in doubt, cut any vegetable into uniform pieces and roast at 400F for 20-25 minutes.
- Mix up your curry side dishes! White or brown rice are always crowd pleasers, but why not try making coconut rice? Instead of water, cook the rice in a mixture of half coconut milk and half water for extra creamy and delicious rice. If you’re getting bored with rice, or want something healthier, try serving your curry with quinoa or amaranth!
- Let curry take you around the world! You don’t need to get your passport stamped to travel around the world. All you need is curry. In addition to the dozens of Indian curries to try, remember that there are also delicious curries from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Japan, and Jamaica out there. Curry is an enormous and flavorful world and we urge you to get exploring with your next box. Now anytime you’ve got a motley crew of leftover veggies, you know exactly what to do: make curry!