Imbolc is almost upon us. It’s time to start thinking about the growing strength of the sun, the approaching warmth, and the life that is lurking just below the surface of the frozen earth. Imbolc, or Candlemas, is a time to honor Brigid, a deity of fire, healing, and fertility. It is also a time to focus on the signs of spring and observe another turning in the Wheel of the Year.
Winter was a hungry time for our ancestors, and they look forward to springtime when they could enjoy fresh foods and begin to plant seeds. Appropriate foods include grains, seeds, winter vegetables such as potatoes and onions, raisins, and dairy foods. Fiery foods to honor Brigid and the growing sun are also appropriate.
Whip of a loaf of homemade bread, with or without raisins, to adorn your Imbolc table. Prepare a spicy curry to honor goddesses of fire and the hearth, or a creamy white custard to reflect purity and symbolize the melting snow.
My offering to you this Imbolc is a slightly sweet, creamy spiced korma that features winter vegetables. Serve with steamed rice and let this dish warm you from the inside.
Winter Vegetable Korma
3 cups winter vegetables – choose from: carrots, cauliflower, sweet potato, potato, rutabaga, cabbage, kale, broccoli (I used sweet potato, carrot, and cauliflower)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ cup coconut milk
Salt to taste
2-3 tablespoons cashew butter
Water as needed
2 tablespoons oil or coconut oil
Unsalted cashew pieces and chopped cilantro to garnish (optional)
2-3 green chilis (seeded if you want to avoid too much heat)
5-6 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
Place these ingredients in a food processor and grind to a fine paste.
Prep the vegetables by breaking broccoli and cauliflower into small florets. Peel the potatoes and cut everything into 3/4” pieces. Roughly chop the kale if using.
In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fry 5-6 minutes. Soften, do not brown. Add the paste and fry 3-4 more minutes. Sprinkle in the powdered spices and stir to coat. Cook one more minute.
Add the vegetables . Pour in about 1 cup water. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are almost tender and most of the liquid is gone.
Blend in the cashew butter and coconut milk. Simmer another 3-4 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened. Season with salt to taste.
Serve with hot basmati rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and unsalted cashew pieces, if desired.