Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Being Lazy with Curry

Recently one of healthy boyfriend's roommates made a thai meal for a bunch of hungry 20 somethings on Friday night. Healthy boyfriend called to inform me that I did not have to make dinner and I was sold.
His roommate had spent a while in Thailand and was making various Thai curries, jasmine rice, and curried potatoes. I'm pretty much in kindergarden when it comes to asian cooking and asian flavor. I love the spices and flavors, but haven't had much time to dabble in the kitchen with asian cuisine. I make a mean peanut butter sauce and that's about it.

Dinner ended up being delicious and I was so impressed with curry. Not too spicy with hints of ginger, garlic, and lemon grass. Healthy Boyfriend's roomie confessed he could not take credit for any of the flavor. He bought pre-made curry pastes from the local asian store and just let it simmer for a few hours. That night I made sure to write down the curry paste he had used and the rough "recipe" which was mostly throw everything into a pot and let it simmer.

This is one of the easiest dishes ever. Of course there is some cheating involved when it comes to developing flavor. But sometimes I need an easy go to dish, that takes little kitchen time, and has a flexible ingredient list. All the vegetables were carefully selected by looking in my kitchen and seeing what I had around. One of the best things about making curry, is it's forgiving with ingredients. You can use almost any vegetable because everything tastes good in a curry. All the vegetables were local which is always nice, since the paste and coconut milk were both imported from Thailand.

So if you are looking for an unbelievably easy soup that you can throw almost anything in, here you go.
This is what the curry paste I bought looked like, but there are many different companies that make this type of paste. Depending on where you live, you may need to visit a speciality Asian market to find these types of pastes. Masaman is a mild sweeter curry, but there are spicier ones, green extremely mild ones, and everything in between.
Once I know more about these flavors I would love to develop the flavors myself, and make curry from scratch. With colder weather creeping into our doorways, I do think we all need a few quick soups that take almost no effort and produce outstanding results.

Masaman Curry with assorted Vegetables

The Goods: Serves 4-6
1 (4 oz) can of masaman curry paste
2 (14 oz) cans unsweetened coconut milk ( I used one regular and one light)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cups brocolli, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
4-5 radishes, sliced into 1/2 discs
3-4 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
1-2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

The Deal: 
1. Heat peanut oil in large pot on medium heat and stir in paste. Heat until combined about 3-4 minutes. Stir in 1 can of coconut milk and heat for 5 minutes. Add all your vegetables, the other can of coconut milk, and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer on low heat until all the vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes. Serve hot.
Paste and Oil
From a bunch of ingredients to curry!
You can simmer up to 4 hours, though you may need to add additional coconut milk or vegetable broth. Serve with jasmine rice or another starch. 

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