Welcome to Meatless Mondays, where each Monday we will post a vegetarian recipe to inspire you to eat less meat. I figured we’d start with something simple and quick- Green curry. Curries are very popular dishes from China to Malaysia to India. Each country has its own version with unique flavors and ingredients which can make learning how to prepare these meals a little daunting at first glance. But once you understand the basics, expanding from there can be very rewarding.
Curries begin as a paste made from a number of ground ingredients. In the old days that meant time consuming mortar and pestle kind of labor. But today, with a Cusinart, this paste can be produced in a couple of minutes. In fact, you could make this days ahead of time, or double the batch and reserve some for another day. The following recipe is inspired by a Thai curry.
½ bunch cilantro
1 bunch basil
½ bunch Italian parsley
5 cloves garlic
3 stalks of lemongrass, outer husk peeled, bottoms chopped
4 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, cored and seeded
1 ½ inch of ginger, peeled and chopped
½ cup oil, canola, peanut or vegetable
1 package of tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 eggplant cut into 1 inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch squares
1/2 can of coconut milk
In blender place all ingredients except tofu, cocnut milk and eggplant. Blend, adding oil a little at a time. Process until a smooth paste forms. Add water if necessary. Pour curry paste into a pan over a medium-high flame and cook, stirring constantly until oil separates about five minutes. This is important because it cooks the raw garlic, ginger and shallots. Reduce heat, add coconut milk and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and add eggplant, tofu and bell pepper. Cook until eggplant is tender. Serve over white rice or toss with cooked noodles.
Note: Due to the jalapeno this is relatively spicy. For something milder omit jalapeno or use only half. Refrigerated, the paste is good for about two weeks, and months if you freeze it. For you gardeners out there, this is a great way to preserve your summer herbs.
Variations: This is a simple curry to experiment with, simply add different vegies; replace coconut milk with stock; or adjust the proportion of herbs.