Quick’n’yummy Thai curry. May 13, 2011Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, Uncategorized.
Tags: curry, Thai curry recipe, Thai veggie curry, vegetarian Thai
Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben and I have been craving curry, so I was thinking of making an Indian-inspired vegetable curry for supper, one of our favorites. But I’ve also really, really been craving Chinese. What do you do when you’re craving both Indian and Chinese? Make Thai, of course.
OFB and I both love Thai food, and we hadn’t had any in months. Did I have what I’d need to put a quick, delicious Thai curry together?
I was sure I had a jar of red Thai curry paste somewhere, as well as a can of unsweetened coconut milk, a package of unsweetened dehydrated shredded coconut, and bottles of Thai red curry powder, lemon curry powder, and Thai curry powder. I didn’t have any extra-firm tofu in the fridge; bummer. But I did have a can of cashews and a Vidalia onion. I had green onions (scallions) from our raised beds and fresh ‘Pesto’ basil and Thai basil from plants in the greenhouse. (I also have lemon grass and Kaffir lime in the greenhouse, which I’d normally add to Thai food, but they’re recovering from a cold, dry winter, so I resisted.) And I had half a box of veggie stock in the fridge.
Checking the fridge’s veggie drawer, I found a box of button mushrooms, a red bell pepper, half a package of sugar snap peas, and a bag of stir-fry veggies (carrots, broccoli, and snow peas) I’d bought with Chinese food in mind. Not to mention a piece of ginger root and half a bulb of roasted garlic. Eureka! Time to cook.
Not wanting to add olive-oil flavor to the curry, I poured some canola oil into my heavy LeCreuset enamelled cast-iron Dutch oven. (Peanut oil would probably have been even better, but I didn’t have any.) I could have added a little chili oil for extra flavor and a bit of heat, but decided to wait until I’d tasted the curry in case the red Thai paste and other seasonings made it spicy and flavorful enough.
As the oil heated, I peeled and diced the Vidalia (sweet) onion. Then I added two generous teaspoons of the red curry paste and at least a teaspoon each of the curry powders (furious bottle shaking going on), mashing and stirring them into the hot oil. Next, I added the diced onion, gave everything a quick stir, and made sure the heat was turned down low. I kept an eye on the pot as I peeled and minced four cloves of the roasted garlic and two quarter-sized slices of ginger root, splashing in a bit of veggie stock if it seemed to be getting dry.
After adding the garlic and ginger to the pot, stirring, and splashing in a bit more veggie stock (just to keep everything from sticking and burning, we’re not talking about soup here, people), I washed and sliced the mushrooms. I added them to the pot along with a splash of shiitake mushroom concentrate to add some depth and complexity (since I didn’t have any shiitakes on hand to add directly). Then I sprinkled on generous amounts of Trocomare (hot herbal salt) and lemon pepper and stirred well. (You could use salt, cracked black pepper, and a splash of lemon or Key Lime juice if you don’t have Trocomare and lemon pepper.)
While the mushrooms cooked down, I rinsed and added basmati rice to our rice cooker. We like plenty of rice with our curries, so I made sure we’d have enough. In our case, our tiny flock of heritage-breed chickens will happily consume any leftover rice, so I never have to worry about it going to waste. If we didn’t have chickens, I’d save it to add to soups or rice pudding, or rewarm it with leftover curry in our countertop convection oven.
The next step was to core and dice the bell pepper, and cut the ends off the snap peas and halve them. Naturally, I shared some bell pepper and some sugar snaps with our beloved black German shepherd Shiloh and our yellow-naped Amazon, Plutarch the Parrot, both of whom love them as much as we do.
When the mushrooms had cooked down and released their juices, I added the can of unsweetened coconut milk and a generous half-cup of shredded unsweetened coconut, stirring well. (I could have used unsweetened frozen coconut, which I try to always have on hand in the freezer, but decided in this case to see how the dried coconut compared. If I’d been using frozen, I’d have added it later, with the basil and scallions, but I wanted to give the dried a chance to rehydrate so added it earlier.)
Then I added the diced bell pepper, the sugar snaps, and the bag of broccoli, carrots, and snow peas to the pot, making sure I snapped the snow peas in half as I tossed them in. One more good stir, and it was back to the cutting board.
I sliced the scallions, cutting off the roots and tips and adding them to the compost bucket. Then I minced the basil. When the broccoli florets and carrot slices were fork-tender, I added the scallions and basil to the curry, making sure there was plenty of sauce to soak into the rice, but that the sauce was thick and flavorful, not watery. Turns out, it was perfect, but had it been too thick, I’d have added another splash of veggie stock.
When the rice was perfectly cooked, I stirred a generous handful of cashews into the curry, turned off the heat, and served it up. And yes, it was delicious!
Our friend Ben wolfed down a huge plate, then ate two-thirds of mine. I loved the rich blend of flavors, and so did OFB. He told me that the meal was exceptional. Now, mind you, one of OFB’s more endearing traits is that he loves and praises my cooking without fail. But even he doesn’t use the word “exceptional” often. And when I tried to get him to go for Mexican food tonight, which I’ve also really been craving, he demanded that we have the rest of the Thai curry again (with more rice) instead. Not bad for a one-pot meal!
‘Til next time,