Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Choose Your Own Green Curry Adventure

     So this is a recipe I've been toying around with for awhile, trying to get it up to 'post-worthy' standards. The only problem though, is with the way I cook: Unless I'm following a specific recipe, I'm sort of a 'dash of this, pinch of that' kind of chick--I don't really do measurements, I just add stuff until it tastes the way I like it. This doesn't really help me much in the recipe-sharing department.

     Green (or red) curry is something I make often, and it's a little different every time (not to mention, pretty much impossible to screw up). I love the balance of flavors--the rich, coconutty goodness is a go-to comfort food for me. Definitely a weeknight staple, most of the time I can throw a quick curry together in less than 20 minutes. Ever since I started making my own, my boyfriend and I no longer eat Thai Food in restaurants (which was something I used to LOVE).

     When searching for green curry recipes online, most of them use Thai basil (different than Mediterranean basil), kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and cilantro. This is all fine and good, but if you don't live anywhere near an Asian market, you're probably going to be hard-pressed to find some of this stuff. However, while these components DO add a little something to your curry, you can omit them and still be left with a tasty dish. Hey, it may not be authentic Thai, but it can be authentic YOU. You just need to play around with what you have on hand. Think of it as a "Choose Your Own Curry Adventure" story.

     Anyway, to help guide you on your way, here's what you need to make a very sexy-looking, quick (almost) everything-in-one-skillet green Thai curry like this:

Green Thai Curry with Shrimp and Vegetables Over Cauliflower Rice
Serves: 2, with Leftovers.

Curry Sauce:
1 can of Unsweetened Coconut Milk
2 T Coconut Oil
2-4 T Green Curry Paste (or more, to taste)
1 3-4" stalk of Lemongrass
Ginger - Start with 1 teas. and go from there. Fresh ginger is great, but powder works fine, too.
1/8 cup Chicken Broth*- (Usually only a small splash if I happen to have it on hand. Makes the curry slightly more savory.)
Sea Salt to taste - Most Thai curries use fish sauce, which is packed to the gills (har har) with sodium, and has added sugar. Instead, I just add some salt.
Several Thai Basil Leaves
1-2 T Coconut Butter, if I have it on hand.* - A spoonful of this added in at the end REALLY adds some rich deliciousness.

*These ingredients aren't entirely necessary, but if I have them, I usually throw them in.
  Other optional add-ins are kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, garlic, coriander, cilantro, or, if you want more heat, red chiles (the recipe above yeilds a more mild curry sauce. Spicy food isn't faring particularly well with me being pregnant!)

Other Stuff:
-Your Choice of vegetables--I used zucchini, green onion, and baby bok choy. Use whatever you like!
-Your Choice of Protein: Chicken or shrimp work well, but you can use pretty much whatever you want.

What to Do:
  • Heat Coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add vegetables and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
  • Split lemongrass down the middle and smash with the flat side of a knife to release aromatic goodness. Add to skillet with garlic, ginger, and curry paste and give it a stir, allowing the flavors to come together for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and chicken broth. Then add shrimp, chicken, or whatever protein you decided to go with, as well as thai basil if you're using it. Simmer on low heat until cooked (shrimp will cook faster than chicken, so keep that in mind)
  • Optional: I like to separate my meat/shrimp/veggies from my curry sauce before serving. That way, you only use as much sauce as you need, leaving more precious leftovers for the following day. Also, you'll probably want to fish out the lemongrass stalk, since it doesn't really soften with cooking.
  • Scoop a mound of cauliflower rice (directions below) into a bowl, top with shrimp/veggies, and then pour curry sauce on top.
  • Let the Yumness commence.
- Cauliflower Rice -
I covered this once before, but if you need a refresher):

     Cauliflower rice is just cauliflower chopped up in a food processor, the end product looking very much like, well, rice. Check it out:

     To make it, place cauliflower in food processor and pulse until it looks like the picture above. Don't go too crazy or it'll look more like couscous. Unless you want it to look like couscous, that is. Anyway, I use a food processor (though a blender would work fine, too), and just put a big handful of cauliflower in at a time (doing it little by little keeps it looking more rice-y, and less couscous-y). Scoop it out, repeat.

     Then, put it in a dish with a lid, and stick it in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes, or until it is the right degree of tenderness. Do NOT add water, as this will turn it to mush. I like to make extra and keep it in the fridge--it's very versatile and good for whipping up quick lunches and dinners.

A Few Things about This Recipe:
    As mentioned above, there are lots of ways to play around with this recipe. Consider it more of a 'guide' than anything else. There are TONS of curry recipes on the internet that can be easily tweaked and made Paleo (usually the only change necessary is the type of oil used, and omitting fish sauce and/or sugar). Also, you don't have to make everything all in one skillet, you can make the sauce on its own (you may want to cut the amount of oil used in half) and serve with grilled, roasted, or sauteed anything (like I did with my Salmon with Red Curry).
     I love having extra curry sauce on hand--I wound up using it for this super easy lunch I had the following day (this time switching it up and using cooked chicken, broccoli, green onion, and shredded cabbage).

Ahh, this was some good stuff.

Have any curry tips or recipes you'd like to share? Post them here!
Now commentluv-enabled, for my fellow bloggers!  :)