Dry Toasted Spices
Skip this stage if you are using shop bought Garam Masala powder.
In a dry pan toast the peppercorns and coriander seeds on a low heat for one minute.
Add the fennel and cumin seeds and continue to toast for 30 seconds, stirring and swirling the pan to avoid burning.
Remove from the heat and crush the warm spices in a pestle and mortar until reduced to a fine powder.
Set aside until the recipe calls for the dry toasted spices.
Vegan Mince and Potato Curry
Prep, Chop and weigh everything. Have all the ingredients laid out, ready to hand. Taking 10 minutes to do this now saves lots of time and stress during cooking.
Heat a deep, heavy bottom pan on a medium heat and once hot add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Carefully add the cinnamon sticks, star anise and cardamom pods to the hot oil. Stir fry for 1 minute.
Add the onions into the fragrant oil, stirring well to coat and fry for 10 minutes. Stir frequently until beginning to colour.
Add potatoes, carrots and garlic to the pan and stir well. Once combined add the toasted dry spice mix, turmeric, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and the crumbled stock cubes. Stir frequently and reduce the heat if the spices begin to catch.
After 5 minutes add the peppers. Stir thoroughly and continue to fry for a further 5 minutes.
Boil 1/2 litre of water in the kettle and add to the pot with the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and green beans. Stir well and fast simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Stir briskly every 5 minutes or so trying to minimise the length of time the lid is removed.
At this point I prefer to remove the hard spices with a slotted spoon but it's a bit of a pain and not really necessary. I keep telling myself I'll buy some muslin spice bags to make this stage easier but I never get around to it :-)
Reduce the heat to low and add the mince and peas. Slow simmer with the lid removed for another 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir through the yoghurt. Serve sprinkled with chopped pistachio and basmati rice, pitta bread or chapati.
I always make enough for 2 days as the flavours and spices develop and deepen overnight.