Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Sarah Beatties Vegan Tamarind Parsnip Curry

I'm not one for parsnips.  I find them awfully sweet, therefore better suited in my humble opinion to sweet vegetable desserts like my vegan Pomegranate Parsnip Cake, Violet and Parsnip Cake;  there is even a vegetarian version Violet and Parsnip Cake or a retro version made with hazelnuts.   But when it comes to savoury parsnip dishes you will often find a bit of trepidation on my part. D put a mound of them on my plate on my Vegetarian Roast dinner plate whilst we were at his mums for Christmas day.  I gave him a big mean look, he smiled back.  

Saying all this, I really wanted to try this savoury recipe with parsnips.  I could already imagine how the turmeric would dye the white-creamy root parsnip into golden bites.  I could already imagine how the sharp tangy tamarind sauce would infuse the sickly sweet parsnip transforming it into something very delectable with flavour and bite.  I didn't want to imagine anymore.  I wanted to try it for real.  The recipe comes from one of my new vegetarian cookbooks: Meat-Free Any Day by Sarah Beattie, bestowed upon me by my lovely husband for Christmas.  Question was, what to cook from it first? Whilst turning the pages over slowly a couple of evenings back, I finally decided on this one for Parsnip and Tamarind Curry.  
Wow, would you believe it.  I really enjoyed every mouth full.  The Tamarind Parsnip Curry was every thing I had expected it to be, but more as the spiced coconut sauce was utterly gorgeous too, I really could have licked the plate clean.  What is more surprising is that even D liked it.  I think I mentioned before on my blog that D is not overly keen on the tamarind flavour,  but he really really liked this.  He impressed me further, by picking out other spices, namely the mustard seeds.

I followed the recipe word for word, but *omitted just one ingredient - the brown sugar - do I even need to tell you why (and I hope Sarah is okay with this omission).  I am sharing this recipe with Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes for January's edition of Bookmarked Recipes. 
Parsnip and Tamarind Curry
Serves 6
500g small parsnips, peeled and halved
60ml vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green chilli, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 large tomatoes (or 1/2 tin of tinned tomatoes)
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (* see note above)
2 teaspoon tamarind paste mixed with i tablespoon boiler water or 1 tablespoon prepared tamarind
200ml coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
50g small chard or spinach leaves
Optional: Flaked almonds and fresh coriander
Parboil the parsnips for 10 minutes.
While they are cooking, heat the oil and fry the onion, green chilli, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, mustard and cinnamon.  Stir frequently until golden  Add the drained parsnips, turmeric, and chilli powder.  Cook for 1 minute then add the tomatoes, *sugar and tamarind.
Cook for 5 minutes, then add the coconut milk and season with salt and pepper.  Cook stirring until the mixture is simmering.   Add the chard or spinach and cook for a couple of minutes.
Scatter over the almonds and coriander (if using) and serve with flat bread or rice. 
Recipe republished with kind permission from Sarah Beattie Author of Meat-Free Any Day: Food For All Reasons. Check out Sarah Beatties Facebook Page too. 


  1. Wow, I wouldn't have put parsnips into a curry any time soon, but this really seems to be a great dish!

    1. Nor me, but I really really enjoyed it and would make it again for sure.

  2. I adore parsnips, sweet or savoury; especially with Asian spices, so this recipe is great for me! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. I love parsnips but not so much tamarind - so this sounds yummy (going on D's reaction) and also love the photo (am a bit behind but have been reading here more than commenting lately)

    1. Yeah if D liked them, I have a feeling you will too. I understand your busy with your big sister being over, so enjoy - don't worry about commenting so much.

  4. Happy New Year! Thank you so much for your lovely note! :-) I hope you are well and had lovely holidays!
    This dish looks delicious! I love parsnips but my husband agrees with you that they are too sweet so this dish would be perfect for both of us! :-)

    1. Thank you Astra.
      Give this dish a try, if I was sold by it, I am sure your handsome man will be too.

  5. Oh Shaheen, I am really keen on trying this. It looks glorious and unlike the masses, I LOVE tamarind! :)

    1. Thanks Janet.
      I hope you do, it really was very good. I enjoyed every mouthful. So god to know you like tamarind too, i like the stuff - a good pick me up when I am feeling poorly, a bit like marmite.

  6. I, too, am not so fond of parsnips. I feel like I *should* like them - there aren't many things I don't like - but I just...don't. Sometimes my husband hits on a recipe that surprises me but in general I barely tolerate them. I do love, LOVE, tamarind, so perhaps this is the recipe I've been needing. I hope to make it soon - I will update you when I do! Thanks Shaheen!

    1. yes, like you I sought of put up with them, when the appear in my home. You must try this recipe for sure, I loved the way the tamarind totally infused the parsnips, altering its flavour a touch so to make it more palettable for my taste buds, I really did enjoy it and hope you do too. Pls let me know. Also a very happy new year to you RuckusButt


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