“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul” – Dorothy Day
It’s a gorgeous day here, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. Spring really has sprung.
Because it was so beautiful out, I didn’t want to spend the day in the kitchen (yeah I know, that’s shocking) So instead, I made an easy veggie curry that tastes like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen.
Thai curry at it’s most basic is simply spice, heat (in the form of chillies) and creaminess, which comes from the addition of coconut milk. But like with any curry, the ratio of ingredients and the extra bits you toss in is what makes it special. This means that no two curries are alike and they can always be tailored to your specific taste. Do you like it so hot that it hurts when you eat it? No problem. Looking for a recipe for the whole family? Easy.
The possibilities are endless.
There are three varieties of Thai curry pastes readily available: green, yellow and red. But do you know the difference between them?
You can think of it as traffic light. Green is the most mild, it’s made with…well…green chillies as well as copious amounts of coriander (cilantro), Thai basil and lime.
Yellow Thai curry paste is made with yellow chilli peppers, and turmeric is also heavily featured which is what gives it the distinct yellow colour (have you read my post on spices and herbs?) The yellow variety is spicier than the green but not quite as hot as the red.
Red Thai curry paste is made with, that’s right you’ve guessed it, red chillies. There can be anywhere up to 20 chillies per jar of paste and it’s by far the spiciest variety. That being said though, it all depends on how much of the paste you add to your curry. My suggestion is to open the jar and give it a little taste.
Today we’re using the jarred variety but if you want to try to make your own paste (and please do try it), then I recommend this one.
This curry is very versatile and you can add whatever you have on hand.
I had some peppers and a head of broccoli in the fridge so that’s what’s going into this curry but feel free to switch the veggies as you like.
Mushrooms, butternut squash, green beans, or cauliflower would all work well (just make sure to adjust the cooking times to ensure that the veggies are cooked all the way through). You can even add some protein to the mix, in the form of diced chicken breast or silken tofu.
Now, where do we begin? Start by finely chopping a small white onion and a shallot, and cook them over medium heat with one tablespoon of olive oil until they are just beginning to colour. Then throw in the garlic and ginger, both finely minced. Cook everything for a couple of minutes.
Add your sliced peppers and carrots. Cook until the peppers are softened and the carrots lose their hard bite, about five minutes. You can add a tiny bit of water at this stage if it looks like your onions and garlic are getting too coloured.
Throw in your red Thai curry paste and stir, make sure it’s well incorporated. Allow the curry paste to fry for a couple of minutes, then toss in your broccoli and cook for a further two minutes.
Look at those wonderful colours!
Add half a cup of water and a can of coconut milk. Simmer on medium low heat for 15 minutes. You want to make sure that your heat isn’t too high otherwise your coconut milk will split and you’ll be left with an unappetising oily film on top.
After 15 minutes you get this…
Just look at that…don’t you just want to pour yourself a giant bowl of it?
Turn off the heat and add some soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and a touch of brown sugar. Give it a taste and adjust for seasoning. And that’s it you’re done!
This curry would be delicious served over some white rice, brown rice or giant cous cous.
But a new health food store opened across the street from my work and they were selling this easy cook, organic millet, split green pea and lentil mix and I thought it would be the perfect accompaniment to the veggie curry…and I don’t want to brag… but I was right!
Plate up a heaping serving of this curry – it’s delicious, spicy, incredibly flavourful and healthy to boot. It’s even ready in 40 minutes. What more could you want! Enjoy it!
Stunning Red Thai Curry
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 red pepper, cut into strips
- 1 yellow pepper, cut into strips
- 3 carrots, sliced diagonally
- 3 Tbsp (or to taste) Thai red curry paste
- 1 can coconut milk
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- garnish of green onion, lime wedges, thinly sliced red chillies
Heat the oil in a deep sided skillet. Add the onions and shallots and cook until they are just starting to colour. Add the garlic and ginger and continue cooking until fragrant.
Add the peppers and carrots and cook for 5 minutes until the peppers are softened and carrots lose their hard bite. Add the curry paste and fry for 2 minutes. Then add the broccoli, mix everything well.
Throw in the coconut milk and water and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the veggies are cooked through and the sauce is thickened. Make sure not to boil or your coconut milk will split.
Remove from the heat, add the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar.
Serve over steaming rice and garnish with lime wedges, chillies and green onions.