You can prepare this simple coconut curry recipe in less than 30 minutes. It's vegan and gluten-free and steam sautéing the vegetables keeps it on the lighter side.
- 4-5 QT non-stick sauté pan or wok - If you like to cook a lot of one-pot meals, a BIG sauté pan is a must-have. We LOVE our Caraway pan with a ceramic coating that’s naturally non-stick. It heats evenly and is easy to clean.
- Firm spatula - You want the kind you can flip things with, but not too bendy so you can also chop stuff while cooking. Avoid metal if you are using non-stick cookware.
- Medium saucepan - Saucepans have high sides like a pot but one handle like a pan.
- Chef knife - A good, sharp knife makes prepping vegetables a breeze.
- Cutting board - One with non-skid feet is always nice to have.
- Can opener - If you like the idea of safely opening cans without exposing sharp edges, then you might like this OXO Good Grips Smooth-Edge Can Opener. But a manual can opener can take more time and effort. If you’re looking for quick and easy, you might prefer an electric can opener. We have both, and I choose one or the other depending on my mood.
- Pasta spoon - It is optional, but a pasta spoon with pronged sides makes serving noodle dishes easier.
About the Ingredients
- Coconut milk - You want the kind that comes in a can. The light version will reduce the amount of fat, but full-fat coconut will make the dish creamier.
- Water - You’ll use water to cook the vermicelli and steam sauté the vegetables. You can also use broth for additional flavor.
- Chickpeas - Also called garbanzo beans, look for low or no added salt if you used canned. Rinsing the beans also helps remove salt.
- Onion - You can use red or yellow onions. Red onions are good raw or cooked, so that’s what I usually keep on hand.
- Broccoli - I almost always use frozen broccoli florets in my recipes for convenience—no washing or chopping! If you prefer to use fresh, simply adjust the cooking time as needed.
- Red bell pepper - Sometimes, I’ll use frozen peppers and onions to make the recipe quick and easy. But frozen onions don’t offer quite the same flavor.
- Mushrooms - You can use button (white), cremini (baby portabellas), or portabella. They are all the same kind of mushroom, just at different stages. The button mushrooms are the youngest, creminis are the “teenagers,” and portabellos are full-grown. The older the mushroom, the more earthy and meaty the flavor and texture.
- Garlic - Trimming the root end and crushing cloves with the side of your knife makes them easier to peel.
- Curry powder - Not the same as the curry paste usually used in Thai dishes, curry powder is a mix of ground spices like coriander, turmeric, mustard, cumin, fenugreek, paprika, cayenne, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. It is used in Indian-style dishes.
- Ground ginger - I use ground ginger for convenience. If you prefer to use fresh, one tablespoon of freshly grated ginger equals one-quarter teaspoon of ground ginger. The recipe calls for one-half teaspoon of ground ginger or two tablespoons of fresh. Feel free to adjust the amount according to taste.
- Sea salt - I use pink Himalayan sea salt—it doesn’t make me retain water like other kinds of salt, and some believe its mineral content makes it healthier.
- Black pepper - Fine ground pepper will fade into the flavor of the dish more than coarse ground. I prefer the coarse ground.
- Rice Sticks Vermicelli - Extra thin noodles made of, you guessed it, rice—not to be confused with glass or cellophane noodles which are made out of mung bean or rice starch. Brown rice noodles offer more fiber and nutrients.
How to Steam Sauté
Here's a quick overview of how to make this simple coconut curry.
Combine the salt and spices, so you can toss them in the pan together later.
Steam sauté the veggies on medium-high heat until they are tender and you can cut the broccoli with the edge of a spatula. While the veggies are cooking, bring a half quart of water to boil in a saucepan.
Once the veggies are cooked, reduce the heat to medium and add the spices. Stir for one or two minutes until fragrant.
Add the chickpeas and coconut milk, stir to mix, and turn the heat to low. You may need to break up the coconut milk fat with a spatula to help it melt faster.
When the water begins to boil in the saucepan, turn the heat to low, add the brown rice sticks vermicelli, and cook the noodles for about ten minutes. (White rice vermicelli only needs to cook for about three minutes in boiling water on medium heat.) Then drain the noodles, add them to the veggies, and stir to mix. A pasta spoon makes it easier to separate the noodles and mix them in with the veggies.
If you are using long rice noodles, cross-cut them in the water with two knives one minute before they are done cooking. Cutting the noodles makes this simple coconut curry recipe easier to serve and eat!
This simple coconut curry evolved from a dish our son made for us when he was home from college a few years ago. If you are not concerned about fat, you can use whole-fat coconut milk and sauté the vegetables in a bit of olive oil for a richer meal.
Feel free to swap out the vegetables for any to your liking. You could try chopped zucchini, butternut squash, or add greens like chopped kale. Adjust cooking time as needed.
You can also use baked or sautéed tofu instead of chickpeas. If you sauté the tofu, do it before you cook the veggies, set it aside, then add it back to the pan at the end. You might want to use a touch of olive oil to make it crispy.
If you don’t have rice sticks vermicelli, you can serve the curry over cooked rice, millet, or even cauliflower rice or potatoes!
Storing and Reheating
Store leftovers in the refrigerator for two to four days. Freezing is not recommended.
Microwave individual servings in a microwave-safe dish for about two minutes or until hot. Or you can heat leftovers in a saucepan over medium heat for about five minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally.
Simple Coconut Curry with Rice Vermicelli
- 14 oz canned light coconut milk
- ¼ cup water - and more as needed
- 15 oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) - drained and rinsed
- 1 small onion (red or yellow) - chopped
- 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
- 1 medium red bell pepper - seeds removed, chopped
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms - chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger - or 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 oz Brown Rice Vermicelli - or white rice vermicelli (I use KAME)
- Combine curry powder, ground ginger, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. (If using fresh ginger - add to step 2)
- Combine ¼ cup water, onion, garlic, broccoli, red pepper and mushrooms in a 5-quart saute pan and steam saute partially covered for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat or until vegetables are tender and you can cut broccoli with the edge of a spatula.
- While vegetables are cooking, bring ½ quart of water to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. If using brown rice vermicelli, turn heat to low when the water begins to boil, add noodles, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using white vermicelli, keep water on a low boil until you are ready to add the noodles in step six.
- When vegetables are cooked, turn the heat down to medium-low, stir in mixed spices, and cook one or two minutes or until fragrant.
- Then add chickpeas and coconut milk, stir to mix and turn the heat down to low.
- If using white rice vermicelli, place the noodles in the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.
- Drain cooked noodles, add them to the vegetable mixture and stir to mix.