Thai Peanut Curry

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I had a horrible allergy day on Tuesday. I woke up with a horrible headache and my eyes swollen shut. Michael gave me a Benedryl and sent me back to bed while he took care of Jack. I woke up later that day feeling better so Michael went in for a half day. I wanted to make him a nicer dinner to say thank-you for taking care of me, but I wasn’t feeling totally up to slaving in the kitchen.  So I turned to a mom’s best friend: the slow cooker. I looked in my fridge and quickly saw I had the right stuff to make a peanut butter curry and just ran with it.  I popped everything in, turned it on, and laid down on the couch with Jack. When Michael came home a few hours later, I just made a pot of rice and we had a wonderful dinner. He said it smelled great right when he walked in the door!

Thai Peanut CurryIMG_2235 (1)

2 cups frozen veggies
 (I used a carrot, pea, corn, and lima bean mix)
1 red bell pepper, chopped (frozen or fresh)
1  16-ounce package of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
2 tbs Thai green curry paste
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp coconut oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 tbs soy sauce
3 cups cashew or coconut milk
Optional:
Brown rice
Sriracha
Soy sauce

Crushed peanuts

Ready for this? Place all non-optional ingredients in a slow-cooker, cover and set to high. Cook for 2-3 hours, until the veggies are soft, the tofu is hot, and the sauce thickens to coat everything nicely.

Once it was done, I turned it to warm and made some brown rice. You just serve this roti or another tasty bread too. Then I served a big scoop of the curry over rice. I topped it with a few drops of soy sauce, a good squirt of sriracha, and a tiny dollop more of peanut butter.

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Sweet, spicy, and creamy. But not too rich. Jack is a non-vegetable phase, but he loved the sauce over rice. A great family meal to make with little fuss.

Thai Pumpkin Curry

I have professed my love for Fall and pumpkins before (check out my pumpkin carving and Pumpkin Waffles posts).  This past weekend Michael and I went back to the Half Moon Bay area to pick pumpkins. We decided to skip the Pumpkin Festival and all the traffic/chaos this year.

We went Arata’s Pumpkin patch, a cute little place just south of Half Moon Bay on Highway 1. It was pretty busy, but not as crowded as the Pumpkin Festival would have been. We picked our pumpkins and smiled at all the cute babies running in the patch and climbing the hay bails. It got us excited to take our little pumpkin next year.

The bump has started to appear

We each got a pumpkin to carve. Plus, we bought an extra little pumpkin and butternut squash to cook with later. I am not sure what to do with the butternut yet, but I knew the little pumpkin was destined for Thai curry. Roasted pumpkin adds another layer of flavor to a creamy and spicy curry. This is variation of my Yellow Vegetable Curry, trying to make it more authentic tasting.  I decided to make it in the crockpot so it could have plenty of time for all the flavors to mend.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Thai Pumpkin Curry
1 small pumpkin
1/2 tbs coconut oil
1 small white onion, chopped
1 half inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves of garlic
1 eggplant, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch of broccolini (normal broccoli is fine), cut into half inch pieces
1 large carrot (or 15 baby carrots), chopped
1/2 cup snap peas
1 can of coconut milk
4 cups water
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbs Sriracha
1/2 tbs tamarind chutney (or paste)
Zest of one lime
Juice of one lime
1 bundle of lemongrass
3 cardamom pods
10 large basil leaves, chopped
6 mint leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Carefully cut the crown off the top of your pumpkin (see my pumpkin carving post for more details).

Now carefully cut the pumpkin in half.

Scoop out all the seeds and membranes.

Lightly spray the insides of the pumpkin halves with cooking spray.

Place skin side down into a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until soft and tender.

Set aside to cool.

Once cool, remove the meat from the skin (I suggest a small knife and just cut away the skin and rind).

Cut it into cubes.

Plug in your crockpot and set to low.

Add the coconut oil.

Once it is melted, add the onions, garlic, ginger. Let is cook for a minute.

Add the chopped eggplant, bell pepper, broccilini, carrots, and snap peas.

Pour in the coconut milk and water. Mix well.

Add all remaining ingredients, except the salt and pepper. Mix well.

Cover and cook until the veggies are soft, about 2 hours. You may need to adjust temperature and time for your crockpot.

Serve over jasmine rice. Garnish with basil, mint, and/or cilantro.

Tons of vitamins and flavor! I lovely fall dish.

Pad Thai Fettuccine

I am not quiet sure how or why I came up with this dish, but it was sure tasty! It is like a mix between pad thai and pasta primivera.  Really easy to make too.

Pad Thai Fettuccine 
1 can stewed tomatoes
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tps garlic powder
1 tps onion powder
1 tbs chili powder
1/8 cup jarred jalapenos (less or more to depending on personal heat level)
1/2 box fettuccine (or enough for four servings, most boxes are actually 8)
Assorted veggies, fresh or frozen (I used a bag of stir fry mix but try any veggies you would put in Pad Thai)

Put a large covered pot of water on the stove to boil.


Toss the stewed tomatoes, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and jalapenos into the blender and blend until smooth. Taste it and adjust seasoning to your tastes. I added a little more chili powder because I like it spicy.

Once your water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the directions. Drain and return to the pot.

Heat up (or cook if you are using fresh) the veggies in a skillet with a bit of cooking spray or oil.

Add the cooked veggies to the pasta pot. Pour in the sauce and mix well.

I topped mine with a few more jalapenos and chili powder. A very lovely and easy dinner!

Yellow Vegetable Curry

I LOVE coconut curry. Red, green, yellow—doesn’t matter, I love them all. I fell in love with curry the moment I tasted the Green Curry from Sweet Basil in Eugene, Oregon. Eggplant, bamboo shoots, and green peppers is my favorite combination.  It’s my ultimate comfort food—and it will definitely clear-out your sinuses if you get it hot enough. I eat it so often that I’ve had to up my spice level from medium to hot recently. Curry is still good mild, so don’t let it scare you away. Fresh vegetables smothered in a creamy sauce over fragrant rice, what’s not to love?  

There are tons of good curry recipes out there and after trying several of them, came up with this recipe based on my own tastes. Because it is fairly basic, you can easily adjust it to your preferences. You can put in your favorite veggies and toppings.

As for the hot level, every teaspoon of chili sauce will kick it up a notch. For mild, one teaspoon. Medium, two. And hot, three. And for Thai hot (I am still working my way up to that), four or five.

I strongly suggest if you have never had curry before, to go with only one teaspoon. It would be a shame if it was too hot for you to enjoy.

 

Not as thick as the can stuff, but still good.

Most recipes call for canned coconut milk. Don’t bother with “light” coconut milk. It’s just watered down and usually costs more. If you want to cut down on calories, water it down yourself and save some money.  I came across boxed coconut milk from So Delicious today and thought I would try it in the curry. It was the same price as a can but 3 times the amount. It’s not as concentrated but I did not notice a big difference in the sauce. By the way, they make AMAZING ice cream too.

Yellow Vegetable Curry
Olive or peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbs minced ginger
1 can or 1 and 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 tbs sugar (optional, but I like mine a bit sweet)
1 tbs yellow curry powder or 1/2 tbs yellow curry paste
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs tumeric
1/2 cinnamon
1 tbs soy sauce
1 to 4 tps chili sauce (can be sweet or standard), depending on personal hotness level
3 Japanese eggplant
1 cup fresh green beans
2 red or green peppers
3 carrots

I used 3 and 1/2 tsp, I like to sweat after my curry

Saute garlic and ginger in a little oil, until slightly golden. Add coconut milk, sugar, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and soy sauce. Whisk together, then add desired amount of chili sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes.
                               

         
Chop all the veggies into bite-sized pieces. Remember to snap the ends off the green beans.

I really suggest using fresh veggies, frozen ones get too soggy in the curry sauce. I got all my veggies, except the carrots, from the Hilo Farmers Market.

Always try to buy local organic produce if you can, it really does taste better and it’s always good to support local businesses. If these veggies aren’t in season where you live, use ones that are, it will be just as good. I’m lucky to live in a tropical climate that grows most veggies all year round.

Saute the veggies in a little oil over medium heat, just until the carrots soften a bit and the eggplant starts to sweat. Don’t over cook them now, they will get too mushy in the sauce.

Pour the curry sauce in with the veggies and mix together well. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring as needed so it doesn’t burn.

Curry is so delicious that you can eat it on its own, but it goes great over a grain too. I served mine over brown rice. I also suggest jasmine rice, mainly because it smells so amazing.

Like my new bowl?

Fresh basil on top is a wonderful addition…but I forgot to buy some at the store.

Curry is also wonderful for your health. Here is an article from USA Today I found awhile back. And check out good ol’ Wikipedia for its article on curry too.

Behold the power of spices

Pad Thai Pizza

Every Friday night, my mom makes homemade pizza. She’s perfected it over the years and it’s beyond amazing. I am still working on my pizza skills but mine isn’t bad either.  I found a recipe Veg Web for Tofu Broccoli Peanut Pizza and I decided to make my own version. This pizza has no cheese.  I don’t like the texture of most vegan cheeses. When mixed in with things they are great, but most don’t melt well so I don’t like them on my pizza. This pizza is so good you don’t even need it.

Pad Thai Pizza
Pizza crust (store bought is just fine but here is a link for a nice homemade one that explains it better than I can)


Sauce:
1 tbs peanut butter (either smooth or chunky is fine)
1 cup tomato sauce (homemade or jarred, as long as it’s kind of thick)
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tps cumin
1/2 tps tumeric
1/4  tps ginger powder
1/4 tps garlic salt powder
1/4 tps red pepper flake

Toppings:
1/4 cup fresh basil (not dried, it really does not taste the same)
1/2 cup extra firm tofu, drain and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
Fresh lime

Preheat oven to 450 degrees or the temperature specified for your dough if you are making your own. Since the pizza has no cheese to melt, it’s best to pre-bake the dough first, about 10-15 minutes.

While it’s baking, mix all the sauce ingredients together. It should make a gooey paste, similar to Pad Thai sauce.

When the crust is done prebaking, spread the sauce on in a thick coating. Then add the toppings. I usually put the basil down first so it’s doesn’t burn, then veggies and the tofu on top last.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until toppings are heated through. Remember, this is not a normal pizza. It will not get bubbly so don’t leave it in too long because it will just burn.

Squirt with a little lime juice, just like you would for Pad Thai, cut and enjoy!

You could also top it with bean spouts, cilantro, or any other Pad Thai toppings.