Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Weeknight Thai style Curry

I am not going to say that this is in any way a traditional Thai curry recipe. I am actually positive that it is not an authentic recipe, but it sure was tasty! I used a basic red curry recipe and a panang curry recipe that I had and then changed it to fit what was available in the refrigerator. I am just learning about Thai food and this is my attempt at recreating some of the delicious flavors we experienced when we were in Thailand. As I have mentioned before, I really did not know anything about curry before going on this trip. I just thought it was a spice. I also had this idea that curries needed to cook for hours and hours. Not the case. Pre-made curry paste makes the whole dish take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Of course if you made the curry paste from scratch the traditional way it probably will take all day. Even in the cooking class we took, we ground up the paste in a food processor.  For a weeknight dinner that is quick and easy plus rich, savory and spicy, pre-made curry paste is the way to go. I added a lot of vegetables to this curry and probably only about 2-3 oz of chicken. The dishes we had in Asia weren't full of vegetables at all, so you can adjust this for you and your refrigerator. In my professional opinion though, I recommend you add as many vegetables as you can! This could easily be a Meatless Monday (or any day) meal as well. For some good articles on eating less meat read this and this. Enjoy!

Weeknight Curry
1 can light coconut milk
1 tbsp red curry paste (or more if you like more heat)
2 tbsp chopped peanuts and more for garnishing
Variety of vegetables, diced (I used 2 small thai eggplants, 1/2 purple eggplant, ½ large zucchini, 2 carrots, 3 baby bok choy-peppers would also be good with this)
3 oz chicken, pork or beef (optional)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ fresh lime
2 cups hot rice (I used brown rice)

1. Add half can of coconut milk to pan along with curry paste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Add peanuts and stir to combine. 
2. Add vegetables (except for leafy vegetables like bok choy) and meat (if using) and cook for several minutes until vegetables are soft and meat is cooked through. Add more coconut milk for more sauce if desired. Add fish sauce, sugar and soy sauce and stir to combine. Add leafy vegetables if using and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Squeeze juice from ½ lime over the curry and garnish with additional peanuts if desired.
3. Place rice and curry in separate bowls. Spoon some rice on a plate and then spoon some of the curry onto of the rice. (This sounds a little silly, but we find that if you spoon the curry over the rice all at once the flavor is overwhelming because there is so much sauce. Just eat a little at a time and spoon the curry over your rice to taste.)

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