Tag Archives: coconut milk

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.


Island Rice and Peas

Island Rice and Peas

Sorry for the poor lighting – up here North of the 56th parallel it’s still quite bright late at night!

Ever since discovering the glories of Kushari and the closely related (aka time pressed) mujadara, I have been obsessed with creating and discovering new dishes that cook a grain and a legume in one pot. Some have been successful, some have not. For instance, adzuki beans and quinoa are absolutely divine together, but should not be cooked in one pot unless you like your beans crunchy or your quinoa overcooked. (Caveat: if you have canned beans or pre-cooked adzuki beans, welcome to the one-pot party!). Adding 1tsp. of miso to the pre-cooked adzuki beans and quinoa while the quinoa simmers may be as close to heaven as one can get on a weeknight. Throw in some kale, and its eye-roll worthy! But I digress.

With this obsession in mind, I turned to Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero, a cookbook that is quickly replacing Veganomicon in my heart. Island Rice and Peas beckoned, even though when I saw peas I instantly thought “green peas” which was followed quickly by a nose wrinkle and an “ick”. Pea haters don’t despair – there are no green peas in this dish! Rather the peas refer to pigeon peas, which are a legume. Whew! I’ve used them previously in my Sambar, and to be honest have been at a loss as to what to do with the whole variety since. After making this dish, I now know their purpose in my life. And that’s Island Rice and Peas.

Simple in concept, this is the Jamaican version of the one-pot mujadara, although I took my adzuki bean lesson to heart and pre-cooked the pigeon peas. The pigeon peas start out grey when dry, but when you cook them they turn a glorious golden brown, making them much more appetizing looking! They taste like a meaty lentil (if that makes sense), and sit atop the rice pilaf like treasures. The pilaf is kicked up a couple of notches with Scotch Bonnet peppers, or a combination of Scotch Bonnet and habanero, if you can’t find enough Scotch Bonnets and you like spice like I do. Coconut milk tempers the heat somewhat, making the dish that addicting combination of spicy and cool creaminess, which just makes you go for more! The spices are simple: all spice and thyme, and if you are like me and have a mini panic attack when you see only two spices listed in a recipe, fear not! Sometimes simple is best, and this is one of those cases. The recipe makes enough to feed a small army, which is great for those who love reheated leftovers. Freeze individual portions (I used a plastic-lined cookie tray), and then when you want to enjoy an exotic lunch add some water and reheat. Just as good, if not better, the second time around.

I did make some minor tweaks to the recipe as written. Instead of coconut milk I used almond milk, and the result was just as creamy as the original (I think). I also added some collard greens for good measure, because I am addicted to greens. In Jamaica as well, all I ate in a week vacation there was sautéed caloo, which is similar to collard greens, but more delicious (perhaps it’s because you’re in Jamaica?). Although a two-pot affair to cook the beans, this is a tasty version of my standard mujadara, and will enter the rotation with glee!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an online version for you – the recipe is on p. 313-314 of Vegan Eats World.


Khao Soi Thai Curry

Khao Soi Thai Curry

Khao Soi Thai Curry is a dish that hails from Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is completely different from all other Thai curries I have tried in the past, and completely delicious. Traditionally it is a noodle dish, with a spicy coconut-based curry sauce drenching the noodles. With some crunchy noodles to top off the dish. What intrigued me about this dish was the use of picked sour mustard greens, which I picked up at my local grocery store because I had never heard of them. The other curiosity was the method of the curry paste. Instead of the traditional ginger/lemongrass/herbs/fresh chilies, this one uses roasted dried red chillies ground into a paste with some ginger, shallot, garlic, coriander, and turmeric. I had only seen that technique before with Indian curries, so I knew I had to try this out!

I took inspiration from this recipe found here: Herbivoracious – Khao Soi Thai Curry Noodles. However, I was more in the mood for a vegetable based curry, so I made some significant additions to the recipe. A brief moment of panic near the end of my creation – I had forgotten about the noodles! The dish as I made it however was superb. The curry paste has so much flavour – it definitely packs a wallop even for this spice lover! The vegetables were a lovely counter balance to the tofu, giving the dish different textures. For serving, I chiffonade the picked sour mustard greens and added them to the curry pot. Their tang added that extra dimension to the curry sauce, making it a well-rounded bowl of bliss. Unique and different, this curry is definitely a go-to recipe in the future. Maybe next time I’ll even remember the noodles!

Khao Soi Thai Curry

Curry Paste:

5 large, whole dried red chilis (pasilla, ancho, New Mexico), stemmed

½ cup shallot, diced

2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

½ tsp. garlic, minced

½ tsp. coriander seeds

1 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. garam masala

Directions:

1) In large pot (save on dishes!) dry roast chilis on medium for 2min.

2) Add shallot, ginger, and garlic. Stir continuously and cook until chilis very fragrant

3) Add coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. Stir to combine.

4) Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

5) Puree mixture in blender with ¼ cup water until thick paste forms. *NOTE* This mixture stained my blender. To let it rest, I highly suggest pouring it into a bowl. Unless you don’t mind turmeric-stained blenders 🙂

Curry:

3 (13.8oz.) cans coconut milk (5¼ cups) OR almond milk

¼ cup light soy sauce

2 tsp. Sucanet

1 (454g.) package firm tofu, cut into ½” cubes

Salt, to taste

1 cup (+) water

Juice of 4 limes

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 cup Chinese pickled mustard greens OR 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage tossed in ¼ cup white vinegar

Optional additional vegetables: eggplant, zucchini, green beans, asparagus, bok choy (or other Asian greens), cherry tomatoes

Version depicted above: 2 chinese eggplants, cut into ½” moons

2 small zucchini, cut into ½” moons

1 cup cherry tomatoes

4 cups fresh spinach

Directions:

1) In large pot pour 1 can coconut milk (1¾ cup). Simmer on medium until milk begins to separate

2) Stir in half of the curry paste, soy sauce, and Sucanet. Simmer until thick enough to coat back of spoon, approx. 10min.

3) Add tofu and optional vegetables. Simmer 10min.

4) Add remaining chili paste, coconut milk, and water. Simmer approx. 5min.

5) Add lime juice, cilantro, and Chinese picked mustard greens. Stir and remove from heat.

6) Serve with noodles.


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


Caribbean Black Eyed Pea Curry

Ring in the New Year with this lucky black eyed pea curry! Different and delicious: transport yourself to the Caaribbean!

Ring in the New Year with this lucky black eyed pea curry! Different and delicious: transport yourself to the Caribbean!

Disclaimer: I am in the process of moving across the country, and thus haven’t had access to a kitchen for over a month. I’m working through the archives, which seem to be full of cookbook recipes. So, I present to you another recipe from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. This particular recipe took me over a year to make. I’d been eyeing it for a while, but I was often distracted by my own cravings, whims, and hesitation for sweeter, milder curries. Finally, I gave this one a try and yet again Isa didn’t disappoint! The curry is a nice balance of sweet and savoury, and there’s a good kick at the end from the addition of habaneros. I didn’t seed my peppers giving me a greater kick than usual, but that’s completely to taste! You can never go wrong with the addition of bell peppers in a curry, and the black eyed peas are a great canvas for the curry as they soak up the flavour wonderfully. Other mild tasting beans can be substituted, such as navy beans. However, the Jewish consider black eyed peas to be lucky when celebrating Rosh Hashanah (usually in autumn), and in the southern US they are considered lucky to ring in the (Roman Calendar) New Year, so why not add a little luck on your side? The plantain addition is nice, however I would recommend simmering the plantain in the curry instead of steaming it separately as the recipe suggests. I find plantains to be really starchy, and when you simmer it in the sauce it takes on the flavour of the curry while still maintaining the plantain purpose.

This dish is simple to throw together – perfect for a weekday meal or for mimizing time spent in the kitchen with company over. The smells of this curry simmering on the stove will transport you to the Caribbean, making you forget that it’s -30 Celsius outside! So when ringing in the New Year, add a little bit of luck to the holiday spread and make this curry!

The recipe is available in Appetite for Reduction, but it is also posted on the PPK here: Caribbean Black Eyed Pea Curry with Plantains.


Winter Vegetable Thai Pumpkin Curry in Roasted Pumpkin Bowl

Creamy, spicy, and altogether pleasing, this winter vegetable curry will have you crawling back for more! And yes, you can eat the bowl too!

This Thai Pumpkin Curry is what I imagine Thanksgiving in Thailand would be like. Rutabagas, turnips, potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, and pumpkin are slow cooked in a pureed pumpkin red Thai curry sauce. A bunch of kale is added near the end for a pop of green and another layer of texture, then ladled with love into a roasted pumpkin bowl. The bowl is delicious and a tasty addition to the curry, but the curry can also be served in a bowl. The list of ingredients and vegetables is definitely not what people classically think when they see the words “Brussels sprouts” but I guarantee that after a morsel of this creamy spicy curry is tasted they will never crave sickly-sweet maple Brussels sprouts again! The roasted pumpkin bowl is highly recommended, however if your oven is like mine and you quickly run out of real estate when roasting winter squash, feel no shame in saving the fresh pumpkin and throwing a bit extra into the curry!

The curry sauce itself is composed of a homemade fiery red Thai curry paste that is a “dump and puree” procedure. Add to this fresh roasted pumpkin, and a half-and-half mixture of coconut milk and almond milk and puree some more. This sauce is very versatile, and would be at home in a spring Thai curry just as much as a winter one. Or use as a salad dressing, topping for a pasta dish (if you add some nutritional yeast you would have spicy Thai curry mac and cheese!), or leave it as is for a pureed soup. The almond milk cuts the richness of the coconut milk, making the curry sauce more flavourful and less rich. The vegetables you add are completely up to you – Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, or whatever your freezer is bursting with! If you think it would taste good, throw it in! Once you have gathered, diced, and cut your desired veggies, they are quickly sautéed and then simmered in this curry sauce until al dente and delicious. If you are addicted to fresh greens like I am, add them in and stir until they are bright green and wilted just a bit. Sprinkle with some lime juice, cilantro, and serve with some Sriracha if you can take it! This is without a doubt my new favourite winter holiday meal. Step aside boring steamed squash and maple-syrup brussels sprouts – fiery red Thai curry is here to stay!

The full recipe is from Eric Tucker’s Millennium Cookbook (pg. 133-135), which has been prominently featured here previously. It is my go-to for something fancy or different, and always delivers fresh bold flavours and flavour combinations that I would have never dreamed up myself! So give yourself and your Brussels sprouts a treat and cook this delectable dish this year – save the maple syrup for dessert!


Thai Red Curry with Savoury Mango Salad

R: Thai Mango Salad. L: Thai Red Curry

This Thai feast was inspired by the 9lb. case of mangos that were on sale. After peeling, dicing, and freezing most of the case, I saved a couple to eat fresh. Mangos are lovely, but one person can only eat so many! Trying something different, I decided to make a light and refreshing mango salad to go along with a Thai curry. Exploring my Thai skills, I opted for a spicy Thai Red Curry – a departure from my favourite Thai Green Curry. The mango salad was as advertized – light, refreshing, and with a nice little kick at the end from the red chili pepper flakes that I sprinkled on. The bean sprouts and shredded mango gave the salad a nice soft/crunchy texture ratio, and the leftovers were delicious the next day! Most importantly, when served with this spicy curry it cooled the palate down with complementary flavours so that each dish was brought to new levels of greatness!

The Mango salad recipe can be found here: Thai Mango Salad. I made this salad twice, once with a ‘green’ mango and once with a mango that was extremely ripe. The green mango salad version was crispier and less sweet, but the ripe mango salad was just as delicious! As it was slightly sweeter, you could also use it as a different dessert offering that would please many guests at the end of your Thai feast.

The Thai Red Curry was also delicious. My only complaint is that my homemade red curry paste wasn’t very red. Next time I may omit the coconut milk, or add some more red chilis to get the promised colour. This would also up the spice level – something I never complain about! The curry itself comes together quite quickly, even with making your own curry paste. I served it with vermicelli, but it would also be great with some rice to soak up the sauce. Fresh curry pastes beat the store-bought every time, if only because they smell so delicious when you are making them! For this version of curry I added tofu, bell pepper, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and green beans. I love when you cook cherry tomatoes just enough so they are warm but the skins don’t split. Then when you eat them they explode in your mouth like tomato flavour bombs! Other vegetable add-ins that would be delicious is bok choy, kale, spinach, snap peas, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, or even some jackfruit. To make it more of a fall curry, you could use potatoes, squash (butternut or pumpkin – something firm and not too sweet), spinach, eggplant, and for a special surprise turnips for an interesting twist on the fall menu.

I used this recipe as an inspiration: Vegetarian Thai Red Curry. I combined other recipes I found for red curry paste as well as cooking techniques for Thai curry’s and came up with my own version below.

Thai Red Curry

Red Curry Paste:
3 shallots or 1 small onion, diced
2 tbsp. lemongrass, minced
3 Thai red chillies or 3t. Thai red chili sauce
3 cloves garlic
1” piece galangal, sliced
¼ tsp. white pepper
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. coriander seeds, ground
3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 kaffir lime leaf
½ tsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. turmeric
½ can light coconut milk

Directions:
1) In food processor, puree all paste ingredients until forms into a paste.

Curry:
1 tsp. peanut oil
1 (350g) package firm tofu, cubed
1 small Japanese eggplant, cubed
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
½ can light coconut milk
10-15 cherry tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
½ cup Thai basil, sliced into ribbons

Additional vegetable ideas:
Mushrooms, green beans, bok choy, kale, spinach, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, jackfruit

Directions:
1) Preheat large fry pan on medium-high. Add peanut oil and pour in curry paste. Stir-fry until fragrant, ~1-2 min.
2) Add tofu and eggplant. Stir-fry until saturated with sauce.
3) Add lime leaves and coconut milk. Simmer ~5 min.
4) Add remaining vegetables. Simmer 5-7 min., until tomatoes soft but not burst.
5) Garnish with basil; serve over rice.


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