Friday, January 12, 2007

Thai green curry with tempeh

There's something really comforting about a nice rich Thai curry when it's cold. The spice and the coconut milk and the perfect antidote to sub-zero temperatures (Seattle is currently a snowy wonderland with snow and ice on most streets. See the photo gallery here).

So, a few nights ago A+I rustled up a quick curry, and it turned out really well. We decided to put tempeh (Wikipedia link) in instead of tofu (being vegetarians) - tempeh is originally from Java & Indonesia, so geographically it sort-of makes sense. Interestingly (for me) tempeh actually contains fungus (it's held together by the mycellium), and the fungus has antibiotic properties. Before I gross out the people who've never tasted tempeh, it's actually quite yummy. It's firm, has a nutty flavour (depends a bit on the specific tempeh you use) and is kind of crumbly/chunky. If the texture of tofu is too squishy or you find it too bland, try tempeh! :)

Just in case I want to make it again (highly likely) or you, dear reader, are in search of such a recipe, here it is:

Thai green curry with tempeh
1 pack of tempeh (such as Turtle Island's), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped or minced
1 tbsp Thai green curry paste (check it's without shrimp if your a veg*n)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 carrot, finely sliced
1 large zucchini/courgette, cut in half and sliced
1/2 small can water chestnuts and/or bamboo shoots
1 jalapeno chilli, seeded and minced
1 can of light coconut milk
1 tsp salt
Optional: 1 lime, chopped peanuts and green onion (scallions) for garnish

Heat the oil and sautee the onions, garlic, chilli and curry paste over medium heat, until they are translucent. Add the coconut milk, stir well and heat the coconut milk a little. Add salt to taste and add more curry paste if you like your cury hotter. Once the coconut milk is simmering gently, add the tempeh cubes. Simmer on medium low for about 10 mins, then add the carrots, water chestnuts/bamboo shoots and zucchini. (You could add bell peppers too). Add water or veggie stock if the mixture is too thick. Simmer for another 10 mins until the veggies are just cooked but not too soft.

Serve over rice, and sprinkle with the peanuts and green onions. Squeeze some lime juice over the top.

Note: To make this more authentic, add kaffir lime leaves (lime yest works too), Thai basil and Asian eggplant to the ingredients. Some recipes add sugar too, and of course fish sauce if you're not veg*n (light soy sauce can be substituted).

Image from DeathByBokeh (Flickr)

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