Long ago, before I had met my dear husband and while I was still living in New York, I lived a pretty typical NYC life. Well that’s not fair. I’m not sure there is a “typical New Yorker.” It may be more accurate to say I lived a pretty typical single-white-girl-in-her-mid-20s-living-in-Queens-working-in-theater-NYC life (yes, that is the box I would check on my tax forms).
Regardless of age, gender, or profession, however, most New Yorkers that I have met have a similar attitude towards food. And that is, to put it simply, eating out.
There’s many reasons for this of course. The NYC hard work ethic is a true stereotype, and many find it hard to justify “taking a break” to make food. And why bother, when the eating out possibilities are literally endless (I truly believe that, even if you tried to eat at a new restaurant everyday, you would never run out, because turn around is also huge in the NY restaurant scene).
So I was definitely not alone, having fallen into the Takeout Trap. But then I started getting into yoga. And apartment gardening. And a more natural lifestyle in general. And finally, into healthy, make-it-myself eating.
I discovered NYC’s amazing green markets during this time (Union Square is my favorite), and found that it was often cheaper to buy my produce at these markets than at conventional grocery stores.
I also started using my “weekend” (typically Monday in the theater world) to make meals in bulk to last me the rest of the week. (I know the idea of meal prep is very common, but at the time and place, it was a revolutionary concept to me!)
This curry recipe started out as one of those meal prep meals. I don’t even remember what was in that first curry, but it worked so well, I would make some version of it at least once a month
Fast forward a few years, and for whatever reason, I had forgotten about my once-loved curry. I had met my now husband, and we were living in our first apartment in Sweden. We were both hangry, and there was of course “no food in the house.” What we did have though, was a half jar of tomato sauce, some overripe tomatoes, coconut milk, chickpeas, leftover vegetables (kale and broccoli I think), and a well-stocked spice drawer. As I looked into the sad contents of the refrigerator for the umpteenth time, something clicked, and memories of those Monday afternoons spent meal prepping came flooding back. I made the curry, we ate it, and peace was restored. In addition, we added another recipe to our repertoire, and, as long as we kept things like crushed tomatoes and coconut oil as staples, a great way to use up leftovers.
Which is how this came to be known as Kitchen Sink Curry in my household. My Swedish husband has an affinity for American idioms, and remarked once that I have, at some point or another, added everything but the kitchen sink to it. What I’ve provided is the base recipe that I generally use, but it is such a versatile recipe, I’ve never made the same curry twice. I’ve included some variation suggestions in the notes section, but would love to hear what you use to make it. So have fun experimenting and be sure to comment below!
Kitchen Sink Curry
An easily customizable dish designed to use up leftover veggies in your fridge.
- 2-3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 4 tsp curry powder
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- dash of chili or cayenne powder
- 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 can or tetra pack chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can or tetra pack crushed tomatoes
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 bunch dark greens (such as kale or spinach), cleaned and cut/torn into bite-sized pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in spices.
- Add onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant and onion is beginning to turn translucent.
- Stir in chickpeas until fully coated with oil (they should be a bright yellow from the turmeric)
- Add crushed tomatoes and coconut milk and stir till combined.
- Allow curry to come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer uncovered for at least 20 minutes, until curry has reached consistency you prefer (longer for thicker stews, shorter for thinner).
- Add in greens and cook until they start to wilt, but are still bright green. Salt and pepper to taste and serve!