Tag Archives: cherry tomato

Millennium Green Thai Curry

The picture does not do this dish justice. Apologies for the very poor quality!

The picture does not do this dish justice. Apologies for the very poor quality!

If I could re-name the summer of 2013, I’d call it the year of the zucchini. My CSA showered me with zucchini (courgettes) and summer squash. I did my best to keep up, and what wasn’t eaten raw or cooked was diced, grated, steamed, and frozen for delicious treats come February when I am tired of winter produce. With over 100lbs of zucchini and summer squash this summer, and an apartment sized deep freeze full of the stuff, I have gotten very creative! This Green Thai curry is one such example.

I have waxed poetic about the Pumpkin Thai Curry in the Millennium cookbook before, and am adamant that Eric Tucker is a genius. This Green Thai Curry version uses the same curry paste featured in that recipe, but substitutes all the winter squash for summer squash. Brilliant, right? I then used that curry sauce and included the rest of the curry vegetables that I love to use, as shown in my other Green Thai Curry recipe: eggplant, zucchini (more!), green beans, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and swiss chard. All save for the mushrooms were compliments of my CSA. I don’t know if it was the garden fresh veggies, the new and unique sauce, or the delight in knowing that I used two zucchinis for this bowl of greatness, but this Thai curry is a keeper! I love how the same ingredients for the curry sauce can end up with a completely different taste – it’s all dependent on how you cook it. The scientist in me is fascinated by the different flavour profiles if you add a certain spice in step one or step five, or if you pre-simmer the sauce before adding the vegetables.

There is no new recipe for this dish, just some creative imagination on how to combine two existing ones! So if you are like me and have zucchini coming out your ears and are sick of raw zucchini pasta with pesto (delicious!), try this recipe out – not only do you decrease your zucchini count, but you end up with a delicious, slightly spicy, and very piquant curry! Definitely one to keep for a rainy day!

The curry paste/sauce recipe can be found here: Winter Vegetable Pumpkin Thai Curry

The rest of the vegetable medley can be found here: Green Thai Curry

 

*Note that the vegetables are suggestions only. Use your imagination! In this edition, I also added some home-sporuted mung beans for some extra crunch, which were amazing.


Spicy Sour Chickpea Curry

Spicy Sour Chana Curry

Sometimes indecision can be a good thing. I entered the battle zone kitchen knowing only one thing: I wanted curry. Spicy? Tangy? Sour? Tomato based? Coconut milk based? All these questions flew through my mind as I assembled the curry vegetables. I quickly discovered that I had no tomatoes or coconut milk, so those options were out. But for flavour … I decided in the end to not make a decision. Thus, spicy sour chickpea curry was born!

The curry mixture is based off of this Spicy Squash Curry recipe that I’ve made in the past. The legume of choice was chickpeas for their meaty texture. The vegetables were inspired by my CSA of the week: eggplant, zucchini, the first cherry tomatoes and red peppers of the season, and swiss chard. I found some mushrooms in the fridge so they got added to the pot as well. The end result was better than I could have imagined, and exactly what I wanted! The curry is spicy from the hot peppers and chili powder, but it’s very tangy as well with both asafetida and amchoor (mango powder). The whole fenugreek and cumin seeds add depth, coriander for the ‘common’ curry binder, and turmeric to finish it off. The end result is a complex, unique flavour profile that is as spontaneous as the method of the recipe making! Definitely a crowd pleaser with its mixture of spicy and sour, and one that I will turn to time and time again the next time I am paralyzed by indecision. Enjoy!

Spicy Sour Chickpea Curry

*Note* It goes without saying that you can add or omit anything on this list to satisfy your own urges at the time. This is the version that I made, and it hit the spot! There is no substitution for mango powder in this recipe. It adds a unique tang to the dish, and is worth hunting out at an Indian market (my sample size has lasted me 2 years and counting). If absolutely necessary, I believe that 1 tbsp. of tamarind concentrate may result in the same tangy-sour notes, but this substitution is (as of yet) untested.

1 tbsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. fennel seeds

½ tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. chili powder

½ tsp. paprika

2 tsp. oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds

pinch of asafetidia

½ tsp. fenugreek seeds

4 whole dried red chilis, to taste

¼ tsp. salt, to taste

1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced

 

1 medium eggplant, cut into ½” moons (approx. 4 cups)

1 large zucchini, cut into ½” moons (approx. 4 cups)

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces (scant 1 cup)

3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 (19oz. cans chickpeas, or 1 cup dried chickpeas, pre-cooked)

1 bunch swiss chard, roughly chopped (approx. 4 cups)

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp. amchoor (mango powder)

 

Directions:

1) In a small bowl (or large measuring cup) mix together the ground coriander, fennel seed, chili powder, paprika, turmeric, and ¼ cup water to make a paste.

2) In large pot, heat oil on medium high. Add the cumin seeds and asafetida. Saute until cumin seeds begin to crack.

3) Add fenugreek seeds and red chilis. Stir.

4) Add the spice paste, salt, ginger, and ¼ cup water. Stir and sauté until fragrant, approx. 2min.

5) Add the eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms. Stir, cover, and let steam until eggplant begins to soften, approx. 5min.

6) Add the bell pepper, chickpeas, and 4 cups water. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer until eggplant tender, approx. 20min. Add water as necessary to adjust for consistency. (I added about 8-10 cups total)

7) Add the swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, amchoor, and lemon juice. Stir, cover, and cook until greens bright green and slightly wilted. Adjust for seasonings.

8) Serve with rice and/or flatbread of choice.

 


Green Thai Curry

Green Thai Curry

This green Thai curry is a staple. Once you make it, you will crave it. It has also successfully proven to self-professed tofu-haters that tofu shouldn’t be pronounced with a wrinkled nose. (Try not to gloat when they go for seconds!) The green Thai curry paste is made fresh and is very easy: just throw everything into a food processor. The heady combination of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, and heat from the hot chilis (to taste) win me over every time. The fresh cilantro is a must – it brings spring to the dish. I prefer ginger in this recipe to galangal as I think it matches better with the acid from the lemongrass and lime juice, but that is completely my preference. The best part about this recipe is that even though the list of ingredients looks very long, you probably have most of it already in your pantry, and since most of it goes into the food processor, clean-up is easy and cooking time is much shorter than you’d expect. This curry goes well with rice or vermicelli, but I won’t stop you from eating it straight up like soup!
After many trials and numerous iterations of this dish, I have compiled these rules of thumb for guaranteed success:

1) Sautéing the fresh curry paste makes all the difference. Like dry roasting spices for Indian curries, this is when the lemongrass and heat really start to come out. Once fragrant, you will have to have serious restraint from not eating the sauce as is!

2) When you add the tofu to soak up all the curry paste flavour, add the eggplant as well. Double the flavour with two different textures!

3) Usually I add all the coconut milk to the food processor to help the paste come together. If you have a better food processor than I, you could probably proceed with the recipe as-written. I find though that if I don’t add the extra liquid, I could do a better job making a paste by chopping things finely than my food processor.

4) If you don’t have coconut milk on hand, I’ve recently discovered that almond milk makes an amazing substitute! I am sure curry purists around the world have just gotten very angry with me, but when you need some Green Thai Curry a little matter of no coconut milk won’t stop me! This successful trial makes me believe that rice milk or hemp milk would also make for excellent substitutions.

5) The best suited vegetables for this dish are:
– Eggplant: A must!
– Zucchini: So lovely and tender
– One or more crunchy green vegetable such as green beans, snap peas, bell pepper, or asparagus
– A leafy green such as bok choy (spinach will also work)
– Cherry tomatoes: Or as I like to call them, Tomato Bombs of Flavour.

6) Add the cherry tomatoes at the very very end – with your greens. The “cherry bomb” in your mouth is so worth the restraint!

7) If you can find them, the kaffir lime leaves are a must. I store them in the freezer, and use as needed. They will transform your South Asian dishes from “really good” to “how can it get any better?!?!?”. They are the curry leaves of Asian cuisine. Add them with the green curry paste, and the lime flavour is heightened further!

This dish will turn your kitchen into a little taste of Thailand with its aromas and taste. Quick to make and quicker to devour, this is a classic!

The recipe can be found here: Vegetarian Green Thai Curry


Never Fail Tomato Eggplant Curry

Never Fail Tomato Eggplant Curry
This particular version highlights eggplant, asparagus, bell pepper, and spinach

Rarely a week goes by without a simmering pot of curry. This is my stand-by no-fail recipe, with infinite possibilities of vegetables, protein, and spicy level. The basic components are: tomato based curry sauce, meaty eggplant simmered in the sauce, greens for the eggplant to rest between, and a wide assortment of vegetables – whatever you have on hand that day and/or need to use before they go bad. The veggie selection is easily changed to reflect the season/mood. Sick and tired of cauliflower and squash in March? Then throw in some greenery, peppers, and cute cherry tomatoes. Super stoked that it’s squash season in September? Butternut squash, spinach, peppers, and eggplant is a combination that cannot be beat! If you like, you can throw in your choice of protein – lentils, chickpeas, tofu, or tempeh have all been winners in the past. Spice level can be adjusted to taste preference, and the recipe is easily scaled back or quadrupled depending on how many mouths you are feeding that day. This is my Indian “chili”. Always delicious, always a winner.

The recipe is more of a guideline, developed over the years by throwing things in the pot and trying to remember what tasted the best. Take these guidelines and make them your own – tweak as you like, and enjoy your efforts!

Never Fail Tomato Eggplant Curry

2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2” piece fresh ginger, minced
2 jalapeños, seeded and diced (if you like the spice, don’t seed the peppers!)
3 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt, to taste
4 cups of your ‘meaty’ veggies: eggplant, squash, potato, etc.
4 cups diced tomatoes, or 1 (28oz.) canned tomatoes (Note: Whole canned tomatoes are also nice – rip them apart with your hands when you add them to the curry)
4 cups water
2 cup of your ‘crunch’ veggies: asparagus, bell pepper, snap peas, green beans, …
~10 cups fresh greens: spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, or kale
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions:
1) In large pot, heat olive oil and add mustard seeds. Sauté until seeds start to pop – cover pot with a lid to prevent seeds from escaping!
2) Add onion. Sauté until translucent and beginning to brown, ~7min. If pan looks dry, add a splash of water.
3) Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño. Sauté ~1min.
4) Add the spices. Stir to coat and lightly toast.
5) Add the ‘meaty’ veggies. Stir to coat with spices and lightly sear.
6) Add the tomatoes, water, and ‘crunch’ veggies. Stir and bring to a boil. Lower heat and partially cover, simmering ~5min.
7) Add the greens in handfuls, stirring as you go. Cook until greens are bright green and wilted. (If you are adding cherry tomatoes, add them at this point).
8) Turn off heat, and add cayenne pepper. Adjust all other seasonings to taste.
9) Serve hot with rice, and/or your favourite Indian flat bread.


Deluxe Aloo Curry

Deluxe Aloo Curry

What started as a simple exercise to use up some gorgeous baby potatoes turned into a giant vat of a tomato-based aloo curry – untraditional and unintended! Most aloo curries I have seen in restaurants are potatoes + one other element (spinach, cauliflower, cilantro, paneer …) not a whole garden full! I always get excited too when I find a tomato based potato curry as I prefer tomatoes to potatoes any day. This flavourful curry can be served with basmati rice and/or your Indian flatbread of choice. I served it with a daal, however if you want a meal-in-a-bowl throw in some chickpeas! The more the merrier when you’re creating in the kitchen!

I do not promise that this is an “authentic” Indian curry; however “authentic” ingredients are used! It tastes absolutely delicious, and smells wonderful! Clearly can be adapted to the contents of your fridge/CSA box! The version below uses eggplant, zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, greens, bell pepper, and a handful of cherry tomatoes for fun. A “winter” version could be sweet potato (in addition to red potato), squash, mushrooms, greens, and cauliflower. “Spring” could include asparagus and snap peas. Only limited by the scope of your imagination! Enjoy!

Deluxe Aloo Curry

Vegetables/Curry:
3 medium potatoes, quartered
3 cups eggplant, cut into 1” cubes
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1” cubes
1 cup green beans
½ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cups greens: kale, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens …
1 bell pepper, cut into 1” cubes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1-2 cups water, as necessary

Additional vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, squash, peas

Tempering/Tadka:
2 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
⅛ tsp. asafetida (hing)
salt to taste
1 tsp. mango powder (amchoor)
½ tsp. garam masala
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Tomato Curry Paste:
6 medium tomatoes OR (1) 32oz. can whole tomatoes, drained
1” fresh ginger, minced
2 green chilis, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. fennel seeds
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. paprika

Directions:
1) In food processor, puree all Tomato Curry Paste ingredients. Set aside.
2) In large pot, heat oil and sauté cumin seeds and asafetida until cumin seeds crack
3) Add Tomato Curry Paste. Cover and cook approx. 5min
4) Add potatoes. Smooch a couple while cooking to make the curry creamier
5) Add eggplant. Cook approx. 10min.
6) Add all other vegetables except cherry tomatoes and greens. Cover and cook approx. 10min., or until vegetables are at desired tenderness. Add water as necessary
7) Add mango powder, garam masala, and salt to taste. Stir.
8) Add cherry tomatoes, greens, and cilantro. Stir and simmer until greens are bright green and wilted
9) Turn off heat, cover, and let sit a couple of minutes. Serve with roti, naan, or basmati rice

 

 


Eggplant Tagine

Tagines, like curries, are a staple. A tagine is a slow-cooked stew hailing from Morocco. If you are lucky enough to have the kitchen space, they are to be cooked in a special clay casserole dish that acts like a mini-convection oven. The dome of the lid traps the steam and recirculates it within the dish for slow-roasted casserole perfection. I am limited in my galley kitchen however, and make due with a stock pot. Still delicious and worth making every time!

Moroccan tagines are sweeter than Indian curries, and generally less spicy. They often feature cinnamon with some citrus notes, adding a surprise twist to the cumin/coriander/turmeric “base” curry spice mix. Raisins or other dried fruit such as apricots (especially when the citrus is orange) are also common in the stew. Generally served with fancy (or standard) couscous, they are a filling meal that will transform your kitchen to a market in Casablanca. This particluar tagine is my base recipe, however there are a multitude of variations of this recipe that can be made based on what you have on hand. Components that you must have to consider it a tagine include: a meaty vegetable such as eggplant, a legume, a tomato-based sauce, and a spice combination that includes cinnamon and orange juice or lemon juice. Purists would also insist that rasins need to be added, but as I hate raisins I leave those out – I leave that decision to your disgretion.

Tagines are a nice change of pace from the Indian curries, but if you want an exotic stew and can’t decide on which curry to make, split the difference and slurp up a hearty warming tagine!

Eggplant Tagine

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, quartered and sliced thin
1 cup carrots, sliced into ½” pieces on the bias
1-2 serrano chilis seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
5 cups water, vegetable broth, or a combination
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
several dashes pepper
1 cup dry red lentils

1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and chopped into ¼” pieces
1 eggplant, cubed into ¼” cubes or sliced into quarter moons (like zucchini)
1 cup green beans, cut into 1” pieces
2 cups grape tomatoes
½ cup raisins (I never add raisins because I dislike them, but traditional tagines include them!)
1 tsp salt
1 bunch spinach, torn into pieces½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup fresh mint, chopped
3-4 tbsp. lemon juice, or juice of one orange
lemon wedges to serve

Add-in/Substitution Suggestions:

Legumes: Red lentils give the stew a creamy base, but green lentils or chickpeas are also delicious. Or a combination of all! You want to end up with ~3 cups cooked legumes when you are done.

Vegetables: Green beans, sugar snap peas, asparagus, grape tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, butternut squash, and bell pepper would all be fantastic. For a double-tomato broth, add 1 (28oz.) can whole or diced tomatoes to stew with liquid.

Greens: Spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard greens …

Directions:

1) In large stockpot, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent
2) Add carrots and chili and sauté ~3min.
3) Add garlic and ginger, sauté ~2min.
4) Add cumin, turmeric, and coriander. Stir and add water/vegetable broth, tomato paste, cinnamon, bay leaves, pepper, and lentils. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 20min.
5) Add all veggies except greens, raisins, and salt. Simmer 15min.
6) Add the greens, cilantro, and mint. If all the greens don’t fit in the pot, add in batches and stir until greens are wilted.
7) When all greens are wilted, turn heat off, stir in lemon juice, and let sit for 10min (or as long as you can last!)
8) Serve over couscous, tabouli, or with some flatbread.

Update: Winter Tagine

During the winter months, I found myself craving this savoury tagine. Thus, I adjusted the vegetables accordingly. Butternut squash, carrots, bell pepper, and frozen spinach worked wonderfully in this tomato-based tagine. I used chickpeas instead of lentils for the mouth feel, and was completly satisfied with this warm, hearty stew!

Winter Tagine: Butternut squash, carrots, bell pepper, spinach, and chickpeas

Winter Tagine: Butternut squash, carrots, bell pepper, spinach, and chickpeas


Million Ingredient Chili

The most delicious “standard” comfort chili around!

Really … the title says it all! The heat wave had broken it was a cloudy, rainy, lazy Sunday, and I celebrated by making a huge vat of chili. Not just any standard vat of chili – but a 12 quart vat of slow cooked chili comfort. Chili is one of those freezer staples that is like putting on your favourite ratty sweatshirt and sweats after a no-good-rotten day. With nothing else to do, I decided to challenge myself and make the Best Chili Ever. Whenever Top Chef has their chili challenges all the chefs’ whine about how chili is an all-nighter and it needs constant attention, so I looked for the most involved, complex, slow-cook recipe I could find while still being able to make it in time for dinner. And I found this recipe with a Million Ingredients (or close to), and I have found my comfort chili recipe.

Compliments of Kathy of Healthy. Happy. Life., this chili won her a chili cook-off. It is everything a standard, non-fusion chili should be. Tons of beans for stick-to-your-ribs goodness, mushrooms for a nice toothy-meaty texture, and a sauce that is half roasted, half simmered, with dark molasses lending a nice rich colour. Half the veggies are tossed in oil, spices, and roasted to add depth. The other half compose of a “Veggie Pot Roast” which is first simmered in a tangy molasses-based sauce and then roasted. The tomato base is simmered throughout the process, and everything is dumped into the one pot and simmered for at least one hour and however much longer you can resist the delicious aroma! All of these steps generate a lot of dishes, but with a lot of downtime in between by dinner you could even have a dishes-free cleanup if you use your time wisely. The end result is a delicious affair that could be served with rice or cornbread, but why waste valuable stomach real estate when you could dig into another bowl? It freezes and reheats exceptionally well, and for a quick lunch serving a bowl of chili on top of a pile of greens cannot be beat. So next time you find yourself having an Eeyore day, make this chili and a smile will be on your face by dinner!

The recipe can be found on Kathy’s webpage Healthy.Happy.Life here: Roasted Vegetable Chili

I made the following changes, due to last-minute planning and pantry constraints:

Part A: Roasted Veggies: I omitted the agave, as I am still not sold on sweet in savoury. Do not skip the cherry tomatoes! Putting these into the chili gave a tomato-duo combination at the end that is as unique as it is delicious.

Part B: Veggie Pot Roast: I used olive oil instead of butter, and used 6 dried shitake mushrooms (reconstituted) instead of the sausage. Personally I thought the meatiness of the sliced reconstituted shitake mushrooms matched the beans better than sausage, but this may be a departure from ‘classic’ chili. I like a toothsome quality to chili. I also used 3 jalapenos instead of the chipotle peppers in adobo, as that is not a pantry staple. Finally, I omitted the corn (personal preference).

Part C:  Tomato Base: Again, more jalapenos instead of chipotle peppers in adobo. This may have made my chili less smoky and more ‘clean’ spicy, but I thought it was still delicious! In an attempt to compensate I threw in a dash of liquid smoke near the end. For the bean mixture I used a mixture of pinto beans, black beans, fava beans, and chickpeas. The more beans the better! After all, you do control the chili pot.

Do not be intimidated by the million ingredient list. The best part of chili is that at the end of the day you can clean out your fridge and use whatever beans you have and it will still be delicious comfort food. The method just seems complex, but there is a lot of down time. Due to pot restrictions (I own one) I had to do the recipe in steps instead of all at once, but this allowed me to prep the next step while the last one was cooking, so it seemed like no time at all! This also helped with dishes control (ups to the dishwasherless!)

Enjoy!


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