© 2015 Green Kitchen Stories Sweet_potato_curry_1

The No-Recipe Curry

Like most families, we have a few favourite dinner recipes that run on repeat like old records in our home. Our spinach crepes are rotating at least a couple of times each month. So are variations of this beetroot salad, these quinoa patties and this carrot and red lentil soup. They are simple comforting recipes that everyone in our family loves and most importantly; recipes that we almost always have the ingredients for at home. I guess we could call them our family’s recipe staples. Another dish that has made it into our recipe staple list during the last year is this no-recipe curry. Not only have we been cooking it in our own kitchen, but also in kitchens in Melbourne, Sydney and on the tiny stow top kitchen in our campervan on New Zealand. A rather well-travelled dish and for a good reason. It is very simple to adapt to whatever you have at hand and therefore easily prepared, always tasty and comforting like a big, warm hug.


We start out with a base of onion, garlic, ginger (heaps!) and turmeric, then add whatever vegetables we have within reach, fill up with coconut milk and add some tofu. And right when it’s done cooking, we always add fresh spinach that we quickly let wilt down without loosing its sturdiness. The result is a sweet and creamy dish with lots of vegetables and a punch of ginger and garlic. It’s a very likeable dish and easy to adapt to whatever flavors you prefer. Chili would be a good addition if you like it spicy and are not cooking for kids. We always make huge batches of this so we have lunch or dinner sorted for another day. It keeps well in the fridge and the flavours will develop even further.

We call it no-recipe curry because we improvise it slightly every time we make it. We are however giving you a specific recipe for it today. Our hope is that you will try it, tweak it and make it into your own recipe staple. We would also love to hear about which recipes you always return to? Any favourites that you want us to try?


Sweet Potato, Ginger, Spinach & Tofu Curry
Serves 6

As I have mentioned above, there are plenty of ways to tweak this recipe. Feel free to add mustard seeds, ground coriander, curry leaves or chili with the other spices if you have it on hand. Replace any of the vegetables with whatever is in season – pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes or aubergine will all fit right in. A splash of yogurt is also nice on top if you are not vegan.

2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
1 yellow onion

3 cloves garlic
1 large chunk (at least 2 inches / 5 cm) fresh ginger root
2 tsp ground turmeric or fresh, grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
1 tsp salt

1 large sweet potato (approx 500 g / 1 pound)
1 broccoli
1 cauliflower
2 cans (800 ml) coconut milk (or half water if you want it lighter)
7 oz / 200 g tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch / 2,5 cm cubes
2 large handfuls fresh spinach
1/2 lime, juice

Serve with
a large handful cashew nuts, pan roasted
2 cups cooked quinoa or rice
a sprinkle of nigella seeds (optional)
fresh coriander/cilantro (optional)

Add coconut oil to a large sauce pan on medium heat. Peel and finely chop onion, garlic and ginger and add to the pan together with turmeric and cumin. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the onion is soft. Meanwhile, peel and cut the sweet potato in 1 inch / 2,5 cm cubes. Add the sweet potato to the pan and let sauté for a few minutes. Stir around every now and then to make sure nothing is burnt. You can add a splash of water or more oil if the spices stick to the bottom of the pan. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets and add to the pan together with the coconut milk and tofu. Cook until the sweet potato cubes are soft and tender (about 15 minutes). Remove from the heat, add spinach and a squeeze of lime and stir around. Taste and add more salt and spices if needed.

Serve in bowls with cooked quinoa, cashew nuts, nigella seeds and some fresh coriander.


  1. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 13:06 | #

    I love improvised curry! They’re such a great i’ve-no-idea-what-to-prepare when I cook for someone else :D

  2. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 13:15 | #

    It’s almost like mine!!! Only with coriander and no cumin (I always forget to buy it) and I can say it is delicious and easy. :-)

  3. Anna
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 13:16 | #

    Will try it tonight.
    Still curious to know if you liked Australia or NZ more than Stockholm.

    • Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 13:56 | #

      Haha, well it’s hard to compare. We loved both Australia and New Zealand very much. We could definitely consider moving to Australia for the weather, the lifestyle and the incredible food scene. Stockholm does however has its advantages when it comes to child care and a bunch of other things. Plus, we also have our families here in Stockholm and Copenhagen.

  4. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 14:20 | #

    The main spices found in most South Asian curry powders are turmeric, coriander, and cumin… I like them all!

  5. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 14:50 | #

    Aw, such a lovely dish – I love curry and always wonder why it doesn’t make an appearance on my table more often. I guess it’s my own family who doesn’t seem to care for coconut milk much – I adore it, though! Seems like they are going to have to eat this asap anyways – it looks too delicious not to make it!!

  6. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 14:50 | #

    Fabulous recipe!

  7. Alicia
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 14:59 | #

    Nice curry! I will have to give it a go.
    Have you tried ‘Spicy carrot and chickpea pitta pocket’? It always surprises me how something so easy can be so delicious
    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/aug/26/vegetable-recipes-fearnley-whittingstall (at the end of the link)
    And this ‘lentil chilli’ is one of our favorites.

  8. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 15:04 | #

    So often I find that improvised recipes tend to turn out the best. This one is a stunner!

  9. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 15:07 | #

    A good curry should definitely be versatile! I love this!

  10. Ivet
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 15:20 | #

    Love it!!!Gonna try tonight!;)
    I was wondering about when the post about the tips for travelling with kids?
    In a few days I’m travelling to NYC with my toddler..gonna be very useful!Love, love, love your blog!!!

  11. sam
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 15:23 | #

    I was getting sooo tired of thinking of my next vegan recipe that I gave up completely last night and just ate meat (which I’m suffering for) with everyone else in the family…
    Then your post popped into my inbox and gave me inspiration again. Thank you four (oh yes, I keep up to date with what’s going on with your family – not in a creepy way obviously!). Hope everything is going well with you and yours. Sam

  12. suzanne
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 15:25 | #

    This highlights what I think I love most about your approach to cooking. Through your cookbook & blog – in addition to all the lovely recipes you offer – I’ve gained confidence in adapting them to suit what I have on hand, the personal tastes of my family or what I just picked up from the farmer’s market! Your recipes seem to have an artful balance of structure and freedom. – Thanks!

  13. Nina
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 15:29 | #

    I love the chickpea and shiitake mushroom combination in my curry. Have you ever tried serving it with millet? Since I tried that, I never eat it with anything else.
    Have a lovely week,


  14. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 15:53 | #

    Oh my goodness this sounds so delicious! I love having a rough favourite curry to whip up quickly

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty – http://www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

  15. juliz
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 16:07 | #

    hi. green kitchens guys, you really inspired me so much, i live in Puerto Rico y the tropical island, i for so many year my mom tell me that i need to do a blog, an cookbook, because i really love to cook, and i vegetarian too. and now i decided to do it. would you please want to tell me some advice that how you do and sharge you success story with me. tks. this that in what time you do your recipes, because your haves children and i have one daughter too that have 2 year old.

  16. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 16:11 | #

    Love love love these pictures!!! <3

  17. Donna Hardin
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 16:16 | #

    Do I see a scoop of quinoa in there? Yummm. I am not a fan of tofu…would chicken be a good source of protein or do you have any other ideas? Lastly…coconut milk…I opened my first can one day…surprised to see liquid and then cream…is thus normal? Do you use liquid, cream and all??


    • Marta torres
      Posted 18 Mar ’15 at 10:09 | #

      Yes, it is normal, the liquid and the fat separate in the can, nothing to worry about.

  18. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 16:23 | #

    Oh that’s incredibily good and versatile idea! Love so much your photos, looks so tasty everytime!

    Have a nice week!

  19. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 17:06 | #

    Lovely curry bowl! I have a weeknight curry formula similar to this but I love the combination of spices and vegetables in this recipe. Oh, and your mung bean stew is one of my staple recipes. ;-) And one I recommend often to clients.

  20. Hannah
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 17:12 | #

    So funny! The description of what makes certain meals/dishes recurrences in your house is very similar to my own — the most important being “always have the ingredients on hand!” I make a red lentil-tomato-coconut milk soup at least twice a month and NEVER hear any complaints. Hooray for warming, flavorful meals :-)

  21. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 18:11 | #

    This looks amazing! Coconut curries are also one of our go-to dinners. Love that you’ve added cashews to yours. I will be doing that next time I make a pot for sure!

  22. Aleksandra
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 18:15 | #

    It seems many vegetarians/vegans have similar tastes and staples. Improvised Curry is also one of my staples and I like to mix it up a lot and even turn it into a hearty soup. Red lentil soup is also a favourite of my families with lots of cumin, lime Juice and wilted spinach with some grain to make it nourishing. A few other favourite staples are Rice Pudding(a very soothing and comforting dinner) and bean soup(minestrone style). Thank you for sharing and for your lovely post!

  23. Yoojin
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 18:46 | #

    i love making big batches of curry! they’re so good for freezing too.
    have you ever tried okra as an ingredient? i love how the natural slime thickens it up :)

  24. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 19:57 | #

    I love this type of cooking, and any recipe that’s as versatile as this is perfect for busy families. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 20:58 | #

    Wow. This looks incredible! I love coconut curry, so I can’t wait to taste your version. Sounds like it will be a hit!

  26. Emma
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 21:05 | #

    Just recieved green kitchen travels and are excited to try all the new recipes! Like that it is some tofu recipes and wonder where you buy your best tofu and what brand? I live in stockholm and has tried some different kind of tofu but haven’t really found my favourite yet. Any recommendations?

  27. Nathalie
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 21:22 | #

    I have to say, as I have a very basic kitchen, I always always tweak your recipes ;) and the best thing about it (and all your recipes of course): Everything comes out delicious! It’s like your way of presenting your dishes and kitchen adventures call for creativity – so much fun^^

  28. Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 22:30 | #

    I love simple, versatile and delicious recipes. So this is right up my street. Thanks for sharing :)

  29. Kirsten
    Posted 16 Mar ’15 at 23:36 | #

    Is there any easy way to print these recipes that I’m missing?

  30. Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 00:02 | #

    Can’t wait to try this at home :)


  31. SJ
    Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 08:27 | #

    Staples – veggie soup and chili. Both a case of whatever is hiding at the back of the fridge goes in!

  32. Angeline
    Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 10:50 | #

    Oh, this looks soooo fab!!!


  33. Anna
    Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 11:06 | #

    This looks so good! Will definetly try it! I always come back to my zucchini lasagna – layers with zucchini plates, my tomato sauce, spinach and cashew cheese! I put all this in the oven for 20 minutes and it turns out so good! :)

    Truly love your cooking, so inspiring!

  34. Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 11:25 | #

    This looks very warm and comforting! Would like a bowl of that right now :)

  35. Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 14:17 | #

    I love coconut curries, and this one looks amazing! Fantastic photos, as always!

  36. Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 14:24 | #

    This looks delicious and comforting!

  37. Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 15:04 | #

    I’ll have to try this. I actually have most of the ingredients on hand, although curry is not something that I normally use. I just don’t have recipes that call for it. But I do now. :) It looks delicious!

  38. Lisa
    Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 15:56 | #

    This recipe looks delicious. I was wondering if the tofu you used is firm?

  39. Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 22:27 | #

    Looks delicious! The colours also makes it a great dish for easter. In our house we have a no-recipe-dal that we Cook at least once a week!

  40. Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 23:40 | #

    My husband and I make your pistachio falafel recipe at least once a month. It’s become our favorite Friday night meal that feels special but still requires minimal effort.

  41. Posted 17 Mar ’15 at 23:59 | #

    Making this tonight! Saw your post on instagram and went to the store right away. This will be my first time working with Turmeric, thanks for the no recipe, recipe!

  42. Posted 18 Mar ’15 at 00:08 | #

    This looks so delicious. I usually avoid making dishes with coconut milk, even though I love it so, but sadly my daughter is not such a fan. I’ve been cooking more and more with coconut oil though, and I think she is finally starting to accept the flavor of coconut, so maybe I can try this out and she won’t object too much! Some of our weekly staples are quinoa fritters, bean tostados with lots of gaucamole, omelets with roasted potatoes tofu summer rolls and of course just about every vegetable roasted to caramelized deliciousness. Check out more at http://www.sweetgreenkitchen.com. Fingers crossed and thanks!

  43. Posted 18 Mar ’15 at 10:02 | #

    Already tried the curry when I saw the picture on instagram. I nearly used the same ingredients and it turned out quite good. For lunch I often improvise with different kind of salad-like toppings over a good slice of organic bread. Maybe you could try something this way, it would be interesting what you are suggesting. Thanks for your great ideas!

  44. birgit
    Posted 18 Mar ’15 at 11:51 | #

    hurrrrray – there ist every thing i need in my pantry so i will cook this recipe today
    it reminds me on the winter vegetable korma heidi swanson posted in her blog 101 – a recipe i love and tweak unnumerous times
    yeah – so you are back at home from fall to spring
    have a good time and thank you for sharing
    lg birgit

  45. Eva
    Posted 18 Mar ’15 at 16:40 | #

    Just made this and it’s so delicious! Instantly added to my recipe staples that also include your yoga pot :)

  46. Kirti
    Posted 18 Mar ’15 at 21:32 | #

    Lovely! The combination reminded of korma and aapam, a South Indian speciality. Without the tofu, of course. And funnily on the same day as I got your email, I had just tried out a similar curry with butternut squash, spring onions, red peppers, spinach and tofu! Very inspiring!
    Kirti xx

  47. Darla
    Posted 19 Mar ’15 at 01:16 | #

    Thanks for whoever suggested serving with millet. It was delicious!

  48. Posted 19 Mar ’15 at 05:50 | #

    Nothing makes you feel better than a good curry. I’ll have to try this myself tonight!

  49. Posted 19 Mar ’15 at 08:33 | #

    I absolutely love curry!! I always vary between thai curry and regular delicious indian inspired curry. I just can’t get enough!

    For a long time I had different variations of both for dinner, as it’s super easy to throw together and I’ve always got some coconut milk at home to save the day.

    Never tried it with yogurt though, sounds so comforting and delicious! I always seem to go back to pumpkin curry, which I absolutely love!

  50. Tim
    Posted 19 Mar ’15 at 16:43 | #


    I adore this recipe from Sneh over at Cook Republic! Even if I don’t always make the full salad (which I still do often enough), the spice blend on the sweet potatoes is one I incorporate often into other recipes since it is so good! If you make the salad, I recommend a drizzle of lemon and tahini afterwards when serving. I’m not sure what it does, but it just elevates it to another level for me!

  51. Posted 19 Mar ’15 at 20:56 | #

    This was crazy delicious and so easy. It’ll be a great recipe to keep on hand while we’re on the road during our upcoming bike tour.

  52. Posted 21 Mar ’15 at 00:39 | #

    I make something like this all of the time. My husband calls it my “kitchen sink” curry, because everything but the kitchen sink goes in. It always tastes so good! I will try your version with the wilted spinach added at the end. That sounds lovely.

  53. Posted 23 Mar ’15 at 05:37 | #

    Mmmm I love love love anything with Curry! :) I am indulging in it while here in India – but can’t wait to try this dish when I get home! Thanks for sharing! Namaste

  54. Rebecka Berggren
    Posted 24 Mar ’15 at 16:16 | #

    Ser super gott ut!! och vart har ni köpt era skålar??

  55. Posted 25 Mar ’15 at 12:14 | #

    Curry made with no recipe is the BEST! I always make it like that. Making dishes up as I go along is fun!

  56. Posted 27 Mar ’15 at 16:37 | #

    I am such a curry fan! This looks amazing! Thanks for the post! Great pics too!

  57. Steph
    Posted 28 Mar ’15 at 08:24 | #

    Just cooked it yesterday without the tofu (question of taste) and with kohlrabi instead of cauliflower (question of what I had in the fridge). It’s just so simple and so delicious at the same time, we loved it. Thanks for this recipe !

  58. Posted 28 Mar ’15 at 20:42 | #

    I know nothing about curry, but his looks easy! Thanks for sharing.

  59. Liz
    Posted 1 Apr ’15 at 20:43 | #

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe! I’ve always been intimidated by curry (all the spices!), but this was easy. I subbed broccolini for cauliflower and broccoli and used lemon instead of lime. Also added harissa for some kick. Will be making this again soon!

  60. Posted 7 Apr ’15 at 22:04 | #

    I made this today and it was delicious – thank you!

  61. Posted 11 Apr ’15 at 13:23 | #

    Turmeric, garlic, sweet potato and spinach… mmm healthy as well as tasty!

    I am thinking of blitzing the ingredients using my smoothie blender http://best-blender.co.uk/what-is-the-best-blender-for-smoothies-in-uk/ !

    Great article :)

  62. Ugne
    Posted 15 Apr ’15 at 19:53 | #

    I like to add juices of 1 lime to get some freshness in this dish!

  63. Posted 19 Apr ’15 at 14:42 | #

    Love this recipe! Coconut makes everything taste amazing.
    Love your inspirational blog.
    Niki x

  64. Danielle Williams
    Posted 21 Apr ’15 at 18:19 | #

    Hi, my son is allergic to soy – can you recommend anything else other than the tofu to bulk it out with protein? Thank you.

  65. kendra
    Posted 26 Apr ’15 at 10:28 | #

    I love making curries with whatever veggies I have in the fridge. My recipe is almost exact as yours but I always add a little coconut sugar to the dish as well.

  66. Posted 28 Apr ’15 at 03:03 | #

    “The No-Recipe Curry” .. Did I just actually read that? Woah!Now I am more impressed to this blog. I believe this would help those who doesn’t know a thing about cooking. In this type of recipe, taste and wise selection of ingredients matter. This is perfect to make for lunch. Tomorrow it is!

  67. Amy
    Posted 3 May ’15 at 14:57 | #

    This was such a winner! It really hit the spot on a rainy, windy Sunday night after a busy weekend – so nurturing! I put a huuuuge chunk of ginger (about 8 cm and wide) in, fresh turmeric (makes everything great!), a tspn of mustard seeds, a seeded red chilli and a few sprigs of curry leaves from our tree in at the start and it made the house smell divine. I only had one tin of coconut milk in the cupboard, but i really liked the lightness of half milk and half water. Couldn’t resist putting in a whole lime at the end because i’m obsessed with lime! Thanks so much – this will be a regular on my table!

  68. Posted 4 May ’15 at 09:43 | #

    I think my favorite thing about your dishes is that they are always the perfect level.

    This wasn’t a good idea to look at while hungry! I need all of these right now!!

  69. Posted 17 May ’15 at 11:18 | #

    I tried it out today and it was fantastic. i got a lot of compliments from my family. They truly enjoyed it.

  70. Tracey
    Posted 16 Jul ’15 at 13:01 | #

    I cooked this tonight and it was lovely! One of the great things about this recipe is the emphasis on ‘no recipe’ which was perfect for me since my veggie box was delivered today and while it contained very few of the core vegetable ingredients I had the basics for the curry. I was able to sub in pumpkin, carrot, tomato and peas and I chose chickpeas for the protein! Anyway, it was a warm and comforting curry for a wintry Melbourne night that has left me feeling very satisfied! Thank you :-)

  71. Posted 1 Aug ’15 at 05:20 | #

    Does anyone have experience using almond milk instead of coconut? Similar results? ps Great photos!

  72. Posted 25 Aug ’15 at 16:29 | #

    this sounds good. Something new to try as well. thanks for sharing this recipe.


  73. Renae Lesiak
    Posted 23 Sep ’15 at 21:17 | #

    What type of curry are you using? yellow? green? I don’t think red because of the color.

  74. yao
    Posted 17 Nov ’15 at 15:24 | #

    I used lemon grass and lemon leaves as the “other spices” to add a (Thai food) twist to this curry dish, and the result was a more fresh and bright flavour.

  75. Amanda
    Posted 17 Feb ’16 at 18:08 | #

    I made this curry for dinner last night for my fiancé and I and it was absolutely stunning! (I used mushrooms instead of tofu as they needed to be cooked!)

    Looking forward to cooking many more tasty dishes from your blog! I’ve struggled to find good vegetarian blogs and so happy to have come across your one. Also love seeing posts with Elsa and Issac – we have a little girl arriving in April and I’m so looking forward to having her as our sous chef in the kitchen one day!

  76. Posted 30 Jun ’16 at 21:01 | #

    Just wanted to drop a note and let you know that I cook this recipe over and over since you postet it and it’s still our very favorite curry recipe ever! (Even my three girls love it!) Thanks for your inspiration, passion and love you share with us on this blog! Iren from Switzerland

  77. Sarah
    Posted 14 Jul ’16 at 00:42 | #

    I am an aspiring cook, continually trying! Tried this recipe and loved it, but was a bit bland, perhaps needed some sweetness or something to bring out flavours. What am I doing wrong or could I change? I used 1 can coconut milk and one can water, plus followed recipe pretty much to letter. Thanks in advance for any tips!

  78. Meghan Britz
    Posted 12 Oct ’17 at 15:52 | #

    this was yummy! I added another can of coconut milk and vegetable broth to make it more soupy. Will make again.

  79. Zoe Schubiner
    Posted 31 Oct ’18 at 05:17 | #

    Hi! Could you please share your favorite pan for curries? Thank you!

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