Last Friday was our youngest’s 3rd birthday and all she wanted was for her sister to stay home from school and to make the “biggest, biggest, biggest birthday cake ever”. Some how, some way, her wish magically brought on nearly 2 feet of snow over night and cancelled all school buses across the region the morning of her birthday. Lesson learned, never underestimate your child’s will paired with the random behavior of Mother Nature.
We survived the blistering cold snow day with an all-day dance party and loads of my favourite Thai yellow curry in our bellies.
The recipe below makes a mild, reliable, one-pot curry that I have come to totally rely on for an exotic thrill through these chilly winter days. As for our dance tunes, I pulled out some of my old DJ “Secret Weapons” and was impressed to see how effective they still are. These are the tracks that I use to reserve for the reluctant dance crowd, the beats that few hips can resist: Pulp Common People, Blur Song 2, Stevie Wonder Superstitious, Brick House from The Commodores, Kool & The Gang Celebration and a track that NO ONE can resist (especially around midnight in a packed club), Deee-Lite‘s Groove Is In The Heart. This one became an instant hit with my little ladies.
One-Pot Thai Curry
Adapted from The Best of Fine Cooking published fall 2011
- 1 14oz can of coconut milk
- 1/4 yellow curry paste
- 1 cup homemade or low-sodium vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 cup bite-size green bean pieces
- 3/4 cup sliced onions (1/2 inch thick slices)
- 3 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed and bruised (see below)
- 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
- 1 14oz package of extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup diced bell peppers (red, orange or yellow)
- 3/4 cup oyster mushrooms, pulled apart into bite-size pieces (their unique squeaky texture isn’t for everyone, can substitute for crimini mushrooms)
- 3/4 cup packed fresh Italian or Thai basil leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
- Limes wedges, for garnish
- Shake the can of coconut milk or stir it well once opened (the fat often solidifies at the too of the can).
- In a wok or 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, simmer the coconut milk, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. It will get thick and shiny and may separate, which is fine.
- Add the curry paste, whisk well, and cook, continuing to whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth, sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Add the green beans, onions, lemongrass and lime zest and continue to simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary.
- After 2 minutes, add the tofu, bell peppers, and mushrooms and continue to simmer until everything is tender and cooked through, about 3 more minutes.
- Remove the curry from the heat. Season to taste with more sugar and fish sauce and stir in basil.
- Pluck lemongrass stalks out and discard. Scoop into bowls and garnish with green onion, chilli, cilantro and lemon wedge. Enjoy!