Super overabundance of vegetables green curry ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

07 February 2007

Super overabundance of vegetables green curry

THAI CURRY. It is delicious. I love all kinds, particularly panang, but have never really been able to accomplish a decent version at home. In the past we have blamed this on various things, such as overcooking when we had to run out to get some ingredient after starting the vegetables, or using premade curry paste instead of sucking it up and doing it ourselves. Really I've been a little afraid to try. Also, the good Asian market up our street closed down! How can we get actual curry paste ingredients? (We totally can, but we'd have to make some effort.) In conclusion, I am lazy.

So we ate Thai lunch pretty often at this place in downtown Palo Alto called Siam Royal. It's excellent and cheap and within a five minute walk from my office: all key points for me and lunch. However! Right before we went off to vacation, I spied a terrible, terrible sign in their window: on vacation--closed for remodeling. Oh no! Would they be open when we got back from Europe? We were gone for a long time! BUT NO. They are still closed, and we are bereft.

Then, totally by chance, I found Posie's green curry recipe. She has some interesting pictures. I am certainly interested in eating such a curry! So I adapted her recipe and came up with this version. I was still a little skeptical, since I did use premade curry paste, and clearly that is not up to par with Siam Royal. But when John tasted his, he went "ooh!" He then proceeded to eat another few spoonfuls before asking, "Did you make the curry paste?" No, I didn't! It was in a jar! And yet the curry succeeded wildly and well, and we both licked bowls entirely clean.

Super overabundance of vegetables green curry

1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 small eggplant
some green beans
1 green pepper
1 1/2 zucchini (or 1 gigantic one)
the end of a bag of frozen green peas
fresh basil leaves
1 can coconut milk
couple spoonfuls decent green curry paste
peanut oil, salt, pepper

Heat some oil in a wide frying pan or pot. I used a mix of peanut and olive oil, but any oil you want to use (besides plain gack "vegetable oil" oh no!! !) should be fine and workable. I like peanut oil for the flavor, but didn't want everything to just reek of peanut. Mixing oils worked out fine. It generally does.

Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and saute them both in the oil with a little salt and pepper. Cube the eggplant; when things are reasonable and soft, add it to the pan. You may need a bit more oil here, as eggplant sucks it up particularly viciously. While it's softening, chop up the rest of your fresh vegetables. I first put in some green beans, then later added zucchini and green pepper. You can really use whatever you have on hand, and think will taste good; I'm just including my quantities to give an idea of total volume. As a general rule, add hard vegetables (i.e. eggplant) first, and the softer ones (bell pepper, zucchini) later on.

After your last additions have started to soften, add a couple good spoonfuls of green curry paste and the (shaken!) can of coconut milk. Stir to mix it all well, and let it simmer for a few minutes. Taste. Is it good? Do you want spicier curry? Add some more curry paste. I used at least a good tablespoon. Let everything simmer together for a few more minutes, to let the flavors develop. Then add your frozen peas, stir, and bring the curry back to a simmer. You only want to warm the peas; they've been blanched before they were packaged, and if you overcook them, they'll get all shrively and texturally issueous.

At the very last minute, add a handful of torn basil. Stir, let the leaves wilt for a minute or so, and serve over rice. We had short-grain brown.

Drinks: beer. I had Boddington's; John had Beck's. Thai food always goes well with light-colored beer. Otherwise, green or jasmine tea.

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