Sunday, April 3, 2011

Thai for Cheaters (Like Me): Red Curry

Let me preface this with this is not a classic curry from scratch. As a busy person working in Manhattan, cooking often takes a backseat to my busy schedule. Yet, I have to eat -- and I often want to eat nutritious meals that are full of flavor (but aren't too rich). I love dishes with a bit of spice, and anything with coconut in it. In early spring, when my allergies are just starting to act up and one's sinuses stuff up, this is the perfect light yet filling, flavorful and sinus-clearing kind of dish that I can't do without.

I've simplified the steps (yes, and cheated. I'm so embarassed) and recruited the help of a pre-made curry paste. While it's not the same nor as complex as a curry made from complete scratch, it's lightyears better than takeout or something from the hot/cold bar at Whole Foods.


I love Thai curries. The aroma alone of creamy coconut milk with the slight heat of the pungent curry spices makes my mouth water. I will often add lamb coupled with whatever vegetables I have on hand and simmer the mixture together until meltingly tender. Alone, a curry is a hearty alternative to a bowl of soup. For something even more substantial, serve it atop a cup of brown rice cooked with a bit of coconut oil and coconut milk, for added flavor. Added benefit of this recipe? It cooks in the same amount of time it takes to cook rice.

While I used lamb, onions, and bell peppers in this curry, you can really use whatever ingredients you have on hand. For example, try chicken instead of lamb, and use fresh snow peas and zucchini instead of the red bell peppers. A vegetarian? You can also use chopped tofu as well.

As published on The Daily Meal

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces red curry paste
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
One 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 cup water
¾ pound lamb stew meat or tenderloins cut in ¾-inch pieces
Cooked rice, for serving, preferably brown rice
Sliced jalapeño, for garnish
Fresh basil, for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Add curry paste and cook, constantly stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and the peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, soy sauce, and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the lamb. Cover with a lid and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or longer if the lamb is not yet cooked.

Remove the lid and let the curry sit for 5 minutes. Serve over a bowl of rice and garnish with sliced jalapeños and basil.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Serves 4

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