Kim Roasted Vegetables with Yellow Curry Sauce

by Cara Nicoletti on April 3, 2012

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In my roughly twenty-three years of reading there are three books that I have hated enough to actually throw across the room. One was Longitude by Dava Sobel–really, of all the exciting, inspiring, relevant books you could assign to teenagers for school-wide assigned summer reading WHY would you choose this? The other was A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley which I was assigned my junior year of high school. I was going through a serious Shakespeare phase (see also: know-it-all phase) and I found this re-imagining of King Lear tawdry and badly done. The third was Kim, a novel by Rudyard Kipling that I was assigned my Junior year of college and the novel that I willingly chose to re-read for today’s post.

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I read Kim in my nineteenth century British novel class–a class I had been trying desperately to get into since my freshman year of college but which always closed before I could claim a spot. I imagined that this class would be the best I ever took because I would finally be assigned Victorian novels–my most favorite kind–maybe we would even spend weeks studying gothic romances, obscure female authors, mystery novels! I could hardly contain my excitement.

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Instead, I had a professor who only wanted to study post-colonial literature written by men, which certainly has its merits but was not was I was expecting. I was profoundly disappointed, and the apex of this disappointment came when I tried to read Kim. I grew up loving The Jungle Book so I thought that maybe Kim wouldn’t be so bad. I was sorely mistaken (it seems the theme of this post is “never get your hopes up ever about anything”).

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Kim is the story of a little boy named Kimball O’Hara. Kim is the son of an Irish soldier and poor white mother–both of whom have died and left him under the care of an opium-smoking “half-caste” woman in India. Kim is woefully neglected by his caretaker and is constantly escaping the house to find food elsewhere. The food scenes in Kim are, in my opinion, its only saving grace. While Kipling’s feelings of racial superiority and belief that India deserved to be colonized by the British is made clear from the novel’s beginning, a true and genuine respect for and love of Indian food can be seen in Kim’s food descriptions.

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Kim is eventually discovered by his father’s regimental chaplain who recognizes his ability to blend in seamlessly and “borrow right-and left-handedly from all the customs of the country he knew and loved” (121) and thinks it could be useful as a military espionage tool. Kim is called “Little Friend of All the World” because  “no white man knows this land as thou knowest” (139) and Kipling’s descriptions of him eating Indian cuisine are a way of furthering this notion–Kim is quite literally ingesting Indian culture.

‘But my yogi is not a cow,’ said Kim, gravely, making a hole with his fingers in the top of the mound. ‘A little curry is good, and a fried cake and a morsel of conserve would please him, I think.”It is a hole as big as thy head,’ said the woman fretfully. But she filled it, none the less, with good, steaming vegetable curry, clapped a dried cake atop, and a morsel of clarified butter on the cake, dabbed a lump of sour tamarind conserve at the side; and Kim looked at the load lovingly. (22-23)

As disappointed and frustrated as I was by Kim I did gain one thing from reading it–an undying love of vegetable curry. I had never had a taste for curry until I read this book and found my mouth-watering at every curry description. For the two weeks we studied the novel I would leave class and go straight to Curry Kitchen to do my homework in front of steaming bowls of nav rattan curry or bharta.

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Recently, my cousin’s fiance, Pete who works for his family’s spice company, brought me back some incredible curry powders from his trip to India. Smelling them I was immediately brought back to that period of time five years ago, reading Kim and living off of Curry Kitchen dinner specials.

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A craving for curry that strong has to be solved immediately with whatever one has in her fridge, so the dish I made is by no means a traditional Indian vegetable curry, but it cured my craving and was delicious nonetheless. Sub whatever vegetables you want in place of the ones I used (although I will say that this mix was really well-rounded in terms of texture and flavor). You can also use raisins or any other dried fruit in place of dried cranberries and whatever kind of rice you like most.

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Kim Roasted Vegetables with Yellow Curry Sauce
Serves 4-5
Ingredients:
For the Roasted Vegetables:

  • 3 medium-sized red beets
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 1 dozen baby carrots
  • 1 medium white onions
  • 3 heads of baby bok choy
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • lots of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:

To roast the beets: first remove the leaves and wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt and debris.  Cut off a large piece of tinfoil and lay the beets out on them. Rub them in olive oil, cover with salt and pepper, add thyme sprigs and 3 cloves of garlic (smashed with the palm of your hand). Make a pouch with the tinfoil around the beets and put them on a sheet pan. Roast at 375 for about 45 minutes or until a fork can easily puncture the skin. You can peel the skin off by rubbing it with a clean dish towel.

The peppers, onion, carrots, and fennel I just washed, trimmed, cut, covered in olive oil salt and pepper and roasted at 375 for about 25-30 minutes, checking them at regular intervals to toss and rotate. The bok choi and snap peas I cooked in a wok with olive oil, tossing them vigorously for only about a minute so they were cooked but still crispy.

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Curry Sauce

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes

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Directions:

Melt butter in skillet, add diced onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and fresh ginger and cook for another minute or so. Put chicken broth in a separate pan to heat up. Lower heat and add curry powder to onions and mix until it coats everything in the pan. Add flour and stir to make a paste. Slowly add warmed chicken broth to curry onion mixture, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens–about 5-7 minutes. Add brown sugar and diced tomatoes and allow to cook on medium low heat for another 10-12 minutes. Once the mixture was cool enough I put it in a blender and blended it until smooth (this is optional if you don’t mind a chunky sauce).

Cook rice according to package directions (I used jasmine rice). Heap vegetables on top of rice, cover in curry sauce and sprinkle with dried cranberries.

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Leave a Comment

ande April 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm

BEST ONE YET!!!!! pictures are aahhhmazing!! so yummy! great job!

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robincoyle April 3, 2012 at 6:42 pm

You made my mouth water!

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yummybooks April 5, 2012 at 12:07 am

So glad you stopped by, Robin! Just looked at the bio on your fantastic site and saw you have three daughters and a mini dachshund–I’m one of three daughters and grew up surrounded by mini dachshunds!

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Marylinn Kelly April 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Last night I thought “vegetable curry,” I must find a recipe. I saw your link at Susan T. Landry’s blog and all is well. Thank you. I’ll be back.

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silverfinofhope April 4, 2012 at 8:17 am

Deliciousness!

I’m about to re-enter college, and now I’m half anxious, half excited about the prospect of being assigned Kim to read.

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yummybooks April 5, 2012 at 12:00 am

How exciting! If you are assigned Kim at least you know there are curry scenes to look forward to!

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Marylinn Kelly April 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Cara, I linked to your KIM post today and hope that is acceptable. I wanted to share your blog and my happy accident of finding the curry recipe. Thank you.

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yummybooks April 4, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Absolutely! Thank you Marylinn, your blog is beautiful, I’m so glad serendipity was on your side yesterday and led you my way–let me know how your curry turns out!

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Elizabeth April 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Does your talent never end? These photos are extraordinary — and in another case of complete simpatico, I’m in total agreement about the three books that you nearly threw across the room! I love that you plucked the food stuff out, though, and honored that.

And I’m glad you clarified your work history for one of my “snarky” (although she’s a doll, really1) readers. I am married to a chef and used to be a pastry chef, so I’m perfectly aware of the brutal and relentless work of the business. In fact, you couldn’t PAY me to do it full-time again!

I’m so glad you have the passion to create this blog for the rest of us!

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yummybooks April 4, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Elizabeth, I spent a good portion of my evening on your blog (I have so much time on my hands after all ;-) ) and I just wanted to tell you how wonderful and talented YOU are. I’m so glad the “blogosphere” put us in touch, I will be stopping by your corner often.

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mjau.Qi April 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm

1. I love your recipes!
2. Am hungry now!
3. Wellcome on my food blog!

regards from Slovenia!

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yummybooks April 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Thank you for stopping by all the way from Slovenia!

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Linda April 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Fragrance and memory last longer than almost anything else!

Watch and or read the novel The Jewel in the Crown (The Raj Quartet) by xxx Scott, a BBC/pbs TV program (1980) that made me remember Indian food fragrances! (In addition to being political, creepy, historical, Indian and British., compelling, and a more realistic story about the contact of those two cultures. )

I’ll try some recipes!

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Paulo Fickel April 16, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Sou chef de cozinha no Brasil, com uma clientela de vegetarianos, e preciso renovar as opções de pratos a apresentar. Sua receita de galette é maravilhosa, e fotos divinas. Mas, o que me encantou foi a foto de seus olhos com lágrimas, são deslumbrantes.

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Flannery September 30, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Hi Miss Cara,

I am 16, I have never heard of Rudyard Kipling doing a novel before. To be honest, I’ve never really been into his works, though I have heard an audiobook of “Just-So Stories”.

Thing is, you should give “A Thousand Acres” a second chance. It’s actually very good. I think you may have thrown the book across the room because you were probably too young to get some of the plot or books. Some books you don’t like when you are young you can read again as an adult, and it grows more on you. There’s also a lot of food scenes in there too, if you want to know. Also, the author of that book has written a trilogy similar to Roots that I think you may prefer more than “A Thousand Acres”, It begins with “Some Luck”, continues with “Early Warning”, and ends with “Golden Age”. It follows this family called the Langdons in Iowa over the course of centuries, and I would recommend it to you. Jane Smiley’s a great writer, and though while you may not have found “A Thousand Acres” suitable for your tastes, you’ll love the trilogy. It’s filled with sad moments, yes, but also historical intrigue, warmth/hope, great characters, and a ray of hope at the end. Plus, that means more food scenes! Yay ;) Plus, more character development, too. I myself read the book over summer vacation and loved it.

You are not alone in your sentiment of the novel, though. Many have found it depressing, dark, and filled with unlikeable characters- though I disagree with that, as I liked the two main characters. Thing is though, unlikeable characters are not always a disadvantage, though- heck, there are iconic literary heroes that are unlikeable that are iconic (M. Bovary, Holden Caulfield, Ignatius J. Reilly, etc.). A lot of people found the characters too unlikeable, I think. Then again, most of the characters in Shakespeare’s works (even mains) in tragedies are unlikeable (*cough* Richard II *cough*). I personally myself actually like reimagined versions of works. I guess you like them too, especially if they’re well-done.

“Longitude” I have never heard of (nor have I ever heard of the author), but I’ll cautiously read it for your sake.

I love your site. You could very much be a writer yourself. I own your cookbook, too- love it!

On the other hand, this curry looks awesome! You are a master of food photography as well.

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