It's January and you know what that means... time to eat and live healthy(er). Like many, I resolve to eat a more nutritionally dense diet, one that is not only better for me (and my waistline) but also better for the planet. While I'm not a vegetarian, I think vegetables will be a big part of helping me stick to my goals. And I can't think of a better way to consume the recommended daily dose than with a curry.
This bold (and also vegan) dish is a great addition to any cook's repetoire. Flavored with herbs and spices - and paired with delicious cardamom basmati rice - it packs in all of the nutrition without compromising on any of the flavor.
I pride myself on making everything from scratch, but this recipe is the exception. You can make the yellow curry paste yourself and it'll be delicious. But I'm happy to use Thai yellow curry paste in a can. It's easy to find at most grocery stores (or visit an Asian mart to enjoy a better selection). Just be sure to purchase one that lists garlic, dried chili pepper, shallot, lemongrass and a variety of spices (like coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, etc.) in its ingredients. There are others on the market made with yellow mustard, soybean oil and little else, and they don't work. The balance of sweet and spicy, with warming flavors and beautiful textures, is dependent on having the right ingredients for the job.
And I promise, you won't miss the meat.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 sweet onion, finely diced
- 1 serrano or jalapeno chili pepper, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 cup Thai yellow curry paste (4 ounces)
- 1 can coconut cream (14 ounces)
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 carrots, thinly sliced
- 10 new potatoes, quartered
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
- 1 can baby corn (15 ounces)
- 1 can pineapple chunks (14 ounces)
- 1/2 cauliflower head, cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan, one that has a tight fitting lid, and saute the onion, chili pepper and turmeric for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and translucent.
- Add the curry paste, the coconut cream and the water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy.
- Add the carrots, potatoes, ginger, baby corn and pineapple. Cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower florets and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until tender. Add more water if the sauce becomes too thick.
- Remove from the heat. Discard the ginger. Add the brown sugar and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with Cardamom Basmati Rice.
Cardamom Basmati Rice
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 4 cardamom pods, smashed
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 3/4 cups water
- In a large bowl, rinse the rice in cold water, swishing with your hands and carefully dumping out the liquid until the water runs clear.
- Heat the coconut oil in a mediium saucepan over moderate heat. Add the cardamom pods and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the rice, and coat in the oil.
- Add the water, and bring to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 18 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let the rice stand for 5 minutes without removing the lid.
- Fluff with a fork, remove the cardamom pods and serve.
Note: This recipe can also be made with chicken or shrimp or tofu. You can either brown the meat in the coconut oil or simmer it with curry sauce along with the other vegetables. If you have lemongrass, you can substitute it for the ginger. A tablespoon of fish sauce at the end of the cooking along with the brown sugar is also a great way to deepen the flavor. Be sure to test the chili pepper before you add it in its entirety. Different peppers from the same plant may have varying levels of heat.