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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Coconut yellow curry with vegetables and chickpeas

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It's been more than a little while, friends.  Like many of you, I find myself with a bit more time on my hands right now.  There are countless think pieces and philosophical musings out there right now and I'm not going to add to that.  I don't really have anything to add - I'm not sure what I could say that hasn't been said or written at this point.

But I thought that what I can do is maybe help some people who are currently having to cook a lot more often than usual, and having to be more creative with what they have.  I usually have a few ideas there and while I've been sharing tips on my Facebook page, I've been getting recipe requests through my Insta DMs so I thought that when I create an actual recipe, I might post it here.  The pics are probably going to be from my phone, so they won't look great, but I will promise you that if I post a recipe here, it's because it works and it's flexible and tasty.

Enough with the blather.  You're here for the food.  So here it is.  This curry happened because I had a cauliflower that was on the verge of going bad and I happened to have yellow curry paste sitting around. I like Aroy-D curry paste - while you can order it for an exorbitant price from Amazon, I can also tell you that your local asian grocery store probably has it at a fraction of the price and could likely use your business right now (in a socially-distant and responsible way).  The paste is $15 on Amazon, but I paid $4 for it at Best Price Oriental Market in Kanata.

Coconut Yellow Curry with Vegetables and Chickpeas

2 T oil
2 shallots (could substitute onions)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chopped ginger
1/4 c yellow curry paste (I recommend Aroy-D)
3 potatoes (could substitute sweet potatoes or other root vegetables), chopped in 1" pieces
1 cauliflower (could use broccoli or other veg), chopped in bite sized pieces
1 can chickpeas, drained (could use any other bean, tofu or meat)
2 T fish sauce (could use soy sauce)
1 T lime juice (could use lemon or try a few drops of vinegar to get the acidity)
1 t lime zest
2 T brown sugar (could sub any other sweetener like honey, maple, white sugar)
1 can coconut milk
basil (fresh is best but dried works in a pinch - I used a combo of frozen and dried)

1. In a large pan over medium heat, heat up the oil.  Add the shallots and fry for 2-3 minutes.  Then add the garlic and ginger and fry for a couple more minutes (try not to let it brown too much, but if it does, don't worry).

2. Add the curry paste and saute.  It will stick a bit and that's okay.

3. Add 1.5 cups water and deglaze your pan.  Add a pinch of salt, then the potatoes and cauliflower.  Cover the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, checking occasionally to stir.  Once the potatoes and cauliflower are cooked, add the chickpeas and the can of coconut milk.  Stir and heat.

4. Taste.  At this point, it might be a little bland.  And that's because you need to balance the flavour.  Now is your chance to add salt and umami with the fish sauce, add some acidity with the lime juice and lime zest, and a bit of sweetness with the brown sugar.  I've recommended amounts, but you should use your own tastebuds to season to YOUR liking.  This is not an especially spicy curry.

5. The other thing is that the curry might also be a bit watery at this point.   So I like to let the sauce reduce for another 10 minutes or so.  This works pretty well with potatoes and cauliflower, but might not work so well if you used something like green beans or broccoli.  Add your basil (although if you're using dried, I'd add it earlier in the process, so it has a chance to rehydrate and flavour your dish.

6. Serve over rice (or quinoa or whatever).

Everyone in our family liked this dish - yellow curry paste is nice and flavourful without being spicy, so it's a good one for kids (although my minis still love green curry, they can't eat much of it because it's so spicy).  Success of this dish will depend on proper seasoning (i.e., finding that balance of salt, flavour, acidity and sweetness), so start with a little bit of your seasonings and then add more so it taste the way that YOU want it.

I hope this helps someone find a little inspiration.  And if you have questions about substitutions or ingredients, don't hesitate to comment or to find me on Facebook.

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