quarta-feira, 18 de fevereiro de 2009

vegetable curry with peanuts

You know that curry dish you always get from your Thai-take out restaurant? The usual coconut milk and curry mixture accompanying vegetables and maybe some meat added to it? Well, I did a little project on that.

Michael and I live close to Rod Dee, a tiny Thai restaurant that is definitely what they call a "hole in the wall", on Beacon street. The restaurant is always packed with people that line up to grab a meal after work or when they just don't feel like making anything at home. I think the answer to their success is the amazing curry sauce that they add to their house curry dishes. It has a lot more flavor than the regular stuff we are used to, and Rod Dee's combination has a nutty and sweet taste that makes the dish rich, complex and really satisfying.

So, I got a recipe for a vegetable curry from Heidi Swanson, and did some twisting to it. The first thing I tried was to add two tablespoons of peanut butter to the pot of curry. Not only did it thicken the sauce but also gave it that nutty comfort I was looking for. It still needed something else to make the spices, the coconut and the peanut butter pop. So, I added two tablespoons of raw honey and the whole thing changed into a warm, spicy and caramel-like curry paradise.

Making your own curry spice mixture will certainly bring your cooking and the flavors to another level. The yellow powder we buy at the supermarket is loaded with turmeric, that almost works as a filler for curry powders. A good curry has darker and warmer ingredients such as cinnamon, cloves, and chillies. This recipe makes a spicy, hot curry, and you can control the level of spiciness by adding one tablespoon of curry powder to the pot instead of two. I've included a recipe for the curry powder below.

vegetable curry with peanuts

1 cup whole coconut milk
1 -2 Tbsp curry powder*
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup water
4 oz firm tofu, cut into small cubes (optional)
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch segments
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/3 cup toasted cashews or peanuts
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp raw honey, or good quality honey
1/2 bunch of cilantro

Bring half of the coconut milk to a simmer in a large skillet or pot over medium high heat. Whisk in the curry powder and salt, working out any clumps. Stir in the chopped onion and garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the remaining coconut milk and the water, and then the tofu. Cook down the liquid for a couple of minutes before adding the green beans and cauliflower. Cover and simmer for just one minute or two, or just until the vegetables are cooked. Add the peanut butter and the honey to the pot. Remove it from the heat and add the nuts. Taste and adjust the salt and curry powder if needed. Serve with some cilantro and rice on the side. Serves 2-3.

*curry powder:

In a dry skillet over medium heat toast 2 dried red chilies, 1 Tbsp coriander seeds, 1 Tbsp cumin seeds, 1 Tbsp fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp cardamon seeds, 1/2 tsp whole cloves. Toast for just a minute or two or until the spices are deeply fragrant. Now use a spice grinder to grind the chilies into a powder first, remove them, then grind the spices - it usually takes about a couple of minutes in the grinder for each. Place the ground spices in a bowl and stir in a scant tablespoon of ground turmeric, and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Makes a scant 1/3 cup.

Um comentário:

  1. You know, I thought I'd get sick of Rod Dee after living in Coolidge Corner for awhile, but I've proven myself wrong! Your recipe makes me want to put down the menu, though. I love the idea of mixing peanut butter with the coconut milk. My curries have always come out disappointing in the past - I can't wait to try it your way and tell you how it goes!