Thursday, February 23, 2012
hungry thursday: red thai vegetable curry with toasted cashews
You know one of those meals you make just to use up something that's been sitting in the fridge for ages, and it turns out to be really, really good so then you have to go out and buy more of that thing you've been trying to use up for ages....because you want to make it again? :)
This was one of those. A meal I didn't think would be anything much....but turned out to be a total winner!
This isn't your typical thai curry though - I had a bit of a Mother Hubbard situation and wanted it to be filling, fast and use up pretty much everything I had, which meant tossing in a few unorthodox ingredients. Like potatoes. And chickpeas. Things you might find in an Indian curry, perhaps. But wow, it really worked!
What follows is what I did, but I've made a few suggestions for other things you could use if you have them lying around. Try not to miss the toasted cashews part though if you can possibly help it, as they add a really nice buttery richness to it. I think they are the key to making this dish this taste explosion that it is!
And one other thing - broccoli, which is in season here at the moment, comes alive in a Thai curry. Not sure why, but I don't question these things!
Red thai vegetable curry with toasted cashews
Serves about 6 moderate portions, or 4 hungry portions!
Olive oil, or cooking spray
1 onion or 1 leek or 2 or 3 shallots, finely chopped (or a mixture of all three)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
4 small-ish potatoes, quartered or equivalent of sweet potato/butternut squash or tofu
1 x 420g can chickpeas, drained
1 small bunch chard, chopped (separate stalks and leaves) or spinach or kale or bok choy
1 small red pepper, chopped into strips or any other vegetable you fancy
1 medium head broccoli, chopped (including the stalk!)
4 tablespoons thai red curry paste (or as much or little as you like, I use about half of a 285gm jar)
1 x 400ml can coconut milk (light or full fat)
A bit of vegetable stock, if you need it
2 handfuls cashew nuts
Brown rice, to serve
Lemon or lime juice, to serve
Red chillies, sliced, to garnish
Heat enough olive oil or cooking spray in a cast iron casserole pot or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, saute a little until they start to soften, and then add the potatoes, chickpeas, the chard stalks, the broccoli stalk, pepper strips and curry paste. Reserve the chard leaves and broccoli florets.
Just a note on the curry paste: I've found they tend to vary in heat and intensity. I can use anything from 2 teaspoons to half the jar! It just depends on hot you like it and how familiar you are with the brand you use. Experiment until you find the right heat for you. Also, veggies take note: check if there's fish sauce in the ingredients if you are a strict vegetarian/vegan. I have found some lovely vegan curry pastes in my local health food store. You can always make your own too - here's a good recipe. You can also make this recipe with green, yellow or any other curry paste you have handy.
Coat all the vegetables in the curry paste and continue to saute until fragrant. Add the coconut milk. Mix everything well. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and place the lid on top. Set a timer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add stock if it gets dry.
Add the chard leaves and broccoli florets, stir and replace the lid for another five minutes or until the broccoli is tender.
While that is happening, toast the cashews in a dry non stick pan until golden.
Serve the curry in deep bowls with brown rice, toasted cashews on top, chilli if using, and a squeeze of lemon or lime. If you have some basil or coriander floating around, scatter a few leaves on top as well. Yum!
Store cupboard eating never tasted so fine!!
Are you a fan of Thai curries? What's your favourite?