Thai Red Curry with Vegetables

Thai Red Curry with Vegetables

Perhaps your refrigerator resembles mine this week.  Without thoughtful intervention we’ll be staring down a compost heap pretty quick.  A mismatched assortment of vegetable orphans has been accumulating—ingredients left from this meal or that.  There’s a pair of gnarly carrots, half a head of cauliflower, a few stray button mushrooms and a lonely turnip.  Oh, and a fat cabbage wedge hiding under a nearly empty bag of spinach in the back corner.  Kohlrabi Slaw with Peanuts, Ginger and CarrotsEach bit on its own doesn’t amount to much, but taken together, this motley veggie crew might yield something brilliant.  A stir-fry perhaps or a pot of soup.  An imaginative salad or slightly crazy slaw.

It’s a bit like fitting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  They’ll snap together somehow; we just need the right, creative approach.  My friend and fellow Freshness Farms enthusiast, Liana, employs a strategy that’s popular in her household:  a Thai vegetable curry that’s not only simple, but malleable enough to use up all the odds and ends.  Spoon the fragrant stew over brown rice.  Top with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime and a few broken cashews.  All you’ll need from the pantry to connect the pieces is a can of coconut milk, bottled red curry paste and an optional dash of fish sauce—items to stock for just this moment.  The rest is as changeable as your fancy.  And your crisper drawer.

Here’s Liana’s perspective:

“With one daughter in preschool and one in high school, it’s often hard to please everyone’s tastes when it comes to dinner.  I’ve discovered that both girls enjoy the taste of coconut milk-based curries.  I just have to control the amount of curry paste so that it’s not too much for a 3-year-old—or I can serve our preschooler’s portion separately before even adding the curry paste. I enjoy preparing a pot of Thai curry because it’s fast, and I can throw in various vegetables depending on what’s available in the refrigerator.”

Thai Red Curry with Vegetables

Serves 2 to 3

In a large saucepan combine the following:
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 box of tofu, drained and cut into cubes
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 quarter-sized slices of peeled ginger root
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen brand red curry paste (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional) or a splash of soy sauce
  • up to 1 teaspoon sugar or agave nectar (optional)
  • 4 cups chopped vegetables, as you choose, for instance:
    • mushrooms
    • cauliflower
    • turnip
    • celery
    • greens like spinach, chard or kale
    • carrots
    • bell peppers
    • broccoli
    • tomatoes
    • eggplant
Let the ingredients simmer together on low heat until the vegetables are barely tender—10 minutes or so.  Stir occasionally.  Season with salt to taste.  Add broccoli near the end as it can become overcooked.
Serve over brown rice and garnish with a fistful of roasted cashews and fresh chopped cilantro leaves.
Thai basilAnn’s note:  if you happen to be at the grocery store prior to mixing up this curry grab a stalk of lemongrass.  Remove the outer leaves and mince the inner stalk.  Add a tablespoon to the simmering pot and freeze the remainder.  Another nice addition is a generous squeeze of lime juice stirred in before serving.  Or a handful of Thai basil—we plant the fragrant purple-spiked herb in our kitchen garden.

Other Recipes for the Week:

Escarole Salad with Roasted Broccoli, Pomegranate Seeds and AvocadoGreen Salad with Roasted Broccoli (substitute lettuce for the escarole)

Kohlrabi Slaw with Carrots (you can exchange broccoli or cabbage for the kohlrabi)

Lentil and Arugula SaladLentils with Goat Cheese and Arugula

Indian Spiced Broccoli with Mushrooms 

Farro with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kale



Quick Tips:

Here’s a tasty and easy dish from my friend, Lauren—one of the many women who inspire me in the kitchen.  Sauté chopped kale leaves and minced garlic until tender.  Spread toasted french bread slices with fresh ricotta, a large spoonful of the cooked kale and fresh lemon zest.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and finish with a pinch of coarse salt.

Mix arugula and lettuce leaves together in a salad bowl.  The peppery arugula adds interest, while the lettuce mellows out the bite.  Toss with segments of gorgeous blood orange (cut the peel off), shaved red onion and a handful of toasted nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, pecans) or seeds.  If you haven’t discovered pumpkin seeds, known as pepitas in Mexican cooking, check them out.  Toast a handful in a dry skillet until they’re golden and fragrant.  They’ll add a crunch to your salad, and are equally beguiling on their own.  Toss salad with your favorite dressing or a simple vinaigrette.

Cube a bunch of leftover odds and ends.  Add broccoli, carrot, rutabaga or kale from this week’s delivery.  Heat a small amount of oil in a large stir fry pan until it’s nice and hot, then toss in the vegetable pile.  Stir and cook quickly, allowing the vegetables to take on some brown color here and there (they’ll need undisturbed time to lay against the hot pan) but don’t overcook.  Add a few splashes of soy sauce, fresh ginger root and garlic, a bit of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.  Taste to adjust the seasonings.  Serve over rice.

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