Cut the potatoes and carrots into 1/2-inch cubes. In a large pot combine the potatoes, carrots, onions, green chiles, ginger, ground masala, fennel, cinnamon stick, cloves, salt, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, beans, and 3/4 cup of the coconut milk, cover, and continue cooking until the cauliflower is tender but not mushy, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the peas and the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk and when it simmers remove from the heat. Set aside.
In a small frying pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cover. When the seeds pop, toss in the dried red chilies, curry leaves, and shallots and fry until the shallots brown. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and stir to combine. Taste for salt.
Copyright 2000 Maya Kaimal, from Savoring the Spice Coast of India HarperCollins, 2000