This simple marrow curry is packed with fragrant, delicious flavours. It's a great way to turn marrow into a gorgeous tasting side dish. So if you've got access to some marrows (which usually means growing your own, or some friendly neighbours!), why not get cooking?
Marrow is a cucurbit which belongs to the same family as cucumbers, melons, squashes, and of course courgette. For many people, they'll come across marrows as overgrown courgettes. I think they are rarely available in supermarkets, but gluts of them are often found in allotments and veg gardens.
Marrows are a low calorie vegetable, and a good source of vitamins A and C. They also contain fibre, and a number of other antioxidants and minerals.
Marrow often have a bad name, as they can be tasteless and mushy. But with the right recipe, they can be turned into a delicious vegetable.
In this easy curry recipe, the marrow is cooked gently with a range of spices, onions and garlic. Marrow absorbs flavours really well, and cooks down to a lovely texture. You can also make a tasty marrow soup if you've got large glut.
Marrow curry is simple to make and budget friendly. It is also great for meal prep and freezing.
Marrow. A largish marrow weighs about 1.5 kg, and that will make enough curry for 6 people for a side dish. The quantities in the recipe are not too critical, but you can easily scale up or down. If the marrow has a very tough skin, it's best to peel it. I find it easiest the slice the marrow into 1.5cm slices, then peel each slice with a vegetable peeler. Remove any seeds from the centre. Cut each slice into 1.5cm cubes.
You could also use courgettes if you prefer, or a similar vegetable such as pumpkin or butternut squash.
Onions. Onions add a sweetness and savoury depth to this marrow curry recipe. I used white onions, but you could use red if you prefer. Peel and chop the onions into medium sizes pieces so they add extra texture to the curry.
Garlic adds another layer of flavour. Either chop or mince it finely.
Oil, for pan frying. I prefer to use olive oil, but you could use another healthy oil.
Spices. I've used a number of different spices for this fragrant marrow curry recipe, some whole and some ready ground. As they are such an important component of the recipe, it's nice to take a couple of minutes to mix and grind them yourself. But if you don't have all the individual spices, you could use a mild, fragrant curry powder instead. If you've only got ground rather than whole cumin seeds, just add it along with the other spices. You could also use a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger rather than ground ginger.
The spice mix that I have used is flavoursome but not hot - if you would like to add some heat to the curry, add half a teaspoon of chilli powder.
How to make simple marrow curry
If using whole spices such as coriander and cardamom, grind them finely (leave the cumin seeds whole). You'll need to remove the little black cardamom seeds from the green pod. I find it easiest to use a mortar and pestle, and add a little salt to the mix to help break down the spices.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the whole cumin seeds and fry for a couple of minutes. Make sure the seeds don't burn as it will spoil the flavour. (If you are using ground cumin, skip this step and add the cumin along with the other spices.)
Add the chopped onions, garlic, seasoning and remaining spices and fry for 7-8 minutes until the onion starts to soften and brown.
Add the diced marrow to the pan, along with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes until the marrow is soft. Check frequently to ensure that the mix doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan. If necessary, add a splash more water.
- If you'd like a hot and spicy curry, add half a teaspoon of chilli powder along with the other spices
- For a creamy marrow curry, add a can of coconut milk for the last 10 minutes of cooking time
How to serve and store
Marrow curry makes a delicious side dish for simple mains such as roast chicken or grilled fish. You can also serve it as a vegetarian main dish with some rice or crusty bread. I'd suggest adding a can of cooked chickpeas or lentils to the recipe for extra protein. You could also add a generous sprinkling of flaked almonds, or a handful of cashew nuts.
Some torn coriander leaves on top of the curry look pretty and add a fresh flavour. You could also add a squeeze of lemon juice.
This easy vegetable curry is great for meal prep. Like so many spiced dishes, I find the flavour actually improves the following day. Store the curry in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Heat through gently on the stove, with a splash of water to stop it sticking to the pan.
People also ask...
Yes, the skin of a marrow is edible. If it is still quite soft, you can leave it on for this recipe. But when a marrow has been stored, the skin tends to go hard, in which case I think it is best to remove it.
Yes, absolutely. There's no need to peel the courgettes, just cut them into chunks and follow the recipe. You could also use winter squash such as pumpkin or butternut squash. You may need to cook winter squash for slightly longer - check that it is soft with the point of a knife.
Yes, marrow has less than 3g of carbs per 100g.
Other marrow recipes:
- 1.5 kg marrow peeled and cut into 1.5 cm dice
- 2 large onions peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and very finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or use ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds or use ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger or use 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 10 green cardamom pods or use ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- If using whole coriander and cardamom, grind them finely. Remove the black seeds from the cardamom pod and discard the pod. It's easiest to grind the seeds in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt to provide some friction. Leave the cumin seeds whole.
- Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Fry the cumin seeds for a couple of minutes, making sure that they don't burn. (If using ground cumin omit this stage and add the cumin along with the other spices.)
- Add the chopped onion, garlic, seasoning and remaining spices to the pan. Fry for 7-8 minutes until the onion softens and starts to turn brown.
- Add the diced marrow, along with a couple of tablespoons of water. Mix, and cover the pan. Cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Check frequently to ensure the curry doesn't stick or burn on the bottom of the pan. Add a splash more water if necessary. When cooked the marrow should be soft to the point of a knife.
- If you prefer, replace the spices with 2 tablespoons of ready blended mild curry powder.
- For a hotter curry, add half a teaspoon of chilli powder (or to taste).
- You could also use courgettes or squash in place of marrow.
- To serve as a vegetarian main course, add some extra protein such as tinned chickpeas, cooked lentils or a handful of almonds or cashews.
- For a creamy marrow curry, add a can of coconut milk to the pan for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.