Thursday, June 14, 2012

(Cheater's) Coconut Curry

With weekdays filled with classes and homework, dinner is really an afterthought for me. I come home starving at 4, though, so I need a solid, healthy meal to get me (and my over-working brain) through the night. Because waking up at 2 a.m. for reasons that are only unbeknownst to me until 7am the next day when I take a bite of my toast and realize I'm beyond famished is really not cool.

So, I've taken to cooking up a storm on weekends. And with a jar of green curry paste and a gorgeous hunk of grass-fed meat from a local farm, one thing was on my mind: coconut curry. And I'm not even supposed to EAT coconut. This was worth it.

Being short on time (and not being in a kitchen of my own), I took short cuts and used that store-bought paste as it's senseless to invest in spices right now (they'd go bad before I finished them). But I don't think I sacrificed any taste... just be sure to use quality ingredients - good meat, fresh herbs, tasty, tender vegetables, and it's sure to be a success.

(Dreaming of a dish like this after a day like this, above....)

As I was roasting broccoli for the week and caramelizing onions, those two veggies were the first in the pot. I used up the last of my carrots and threw them in, too. And with a bounty of fresh basil, for a garnish at the end, my dish would be complete. I served this with the nutty quinoa I made, but it would be best over short-grain brown rice or black rice (my favorite). Then again, I kind of like it on its own (as I enjoyed last night).

Cheater's Green Coconut Curry

2 tablespoons coconut oil (skimmed of my coconut milk)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 head of broccoli (including stems), chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 jar green curry paste (if you're sensitive to heat, start with less. I like mine with a smidge of a kick; this barely gave that kick to me)
1 lb meat (I used grass-fed chuck roast from a local farmer; chicken works, too, as would tofu if you wish), cut into bite-sized chunks
1 can coconut milk (I used the real thing, not lite)
1-2 cups water
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt, to taste
Fresh basil, for garnish

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until half translucent. Add the carrots and the rest of the vegetables and continue to cook. Once tender, add the curry paste and cook 1 minute. Then add the meat and cook until most pieces are seared. Add the coconut milk and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil (add more water if you like your curry more soupy). Reduce to a simmer and let cook 15 minutes. Add the brown sugar and soy sauce, and taste for flavor. Season to taste, then keep warm until serving.

To serve, scoop the curry (with PLENTY of sauce) over a heaping mound of rice and top with a handful of fresh basil. Then grab a cocktail and enjoy...

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