Saturday, January 07, 2012

Thai-style green curry

Once again, I've almost entirely failed at producing a SOLE (seasonal, organic, local, ethical) meal for this week's Dark Days Challenge. I blame it entirely on the absence of my usual farmers' market. I haven't had access to the variety of foods that I normally would be purchasing for the week's meals. I've been relying on Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and I've been planning my meals around recipes from The Splendid Table, for which I bought entirely non-local ingredients, like pasta, ricotta cheese, and pizza dough.

Okay, and I blame it on post-holiday laziness.

This week, I made a vegetable curry, which used all local ingredients except for the curry sauce itself. I used pumpkin from Capay Farms (120 mi), red bell pepper from Borba Farms (40 mi), and baby bok choy from A. Nagamine Nursery (40 mi), and served the curry over brown rice from Lundberg Farms (195 mi). The curry sauce included Thai green curry paste (a gift from a Thai friend — I fully intend to learn to make my own curry paste one of these days), fish sauce, brown sugar, and coconut milk, all non-local.

I wasn't sure how much curry paste to use. The container called for 50 grams for the cup of coconut milk needed to make the sauce. After looking at a couple recipes in the Thai cookbooks I have, I used three tablespoons and a can of coconut milk — resulting in a curry so white hot that I could barely eat it, even when I mixed in some Strauss plain yogurt (the way they do with Indian curries) to cut the spice. I ended up going out to get another can of coconut milk the next day and mixing that into the leftovers. That helped tremendously, leaving enough heat to get my sinuses going. Next time, I'll use just one tablespoon.

The curry also was originally rather yellow, as you can see in the photo. I think the pumpkin contributed to that. When I added the extra coconut milk, it took on more of a greenish hue.

For Christmas, I received three cookbooks: The Elements of Life: A Contemporary Guide to Thai Recipes, Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking, and Beyond the Great Wall: Travel and Recipes in the Other China. I have a lot of Chinese and southeast Asian cooking in my future. Maybe I'll finally get the hang of this green curry.

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