Sunday, March 20, 2011
Asian Fusion Night
Kathy and I have done it again! LEFT: Spicy Coconut Red Thai Curry served over Jasmine Rice (not pictured) RIGHT: Vegetable Tofu Lettuce Wraps with spicy hoisin OR sweet peanut sauce.
SPICY COCONUT RED THAI CURRY
This dish comes together so quickly and tasted amazing. I originally got the idea from my Aunt Jean, who makes this curry for her fabulous parties, mainly because it's so quick and easy, and tastes like you've slaved over it for hours. The key ingredient is authentic Thai curry paste, which can be found at most Asian markets.
When I was in Baltimore a couple weeks ago, I took a walk, and found the most wonderful Asian grocery. I came home with this:
quite a haul, indeed
The thai curry paste I used in this dish is the very top can, next to the panko, called Panang Curry by the brand Maesri. Close up of the can here:
When buying Thai curry pastes, be sure to check ingredient list on the back, as some types do contain fish sauce. I've found that the Panang (above), Red and Yellow curry pastes are vegan, whereas the Green usually have fish sauce in them. I will keep on the lookout for a vegan "Green" curry, as those are SUPER spicy which I like!
What makes my Aunt Jean's recipe so wonderfully versatile is that you can use just about anything you like! The vegetables I used in this particular one were: 1/2 a yellow pepper, 1/2 a red pepper. 1/2 red onion, 2 carrots, 1 can bamboo shoots, chopped, and the white parts of 2 scallions, all sliced.
Now, for the protein, I used 2 loaves of homemade, Steamed White Seitan from VIVA VEGAN that I had in the freezer. If you don't have this amazing book, the recipe for the home made seitan can be found here. Ideally, I probably would have omitted the cumin in the seitan recipe, as this seitan is meant for Latin-style dishes. But, it's what I had on hand, the cumin wasn't too strong, and the Panang red curry sauce is a strong enough flavor to cover it. (And, by using it I've discovered that the steamed white seitan freezes EXTREMELY well)! Now if seitan isn't your thing, this dish works wonderfully with a package of extra firm tofu, cubed and browned with a bit of the curry paste added in for flavor.
For this recipe, I sliced the defrosted seitan into bite size pieces, and sauteed them in some canola oil and shallot until brown. Then, I stirred in about 1 TBSP of the panang curry paste, and sauteed a few minutes more. I then removed the seitan from the pan and set aside while I cooked the vegetables.
In the same pan, I sauted the veggies in a bit of canola oil for about 5 minutes. At this point, my Aunt would add fish sauce to hers, but I used about a tbsp of Braggs liquid aminos instead. I find that really works well to replace the fish sauce called for in many Thai dishes. Then I added the curry paste, mixed it through the vegetables, and sauteed for another minute or two. I used about 1/2 a can (I had used about 1/4 can to sautee the seitan) Cut back on the paste if you don't like too much heat, but I like it spicy. Finally, I added about half a can of light coconut milk (Trader Joe's 14 1/2 oz can). Simmer for 5- 10 minutes, then top with chopped scallions and basil. Serve it over Jasmine rice ^_^