Full of rich flavors , perfectly spiced vegetable bhuna, it’s perfectly balanced, it’s got heat, but not too hot and it’s bursting with flavor! We’ve been making bhuna for years, each time we play with the flavors, and each time we can’t believe how good it is!
Why you’ll love this tasty curry
- If you’ve never tried curry before, our bhuna recipe is a great intro, not too mild and not too hot.
- You can get ahead of the game and make it in advance, some would say it’s even better on the second day!
- Our friends declared it better than any takeaway they had tried!
- It’s 100% vegetarian.
Cut costs of eating out in Indian restaurants, we show you how to make the perfect vegetable bhuna for a fraction of the cost.
What is a bhuna?
A bhuna is a cooking method that originally comes from Bengal.
Bhuna in Urdu actually means ‘fried’ and is made by frying spices and then adding meat or vegetables so that they simmer nicely in the spices, this makes the most of the wonderful flavors that the spices have.
Chicken bhuna is a popular dish, so we’ve recreated it using vegetarian chicken pieces.
What vegetables are in it?
In our vegetable bhuna, we’ve used fresh butternut squash (you could use frozen butternut squash if you prefer), onion, spinach, vine, and cherry tomatoes.
You could always substitute ingredients and use potatoes or paneer cheese, use ingredients that you love to eat.
With vegetable bhuna, less is more.
Won’t I miss the meat?
We don’t think so and in fact, we’ve also included vegetarian chicken pieces, which makes this vegetable bhuna perfect if you’re trying to cut down on your meat consumption, having meat-free Monday, or taking part in Veganuary.
Remember, if you are cooking this for veganuary, don’t use chicken stock!
Is it spicy?
Yes, it is a spicy dish, we use fresh chillies and we’d put it at medium heat but it all depends on your heat tolerance, so make sure you taste as you’re cooking.
My curry is too hot, how do I reduce the heat?
When cooking our recipes, we always encourage you to add heat slowly and taste to ensure it’s right for your palate.
If your curry is too hot then you can add a dollop or two of plain yogurt to reduce the heat.
Note: If you’re making this vegetarian meal for a vegan, be sure to use vegan yogurt.
If you don’t have any yogurt, then you could use sour cream.
Is Garam Masala the same as curry powder?
No, it’s not. Garam masala and curry powder are spice blends and very different.
Garam masala is a spice blend made from whole spices toasted and then ground into powder form. Coriander seeds, mace, peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom pods, and cumin seeds all go to make garam masala.
Curry powder is a blend that is generally made from turmeric, ground cumin, chili powder, ground ginger, ground coriander, and pepper. It has different strengths, mild, medium, or hot.
How do you make garlic ginger paste?
Our ginger garlic paste is so easy to make in a food processor or using a hand blender, it keeps in the fridge or you can freeze it.
It’s perfect for batch cooking ahead of time. You’ll find the full recipe for ginger garlic paste here.
How do I make curry sauce?
Our curries are layers, to make a delicious dish, you’ll need to make your curry base sauce first.
How do you make the best curry spice mix?
We’ve got a great Indian curry spice mix recipe, we use turmeric, cumin powder, ground coriander powder, paprika, curry powder, chilli powder and ground black pepper.
Is it vegan?
Yes, it’s one of those brilliant recipes, our vegetable bhuna curry dish is 100% vegan, so you will have no concerns cooking this for a vegan guest.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, this amazing recipe freezes in an airtight container for up to 3 months – you may want to make double the quantity, freeze it and have a tasty dish whenever you want.
What do you serve with it?
The obvious choice to serve with vegetable bhuna is rice, basmati rice is perfect for this dish.
No curry is complete without a Samoa and these samosas are SO good!
Roti or chapati bread is also ideal, especially if you haven’t got any rice.
Recipe notes and tips
- Don’t have any turmeric?
Try an alternative, check out our substitute for turmeric post.
- Got leftover butternut squash?
For something completely different, why not try this tasty butternut squash pie?
- Out of passata (tomato sauce)?
Use chopped tomatoes instead, they work just as well.
- Sauce too runny for you?
Add tomato purée to thicken it up.
- Add more vegetables
Chopped pepper would be a great addition.
More Indian recipes for you to try
If you like Indian food, then why not try these delicious recipes?
How to make vegetable bhuna
You’re going to love this recipe, as you cook it, you’ll start to smell the unmistakable aromas of an Indian restaurant’s standard curry!
A full printable recipe and the measurements in both US customary and metric are available in the recipe card below.
Make sure you’ve made your curry base sauce, don’t forget that this can be made ahead.
Prepare your garlic ginger paste, this can be made ahead, the day before or can even be frozen.
Prepare your spice mix, this can be made in advance to speed up the cooking of your vegetable bhuna.
First, preheat your oven to 200C/400F.
Next, you’ll need to peel and deseed your butternut squash and chop it into bite-sized pieces.
Place the pieces on a baking tray, drizzle with vegetable oil and cook for 30 minutes.
Next, take your tomato puree and dilute it with water, use a little at a time, you’re getting it to be the same consistency as a good passata sauce.
Now it’s time to prep your vegetables. Peel and chop your brown onions.
Thinly slice your green chilies, if you don’t like a really spicy curry then deseed the green chilies, but if you like to crank the heat up then leave the seeds in.
Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and quarter large vine tomatoes.
Wash your spinach.
Finely chop coriander (cilantro) stems – don’t discard the leaves, you’ll need them later.
Now take a large frying pan and heat it over medium heat, then add vegetable oil and heat the oil. We know this sounds excessive, but this is how bhuna is made, trust us here.
When the vegetable oil is ready, it’s time to add in your peeled and chopped onions. Make sure you keep stirring them for around a minute or so until they start to brown.
Now it’s time to add the garlic ginger paste, cook it until it stops spitting, you need to stir all of the time, you don’t want it sticking while it’s cooking.
Next to go in the pan are the green chillies and the coriander cilantro stems. This will cook very quickly in around 20 seconds.
Then it’s time for your spice mix, turn the heat down and add it in, stirring constantly, you don’t want the spices to burn, stir for 30 seconds.
Now turn the heat back up and add in your tomato paste (tomato puree) that you’ve made into passata, stir it in and cook for 1 minute.
Now slowly add in your curry base sauce, just a little at a time, keep stirring and cook for around 2 – 3 minutes.
Next, add tamarind sauce, stir it in and lower the heat.
Now it’s time to add in your vegetarian chicken and cooked butternut squash. Give it a good stir and let the vegetable bhuna curry simmer away for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Keep an eye on it and if it looks like it’s too thick sauce for you, then simply add more curry base sauce.
Now add in your cherry and vine tomatoes and your spinach, stir to incorporate the ingredients, and leave it to cook for a further 3 minutes.
Once it’s cooked, then serve in plates or bowls topped with chopped fresh coriander leaves.
Serve with rice, naan bread, or chapatis.
Enjoy your delicious veg bhuna!
We hope that you enjoy making and eating our vegetable bhuna and we’d love to hear how you got on with making it.
Please leave a comment below and feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Vegetable bhuna recipe
- 5½ cups Curry base sauce see link below
- 3 tbsp Garlic ginger paste see link below
- 6 tbsp Spice mix see link below
- 1 Butternut squash
- 11 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 6 tbsp Tomato puree with water to dilute
- 2 Onions
- 6 Green chilli's
- 12 Cherry tomatoes
- 4 Large vine tomatoes
- 8 cups Spinach
- 2 tbsp Coriander
- 3 tbsp Tamarind sauce
- 18 oz Vegetarian chicken
- Make sure you've made your curry base sauce, don't forget that this can be made ahead – see link below
- Prepare your garlic ginger paste, this can be made ahead, the day before or can even be frozen – see link below
- Prepare your spice mix, this can be made in advance to speed up the cooking of your vegetable bhuna – see link below
- Now, preheat your oven to 200C/400F
- Then you'll need to peel and deseed your butternut squash and chop into bite sized pieces
- Place the pieces on a baking tray, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and cook for 30 minutes
- Next, take your tomato puree and dilute it with water, use a little at a time, you need it to be the same consistency as a good passata sauce
- Now it's time to prep your vegetables. Peel and chop your onions
- Thinkly slice your green chilli's, if you don't like a really spicy curry then deseed the chillies, but if you like to crank the heat up then leave the seeds in
- Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and quarter your large vine tomatoes
- Wash your spinach
- Chop your coriander (cilantro) stems – don't discard the leaves, you'll need them later
- Now take a large frying pan and heat it over medium heat, then add in the remainder of your vegetable oil and heat the oil. We know this sounds excessive but this is how bhuna is made, trust us here
- When the vegetable oil is ready, it's time to add in your peeled and chopped onions. Make sure you keep stirring them for around a minute or so until they start to brown
- Now it's time to add the garlic ginger paste, cook it until it stops spitting, you need to stir it all of the time, you don't want it sticking while it's cooking
- Next to go in the pan are your green chilli's and coriander cilantro stems. This will cook very quickly in around 20 seconds
- Then it's time for your spice mix, turn the heat down and add them in, stirring constantly, you don't want the spices to burn, stir for 30 seconds
- Now turn the heat back up and add in your tomato puree that you've made into tomato sauce, stir it in and cook for 1 minute
- Now slowly add in your curry base sauce, just a little at a time, keep stirring and cook for around 2 – 3 minutes
- Next, add in your tamarind sauce, stir it in and lower the heat
- Now it's time to add in your vegetarian chicken and cooked butternut squash. Give it a good stir and let the vegetable bhuna curry simmer away for 5 minutes
- Keep an eye on it and if it looks like it's too thick for you, then simply add more curry base sauce
- Now add in your cherry tomatoes, vine tomatoes and spinach, stir to incorporate the ingredients and leave it to cook for a further 3 minutes
- Once it's cooked, then serve in plates or bowls topped with chopped fresh coriander leaves
- Serve with rice, naan bread or chapatis
- Banging Bhuna – enjoy your curry!
Please note that nutrient values are estimates only. Variations can occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of origin, preparation, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.
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