Renae Smith

Fragrant Indian Veggie Curry

Renae Smith
Fragrant Indian Veggie Curry

Fragrant Indian Veggie Curry - By Chef Kate McAloon

I love curries and this one’s chock full of flavourful, healthy ingredients. This dish is a big hit with Orlando Bloom and several other clients. It’s really easy to make once you have everything prepared. You can add bite-sized pieces of firm tofu a few minutes before serving if you like too. It’s also great served the next day as the flavours become even better with time. I love to serve this with my Nutty Quinoa Pilaf a recipe in my cookbook it’s also great with brown rice.

NOTE — You’ll need approx. 3 cups of assorted veggies, but you can use more if you like. Cut in large bite-sized pieces for this dish. I like using broccoli, onions, zucchini, carrots, peas and capsicum as a base, plus other veggies I have on hand. Use your favourites.

TIP — Mix the spices all together in a bowl before you get started and prepare the other ingredients too, because this dish comes together quickly once you start. Double or triple the spice mix and save some for next time. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you! It’s worth the extra few minutes!

To make the curry spicier, add more hot chillies and a little ground cayenne pepper to taste. Adding Young Living Culinary Oils adds so much flavour to this curry. Have fun experimenting with the spices and veggies to make this recipe your own.


PREP TIME 20 minutes

COOKING TIME 15 minutes


Spice mix

2 tbsp curry powder (mild or spicy to taste)

½ tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp turmeric

2 tsp sea salt (to taste)

Freshly ground pepper (to taste)

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tsp ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced (to taste)

1 garlic clove, peeled and finely minced (to taste)

1 tbsp finely minced jalapeño or hot chili (optional to taste)

2 cups coconut cream (approx. 1½ cans)

2 tbsp maple syrup, coconut syrup or honey (to taste)

3 cups assorted veggies, cut in large bite-sized pieces

For Serving

Cooked quinoa or brown rice

½ cup raw or toasted sunflower seeds

Raw or toasted shredded coconut

Coriander and mint leaves

Plain yoghurt (optional)


1.     Heat oil in a medium to large pot over medium/high heat, add onions and ginger, and stir for 1 minute. Then add garlic, hot chillies, if using, add spice mix, cook for 1 minute or less while stirring. (do not burn and have coconut cream open to add immediately).

2.     Add the coconut cream, maple syrup or honey, and continue cooking while stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add the veggies and cook approx. 5 – 10 minutes until they are just cooked through.

3.     If you are using tofu add it a few minutes before serving and heat through. Continue cooking while stirring until everything is heated through (approx. 3–5 minutes).

4.     Check for seasoning and add a little more salt and pepper if desired. Serve over cooked quinoa or brown rice and garnish with sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, coriander and mint leaves. It’s also great with a dollop of plain yoghurt.

Not only did Chef Kate McAloon share some awesome recipes with us this month but we also had the chance to interview her to share her best moments cooking for stars and to see where her current adventures are leading her!


Hello Kate! Lovely to meet you. You have had a pretty adventurous career especially, cooking for some high-ranking celebs, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Gwenyth Paltrow to name a few. What would you say is your most memorable moment cooking for these types of clientele?

There are a couple that come to mind.

While cooking for a special dinner party for one of my favourite clients their guest of honour was the legendary actress Sophia Loren. As she passed by the kitchen where I was creating dinner she looked in and I said “buona sera” (meaning good evening in Italian) and she stopped looked at me and smiled before joining the others. That made my evening!

The second most memorable is when I was cooking for one of my weekly client’s Thanksgiving party and Liam Neesom came into the kitchen and shook my hand and said hello…I think I actually swooned! I’ll never forget that!!!

Your cookbook The Flavour of Joy features nourishing recipes, including Young Living Culinary Oils. What are Young Living Culinary Oils, and how do you incorporate them into your recipes?

Young Living Oils Australia have recently named me their Australian Culinary Oils Ambassador. I am having so much fun creating fabulous flavours using their oils in my dishes, drinks, recipes and doing cooking demo/classes sharing how to use the oils and of course there’s lots of yummy food to taste at these events too!

Young Living Oils has 35 essential oils that can be added to food or beverages as an amazing completely natural plant based flavour enhancer. They add vitality and really lift drinks and dishes giving that little extra burst of deliciousness!

They are really versatile and so easy to use… but remember a little goes a long way so start with 1 drop and add more to taste. I like to directly add the oils into my dishes or drinks that are not going to be cooked, but when I add them to recipes I’ll be cooking I often add a little to the recipe before cooking or baking for flavour and then I do what I call ‘Finishing with a culinary oil’.

There’s also the toothpick method for some of the stronger oils like oregano, thyme, black pepper and ginger. Using this method helps to control the amount of oil really well.

Toothpick method:

Dip a toothpick in the bottle of oil and then swirl it in the dish or drink, mix in well and taste. If you desire more of that oils flavour repeat using a new toothpick each time until you are happy with the amount.

Finishing with culinary oils:

I ‘finish’ with culinary oils after baking or cooking a dish so the oil keeps its vitality and vibrancy. I call this ‘finishing with culinary oils’ This method evenly distribute the oils through the entire dish.

To ‘finish with culinary oils’ I suggest adding 1 – 2 drops (or a little more to taste) of the suggested oil(s) to a little melted butter, coconut oil or olive oil (for savoury dishes), stir to combine and then drizzle the mixture evening over baked dishes and stir into stew, soups and grains. You can also add the oil to a little stock or citrus juices like lemon and orange depending on the recipe.

Recently, you have been touring Australia doing cooking demos and cooking class parties. Where is your next stop so any readers who are interested can jump on board?

Cooking Demo Events

My next stop is Melbourne Sunday 1 October. I’ll be doing a cooking demo and wellness event with Natasha Facci in Port Melbourne at The Shamballa Centre form 1 to 3:30 I’ll share the link here.

The afternoon will focus on lots of yummy food, wellness and joy!

I’ll be on the Gold Coast in late October early November and in Perth the first week in December doing cooking demo events. I’ll be sharing the dates on my Facebook pages as soon as they are set.

Cooking Class Parties

These are really fun! There’s usually a group of 8 to 12 people (depending on the size of the kitchen area) for the classes hosted at someone home. They invite friends and family. There are menus for brunches, dinners, special diets and more. I make a signature cocktail for the event (can do mocktails too) and make menu suggestions. Then set a menu with the dietary requests and needs in mind. I’ll do the shopping or sometimes take some of the guests along to the markets. Then we get together and I show how to create the dishes and guests can help if they like. Then we EAT, chat and just enjoy!

I love to travel and cook so I’ll go just about anywhere to do these classes especially somewhere with great beaches!

Being trained in vegetarian and vegan cooking techniques, do you see the plant based movement gathering more and more speed as people are beginning to see the benefits of the lifestyle?

I do see that more and more people are choosing to go meat free and many are going totally plant based. I’ve included many vegetarian and vegan option recipes in my book.

There are many more choices these days for vegetarians and vegan as it has become more mainstream and there’s a lot more great info about the benefits too.

I can only see this trend gaining popularity which makes it so much easier to find wonderful healthy foods and dishes suited to vegetarian or vegan diets in stores, restaurants and cafes. 

One of your main ethos’ is spreading joy through food, how do you incorporate joy into your life on a daily basis?

Joy is really important to me and making time for doing things that bring it on are key to my wellbeing! I love the sea and especially snorkelling in warm crystal-clear water. Australia has so many beautiful beaches I feel very grateful to be here. I also find great joy in making and sharing delicious healthy food around a beautiful table with friends. Travel is very big on my list too and so is trying great restaurants, cafes and new recipes.


 Chef Kate McAloon, featuring her new cookbook "The Flavour of Joy"

Chef Kate McAloon, featuring her new cookbook "The Flavour of Joy"