Posts tagged ‘curry’

February 24, 2012

Chickpea, Spinach and Cauliflower Curry

I was craving a hearty vegetarian meal last night, so I decided to tinker with a few chickpea and spinach curry recipes. Both my kids like Indian food (But I want them to like it more!), so I thought this was a good way to get them used to more spices, without setting their lips and tongue on fire. Some of the recipes called for tomatoes, while others relied on a cucumber yogurt accompaniment for acidity. I decided to go with the tomatoes, since I’m a big fan of one-pot meals.

Somewhat to my surprise, the kids loved it. S had three servings and asked for it for lunch today. Everyone agreed it was a dish I should make again. Yay! Simple pleasures.

Unfortunately, I didn’t measure any of the ingredients or spices last night, so I’m not sure I can replicate the dish. I basically kept adding spices until I felt that it had enough flavor. I started by sautéing one large chopped onion with a tablespoon each of minced garlic and ginger. Then I added roughly 2 to 3 teaspoons of ground cumin and ground coriander, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 2 teaspoons curry powder and a fat pinch of salt. What I wish I had was some garam masala. But last night I had to make do without it. Once the spices became fragrant, I added a can of drained chickpeas, florets from a small head of cauliflower, a 16 oz. bag of thawed frozen spinach and 1 to 1 1/2 cups of diced tomatoes. I let it simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes, until all the flavors blended and there was a nice thick consistency. Serve it over rice with a little chopped cilantro over the top.

This is a great recipe when you’re low on fresh produce. All you need is an onion and cauliflower. You could also make it without the cauliflower.

Note to reader and self:  Indian food really does not photograph well.

September 3, 2011

Red Curry with Chicken and Thai Eggplant

This is not a good sign. It’s the first week of my blog and I’m posting about dinner instead of lunch. I went to the Asian market today and found some beautiful Thai eggplants. For those of you unfamiliar with this kind of eggplant, they’re white with green striations and about the same size as tomatillos or golf balls. On the inside, they’re seeded like regular eggplant. Discovering these was just the excuse I needed for making Thai curry. I know it’s too spicy for the kids to eat, but there are certain nights when it’s worthwhile to make separate meals, one for me and K, and another for the children. And since I love curry, it was a no-brainer. Nothing beats the smell of simmering curry.

Really, cooking curry is unbelievably simple and quick, as long as you’re not making your own paste. Even then, it’s pretty straightforward. I originally planned to cook green curry, but when I got home I discovered that I didn’t have any green curry paste. All I had was red curry paste, so red curry it was.

There are a couple secrets to making a good Thai curry. First, you want to to simmer the coconut cream until the cream separates and a layer of oil forms on the surface. You get coconut cream from a can of coconut milk, but it’s only available in full-fat coconut milk. Do not shake the can and the coconut cream should rise to the top. Simply scoop the cream off the top. Second, you need the right ingredients: kaffir lime leaves and fresh Thai basil leaves. That’s basically it. Tonight, I made a red curry with chicken, bamboo shoots and Thai eggplant, but this adapted recipe (from the Food of Thailand) can be used for green curry. And you can make it vegetarian or with seafood, like fish and shrimp.

Red Curry with Chicken and Thai Eggplant

Serves 4

1/4 cup coconut cream

2  – 3 TB red curry paste (or green)

12 oz. chicken thigh or breast, sliced

2 1/2 TB fish sauce

1 3/4 cups coconut milk (I swear by Chaokoh coconut milk)

1 TB palm sugar (or brown sugar)

8 0z. can bamboo shoots

12 oz. Thai eggplants

7 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half

a handful of Thai sweet basil leaves, for garnish

1 long red chili, seeded and finely sliced for garnish

Put the coconut cream in a wok or saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the cream separates and a layer of oil forms on the surface. Stir the cream if it starts to brown around the edges. Add the curry paste, stir well to combine and cook until fragrant.

Add the chicken and stir for a few minutes. Add all of the coconut milk, the fish sauce, palm sugar and simmer over medium heat for another 5 minutes.

Add the eggplants, bamboo shoots and lime leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the eggplants are cooked. Taste, then adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the basil leaves and chili.

That’s it! Serve with a bowl of steaming rice. Curry is the ultimate in comfort food.

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