Ugly Duckling

I hate to be so harsh, but there’s no getting around it: curries are the ugly ducklings of food. The fish out of water for photo-taking food bloggers. The book who’s cover you just can’t help but judge.


They may not be the most beautiful thing to look at (or even the easiest to photograph—in fact, it’s almost impossible to make them look good), but what they lack in appearance, they more than make up for in taste. A kind of diamond in the rough, if you will.

If you’ve popped over to my recipe page before, you know that I’m a pretty big fan of curry powder. I love its complexity of flavor and subtle warmth. When cooking with curry powders, however, it is important to remember that not every one is created equal. Curry powders are composed of a multitude of varying spices from different regions and do not have a set composition. Accordingly, you may love one curry but hate another. If you’ve written off curries before, I urge you to try a different blend that might be more to your liking. (My favorite is Simply Organic Curry Powder that I buy from Whole Foods or Meijer.)


As if the combinations of spices for curry powders being so endless that you will never get bored were not enough, the fact that curry powder is already a premixed blend of spices makes seasoning even easier. When I’m making lunch for the next day on a school night, it saves me so much time to just be able to add curry powder for full-bodied flavor rather than having to think about a million different spices and how they would taste together.

Lately I’ve been using a combination of curry powder and ginger to make flavorful stir-frys for lunch in just a few minutes. While I do usually enjoy my curries warm when I’m at home, I love how this quick and easy curry is just as flavorful, if not more so, after chilling in my fridge when eaten cold the next day (perfect for summer!).

Chilled Red Cabbage, Bell Pepper, and Broccoli Curry Stir-Fry

  • 1/4 cup onion (40g)
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped (40g)
  • 1-1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup red cabbage, cut into think slices (140g)
  • 3/4 cup broccoli, cut into small flowrets (66g)
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • Herbamare, or salt&pepper to taste
  1. Over medium-high heat, saute onion for 3-5 minutes until beginning to soften.
  2. Add red bell pepper and saute for a minute more. Deglaze the pan with a bit of water and saute the ginger for 1 minute.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stir well, and cover. Cook over medium heat for ~8-10 minutes, or until the veggies are soft but have a bit of a bite. You may need to add more vegetable broth or water to keep the vegetables cooking and Β from sticking to the pan.
  4. Enjoy hot or wait for it to come to room temperature before placing it in the fridge to chill. (I recommend serving over wild rice or quinoa…especially if it has been cooked in coconut milk—YUM!)

Questions: what do you think is the hardest thing to photograph? What’s your favorite “ugly-duckling” meal or snack?

Have Β a lovely day!

6 responses to “Ugly Duckling

  1. If you ask me, ugly food is the best tasting πŸ˜‰ Curries are definitely tricky for me to photograph. That color just makes my white balance go crazy! Luckily I can look past that and enjoy it for how it tastes πŸ˜‰ Yours looks amazing!

  2. ugly food rocks! honestly im the BEST at ugly food tastin DELISH!

  3. I LOVE stir fries…yours looks great!

  4. Haha I totally agree! I have a really hard time photographing drinks. I think this is why the SIAB was invented. πŸ™‚


  5. I agree curry doesn’t look the best but anyone who’s tasted it can’t help but fall in love πŸ˜‰

  6. Curries really are ugly, but once you know how good they taste, there’s just no going back!

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