Serves 4 / Milder and sweeter than most Indian curries or kormas, this stewlike dish is a hit for those new to exotic flavors. Ingredient tips: Coconut cream rises to the top, so vigorously shake the can before opening.

Garam masala, a spice blend liberally used in Indian cooking, typically contains cinnamon, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom, and has many variations. It's readily available in most natural grocery stores.

1¼ cups water
1 cup coconut milk
¼ cup roasted cashews
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Garlic-Ginger Paste (right)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
¼ rounded teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
5-6 cauliflower florets, quartered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ⅛-inch-thick rounds
6-8 fresh or frozen small green beans or haricots verts
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
3 fresh pineapple disks, quartered
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
½ teaspoon garam masala
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

  1. Combine first eight ingredients (water through cardamom) in a food processor. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow cashews to soften, then blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add cauliflower and cook 5-8 minutes, stirring only once or twice so that pieces turn golden brown. Stir in cashew mixture and bring to a simmer. Add carrots, green beans, peas, pineapple, and juice. Reduce heat slightly and cook, uncovered, for 18-20 minutes, until vegetables are tender and sauce has reduced by about one-fourth. Stir in garam masala and salt to taste just before serving. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

PER SERVING: 299 cal, 66% fat cal, 23g fat, 17g sat fat, 0mg chol, 5g protein, 22g carb, 4g fiber, 621mg sodium

3 tips for authentic Indian cuisine

  1. Buy whole spices and grind small amounts with a spice grinder as needed. Whole spices retain their fragrant oils longer. Once ground, they immediately start to lose intensity.
  2. Dry-toast whole or ground spices for 30 seconds before using. This step can significantly increase a dish's flavors.
  3. Add a touch of sugar to balance the spices. Without it, too much of the strong, pungent flavors may take over.