Creamy Red Curry

So I have finally returned from my too-long cooking hiatus.  This week I’ve made a few things, bread and butter pickles, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and my favorite garlic dill pickles among other things, but was going to wait until next week to make my first post of the summer.  Mostly, that’s because I’m not sure the ketchup and barbecue sauce were quite perfect enough to post about, but also because I just wasn’t feeling ready to dig out my camera and go through the whole rigmarole that goes into posting.

Then I made dinner tonight: red curry with vegetables.  I didn’t photograph it because, honestly, I was not prepared for it to knock my socks off the way it did.  It wasn’t spicy, as I expected it to be, nor very salty or intensely flavored.  It was mild and subtle, and while delicious, I still wasn’t entirely sold until I ate some of the potatoes.  They are without doubt the creamiest potatoes I have ever cooked, even softer-textured than most mashed potato recipes, truly transcendental.

If you like your curries spicy, I would definitely suggest adding cayenne pepper (as in the original recipe) as you would salt in each step, keeping the jalapeno seeds in, and perhaps using two or more jalapeno peppers (or other peppers).  When I made the curry sauce, I tasted just a slight bit of heat, so you do have an opportunity to check the sauce before cooking it with the veggies, in case you need to thin it out with coconut milk, or need to spice it up more.

Red Curry with Vegetables (2-3 servings)

Recipe adapted from “Field of Greens”

Lemongrass Base (makes enough for 2 curries)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves trimmed
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced (save the other half for later)
  • 4-6 slices fresh ginger
  • 1/4 c. cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 3 c. cold water

Directions:

  1. Gently strike the lemongrass with the back of the knife (the unsharp part opposite the blade) to bruise and flatten the lemongrass.  This allows the aromatic elements to leach out without having to mince and strain out tiny pieces.
  2. Place all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  3. Strain stock, pressing liquid from vegetables, and set aside.

Red Curry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and sliced (or more if you like)
  • 1 c. of Lemongrass Base
  • 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 c. coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet.  Add peppers and chilies.  Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add a little of the Lemongrass Base if peppers start to stick/burn.
  2. Add ginger, garlic, and coriander.  Saute several minutes, or until very fragrant.  Add Lemongrass Base and simmer until peppers are soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Puree in food processor, and strain through a strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Stir in coconut milk.

Red Curry with Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • enough oil to film your pan, plus more to keep veggies from sticking, as needed – I probably used a few tablespoons
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, cut in half, and then in 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes (mine were about 7 oz. each), chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves trimmed, cut into inch lengths and “tenderized” in the same manner as before
  • 4-6 slices fresh ginger

Directions:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to boil, add green beans, and cook 2-3 minutes, or until tender.  Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet.  Add onion, and saute until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, carrots, bell pepper, and potatoes.  Saute 10 minutes.
  3. Wrap lemongrass and ginger in cheesecloth for easy removal later.
  4. Add curry and cheesecloth pouch to vegetables in the pan.  Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove cheesecloth pouch, and add green beans, stirring to warm through.
  6. Serve over rice, with naan, or by itself.
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