My first student days were in Manchester, I lived in Rusholme, otherwise known as the “curry mile”.  Well curry wasn’t really my thing back then. Hot spices, that left ones tongue alight, terrified me so I always opted for a korma.  So much so that as I arrived the waiters would often greet me with, “very nice wegetable korma for you tonight miss”!  These days I still fall short of cooking anything as pungent as a proper curry but I do love warming spices and this korma offers the perfect blend of big flavours and warmth (in my opinion)!

Serves 4

1-2 tbsps. olive oil

3 medium shallots, finely sliced

2 sticks celery, sliced

1 red chilli

350g closed cup mushrooms

250ml coconut cream

250g Pomodorino baby plum tomatoes, halved

400g can chickpeas

200g block tempeh, cut into cubes

4 large handfuls of baby spinach

Freshly ground black pepper & sea salt

Parsley, finely chopped


Wholegrain brown rice to serve (optional)



Spice paste:

1-2 tbsps. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. turmeric

1-2 tsps. Garam masala

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Seeds from 8 Cardamom pods (crushed)

Almond cream:

50g ground almonds

70ml unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tsp. white miso

1 dsp. light tahini

Heat the olive oil in a  deep, lidded, frying pan, then gently sauté the shallots and celery for around 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl blend together all the spices and then add enough oil to create a stiff paste.

Next, put the ground almonds in a bowl and cover with 120ml of boiling water.  Stir in the miso and tahini and leave to stand, adding the almond milk just before you add this “almond cream” to the frying pan.

Once the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms and a touch more oil if necessary.  Cook the mushrooms until they start to darken and turn glossy.  Next add the tomatoes and spice paste and cook, stirring very gently for another couple of minutes.

Finally, pour in the almond and coconut cream, then add the chickpeas and tempeh.  Put the lid on and leave to simmer, very gently, for around 5 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, throw in the spinach, allowing it to wilt slightly and then serve to bowls, either on more spinach or on brown rice.  I also added a spoon of coconut yoghurt to each bowl but next time I’ll make a simple Coconut Yoghurt Raita  as follows:

Coconut Yoghurt Raita

½ cucumber – peeled, and finely chopped

250g tub coconut or oat yoghurt

1 tbsp. lime juice

Large handful of freshly chopped mint

Lots of coarse-ground black pepper

A few sea-salt flakes to taste.

Mix everything in a wide bowl and serve generous dollops to each plate!