Episode 2: Roasted Oven Vegetable Curry and Spiced Oven Ghee 

In Which Sidonie discovers a better way to make vegetable curry, and Miranda shares a fabulous technique for spiced ghee. 

Sidonie’s made a vegetable curry, and Miranda’s just arrived for lunch.



MC: Smells delicious! As always.

SM: Oh thanks, wait till you taste this curry.

MC: Oh my, that’s good. It’s creamy, but the vegetables aren’t mushy? How d’you do it?

I love vegetable curries, but they’re too muddled. It’s a texture thing.

SM: I know, I know. This curry was one of those inspirations. I roast vegetables a lot.

MC: Yes you do, I can almost quote — “425 F on a parchment-lined baking sheet, rub with oil, add salt and spices, and turn with a spatula every 20 minutes for 40 to 50 minutes.”  How’d I do?

SM: You got it! (laughing) either you listen well or I’m predictable.

MC: You are never predictable. So go on…

SM: I’d ground a masala, and added it with salt to the veggies and popped them in my 425 F oven (they both laugh). Oh, I forgot! First, I made a paste out of garlic, ginger and ghee, then I rubbed it over the veggies with the masala and salt. Finally, I roasted them.

MC: So, make the spice mix, make the paste, and then rub them both over the veggies and roast?

SM: Bingo

MC: But, how d’you get it so creamy? Did you make the sauce while they roasted?

SM: No, that’s what I love about this technique. I opened a can of coconut milk and used the coconut cream from the top to make the sauce. When the veggies finished roasting, I gently folded the coconut cream in. I don’t use the coconut water — I just drink it.

MC: Wow. So simple. I taste lime?

SM: I added fresh lime, salt, and popped mustard seeds at the end.

MC: It’s creamy, flavorful; yet the veggies are distinct with the full depth of flavor that roasting adds. The lime makes it pop, and the mustard seeds are a special touch.

SM: I so glad, another helping?

MC: Yes! Hey, did I ever share how I make ghee?

SM: No, please. I’d love to make ghee; it’s expensive.

MC: I not only make ghee; I make spiced ghee.

SM: Spiced Ghee? What a good idea. Do tell.

MC: I put 2-3 lbs of unsalted butter, with spices, in a large casserole in a medium hot oven for an hour. No stirring and when it’s done, the solids sink to the bottom. I skim any froth off the top and strain it through cheesecloth. The color is yellow and the flavor!

SM: What spices do you use?

MC: All kinds, but last time I used cardamom and ginger.

SM: Oh yum. I can’t wait to try this. It would work great on my roasted veggies.

MC: Do you have favorite vegetables for curry?

SM: Lots work well: Yams, potato, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, mushrooms, onions… I’ll share my recipe if you share yours.

MC: It’s a deal.


Roasted Vegetable Curry with Coconut Milk

Serves 4

1 hour

A delicious solution to making curry. Using the oven makes it hands-off and folding in the coconut cream at the end gives it a lovely sauce.   




1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground

¼ teaspoon black peppercorns, toasted and ground

1 dried ancho chili, torn into small pieces, toasted and ground

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon fine sea salt


4 tablespoons ghee or butter

5 cloves garlic, minced into a paste

1-inch nub unpeeled ginger minced into a paste


1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium zucchini cut into fries

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into fries

1 cup green beans, topped and tailed

1 cup cauliflower florets



Juice of one lime

Coarse sea salt to taste 

1 can thick coconut milk (use the coconut cream, and not the water at the bottom of the can) 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds 


Preheat the oven to 425 F. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

On the stovetop, in a small heavy-bottomed saute pan, toast on a low heat, the cumin, coriander, peppercorns, and torn ancho chili until fragrant and toasty. Grind the toasted spices with the turmeric in a spice grinder. Make a rough paste out of the ghee, minced garlic and ginger in the spice grinder or by hand. (I have a paste attachment cup on my spice grinder, a small food processor will also work.)

Prep the vegetables and lay them on the baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix the dry spices, salt and wet paste together. Rub the spice-paste all over the veggies. Roast for 15 minutes, stir everything and roast for about another 15 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, Take the cream out of a can of coconut milk, or use coconut cream, and leave the coconut water. When you’ve roasted the vegetables, put them into a serving dish, squeeze the lime juice over them, and salt if needed, and fold in the coconut cream. The last step is to melt the butter in a small pan, add the mustard seeds and cook them until they pop, or if they don’t pop wait a minute and drizzle the mustard seed butter over the curry and serve.


Make Spiced Ghee in the Oven

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This is the easiest way to make a large quantity of ghee. Ghee and clarified butter are essentially the same, except that ghee cooks longer.

Preheat oven to 300F. Lay 12 unwrapped cubes of unsalted butter, 3 lbs. in the bottom of a large casserole or other heavy-bottomed pan. Add whatever whole spices you are using.

Allow the butter to melt, uncovered and undisturbed, until there is a layer of solid foam on the top, the foam will look crusty around the edges and even darker than the center, clear amber colored ghee will be in the middle and lumps of golden solids on the bottom. This will take approx. 1 hour maybe longer. 

Skim off the foam with a slotted spoon and then pour the remaining ghee through cheesecloth set over a strainer over a bowl, you can strain it twice if it’s cloudy.

Pour into glass storage containers and store in the refrigerator.


Some Spice Options:

Ethiopian Nit’r Qibe: 12 opened cardamom seeds, 2 teaspoons whole fenugreek, 2 teaspoons nigella seed

Cumin flavored ghee: 3 tablespoons whole cumin seeds

Ginger ghee: 2-inch piece of ginger root sliced