Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yellow Curry - Thai Style - Vegetarian (or not)

Some people love curry, some people hate curry.  Some love the spices like lemongrass, Some hate the spices.  Some love the heat, some hate the heat.  And it can be definitely not diet friendly (big bowl of rice and coconut milk?  Tastes great, but calorie wise, not good)

Well, with the Wife having abandoned us for the evening, leaving just Daughter #3 and myself at home, it was time for some curry.  We like the spice, and Marjorie likes some heat, so it was time for Yellow Curry, Thai Style.

I have no idea if this is true, but I find that store bought yellow curry pastes are milder than green and red curry pastes.  Now of course if you make your own you can control the heat, but lets face it, most of us 1) do not have the time, 2) don't have access to all the ingredients and 3) when we do, don't what to pay the price ($4 for lemongrass?  no thank you).  So do what most people do (including Asians , buy it already made, in the store.  I suggest going to a local Asian grocery, such as L'Oriental here in Eau Claire, but even the paste in most groceries is going to be ok.  The advantage of going to an Asian grocery is they will have many brands and you can ask the staff there about them.  I use Mae Ploy brand.  The stuff lasts forever in the fridge once opened.

The key for me to make Asian food more diet friendly is not to do away with ingredients like coconut milk and rice, but to fill the dish with other things so you don't use so much.  So the key filler ingredients in mine are white potatoes and sweet potatoes - they give you starch, but better starch than rice.

8 oz of Tofu, drained and pressed (or at least blotted) dried
1 can coconut milk
1 cup vegetarian stock
1 tbs fish sauce
1 red, yellow or orange pepper, sliced thin
1 bag frozen peas
8 oz white potato, pealed and diced
8 oz sweet potato, pealed and diced
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1-3 tbs Yellow Curry Paste, use to taste (start small, you can add more)
1 tbs Tamarind Paste (ok, you don't have to, but it also lasts forever)
8 oz Chicken thighs, diced, if not veg
1 cup rice
Cilantro, diced
Lime, quartered
1 Fresh Jalapeno, sliced thin (if you like some more heat)

Add coconut milk, fish  sauce and veg stock to pot (le crueset works great here).  Bring to low boil
When heated, add Yellow Curry Paste and Tamarind.  Stir until mixed.  Tamarind may not fully disintegrate.
Add White and Sweet potatoes.  Cook until they are done to your taste.
Add Peas and Tofu, cook 4 minutes
Add sliced peppers, cook 1 minute

When you start the meal, start the rice separately and hold warm till the Curry is done.  I hate overcooked veg in my curry.
Serve Cilantro, Lime and Jalapeno on the side for people to add as desired

If you want meat, what I like to do is mix 1 tbs oil and 1 tbs yellow curry paste - mix together and let sit 15 minutes for the oil to pick up the flavors.  Then fry the chicken in the oil/curry paste (separately from the curry if you want to keep the main dish veg).  Hold and serve with the curry for those who want meat.

I like my curry wet - more like soup.  So I cook most of this with the top on the pan to prevent evaporation. If you like it dry, cook with the top off.

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