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Recipe: basic coconut milk curry

 

Here is Adam’s most basic curry recipe, endless variations of which are eaten at our house every week.  This feeds about 3-4 adults.

curry1Required ingredients:
-1 can coconut milk (full fat, don’t bother with the light crap)
-1 T. red or green curry paste or yellow curry powder (more or less, to taste)
-1 T. brown sugar
-1 tsp. tamari or soy sauce

Other ingredients (pick and choose):
-1 onion, sliced vertically
-About 1/2 lb – 1 lb vegetables, such as green beans, peas, broccolli, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, or whatever you have on hand
-About 1 c. of some source of protein, such as beans (garbanzos are good), leftover chicken, hard-boiled eggs (sliced in half) or fried tofu, seitan, etc.
– red pepper flakes (especially if you use curry powder, as it is not as spicy as curry paste)

curry2

Heat wok or large frying pan (preferably with slanted sides) over medium heat until hot.  Add 1/3 of the can of coconut milk.  Bring it to a low boil, stirring occasionally.  Boil for 3-5 minutes, until it starts to give off a sweet aroma.

curry3

Stir in curry paste or powder, squishing it around until it completely melts into the coconut milk, about 2-3 minutes.  Add onions and other vegetables.  Add the rest of the can of coconut milk, the brown sugar, and the tamari (or soy sauce).

curry4

Bring to a simmer, cook for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  If you are adding protein, add it now and simmer for another 5 minutes.  We generally use already-cooked meat or beans — if you have raw meat, brown it lightly before you even start making the curry.  (Hard-boiled eggs should be added last, just as you’re about to serve it.)

curry5

Optional: garnish with a splash of lemon or lime juice and/or fresh cilantro right before serving.  Serve over brown rice.

The version pictured above is green curry with brocolli, carrots, and onions.

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Here’s another version Adam made a few weeks ago.  It’s a red curry with chicken, green beans, and onions.

We usually keep this pretty simple.  This recipe is based on a couple of the curries in Real Vegetarian Thai, one of the best Thai cookbooks I’ve ever seen.

When we make this Rowan will eat more than any of the adults at the table.  Anneke puts away plenty, too.  When made relatively mild, this is great toddler food.

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Recipe: three great peanut sauces

What can you use peanut sauce on?  Anything really.  Dip spring rolls or egg rolls in it.  Stir it into some stir-fry.  Spread it on your sandwiches.  Dip fresh vegetables in it.  Pour it over rice noodles for Asian spaghetti. (Can you tell we’ve got toddlers?)  Natural, unsweetened peanut butter works best for all three (with or without salt is fine).

Recipe #1: savory, thick peanut sauce
2 scallions, finely chopped (or about 1/4 of an onion)
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
Generous pinch of chili powder
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 T. white vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
3 T. peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

Mix ingredients together with a fork and let sit at room temperature for a good 30 minutes.  This one is really thick and works great as a dip.  This is from Christine Ingram’s vegetarian and vegetable cooking.

Recipe #2: BBQ peanut sauce
2 T. rice vinegar or white vinegar
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 T. peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
3 T. BBQ sauce

Combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a pan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add peanut butter, chili flakes, and BBQ sauce.  This one is also very thick and good as a dip, or spread onto meat on the grill.  This is from 1000 vegetarian recipes from around the world.

Recipe #3: Real Thai peanut curry sauce
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut milk
2 T. red curry paste (or less if you’re wimpy)
3/4 c. stock (vegetable or chicken)
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. peanut butter or roasted peanuts chopped very fine
2 T. lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt

Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Simmer, stirring now and then, until it releases a sweet fragrance and thickens a bit, about 5 min.  Add the curry paste and cook 3-4 min. longer, being sure to mix well.  Add the stock and sugar, continue to simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the peanuts or peanut butter and cook for about 3 more minutes, or until the peanut butter is all melted and incorporated.  Remove from heat, add lemon juice,  and salt & pepper to taste.  Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.  It gets rather thick and gelatinous in the refrigerator, so you might want to thin it with a little stock if you re-heat.

I like all three of these sauces, but the 3rd one tastes the most like peanut sauces that I’ve had at Thai restaurants.  It is relatively thin, so it would be good to pour over vegetables and rice, so the rice can soak it up.  It is much sweeter than the previous two.  This recipe is from the very useful Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott.