World cuisine comfort food.

I love coconut.

I love cooking with any form of it.

I love it on avocado toast.

I love coconut milk.

I love coconut curry.

Coconut milk is another pantry essential for me. I buy full-fat, because the way I see it is - most "lightened" products don't really fill a need for me. My diet is relatively healthy (though I cannot stay away from cheesy bakes and casseroles); why lighten up something as delicious as coconut milk? Why sacrifice flavor?

I remember the first time I had Thai food - I don't think there was a lot of Thai restaurants around at the time, and Pattaya Thai was the place to go. I was afraid of the spice, but mild curry suited me just fine. Now, I probably eat Thai food at least once a month, and I love coconut curry so much I hardly ever get anything else. My comfort food usually is of the Southern US variety, but this is another kind of comfort all together - soothing, warm, sustaining.

I've made coconut curries a number of times, and this is the first one I've thrown together based on what I had. That is the beauty of curries, and being vegetarian, you can't really go wrong on throwing a bunch of veggies in a creamy, flavorful sauce. Feel free to substitute any veggies that strike your fancy, or some chicken.

This might be a bit inauthentic, as I used a curry paste. I'd love to someday make my own curry base - my favorite vegetarian cookbook has a few blends - but the bottled curry paste keeps for a long time and is another pantry essential.



This curry comes together quickly and is mildly spiced, with  flavor boosters such as fish sauce (making it pescatarian, really) and not-as-Thai-specific, Japanese tamari.

red peanut butter curry with green veggies
ingredients
2 tb peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small or medium onion, chopped
1 tb fresh ginger, chopped
3 tb red curry paste (or make your own; use less if you are afraid of the heat)
1/4 cup peanut butter (more or less to taste)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 tb tamari or soy sauce, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
1-3 tsp lemon juice, or rice vinegar
small splash fish sauce (Be careful! It's very strong!)
1/2 - 1 cup vegetable broth (optional)
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed, sliced into 1-2 inch pieces
1 medium red potato, or whatever you have on hand, peeled and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced (or cut to the size you like)
1/2 cup dried chickpeas, cooked, or 1 can

to serve
cooked jasmine brown rice
cilantro
green onion

method

  1. Warm oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or wok (wok will have reduced cooking times). Add onion, garlic, and ginger, and saute until onion softens. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  2. Add the curry paste, stir to coat, and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add coconut milk and peanut butter, and stir until peanut butter is fully incorporated.
  4. Add tamari and fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon juice or tamari if it tastes bland. Lower the heat if the peanut butter sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add fish sauce and taste again. If sauce is too thick, you can thin it out with some vegetable broth (optional). If the fish sauce is overpowering, this also helps balance the flavor.
  6. Bring sauce to a simmer and add green beans. Cover and cook until tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Check occasionally that the sauce isn't sticking to the pan (if not using a wok).
  7. Add potato and zucchini and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  8. At the end of cooking, stir in chickpeas and cook until warmed through. Serve over brown rice, garnished with cilantro and green onion.
Note: I added all the veggies at one time (minus the chickpeas). You can do so as well, but the green beans take longer to cook, so you might end up with the zucchini cooked down too far.


I can't match the restaurant goodness of Thai food, but this is a nice substitute!

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