Saturday, November 27, 2010

Unconventional Curry.

Sometimes you just want an easy dinner. Something quick, easiest left alone while you check your email/facebook/twitter/blogger/other internet addictions, which has enough flavour to convince you that cheating and using a pre-packaged product wasn't to the detriment of your dinner. So, that's when curry paste comes in handy. I don't use the pre-made curry sauces, but I'm ok with the pastes if I'm in a hurry. My favourite is Thai Massaman; I can't get my favourite brand here, so I tried another. And, whoaaa, was it hot. Admittedly, I added probably ten times as much as the directions advised, but I figured it was probably written for the standard Western tastebuds. It definitely was, but I confess, I went overboard on the curry paste. However, considering the recent weather, it was probably good to have something warming...

Thai Curry pastes need to be fried in oil before use, so that they develop the proper flavours. If you skip this step (and why would you? It only take a few minutes but it contributes so much!) then your curry will be flat and one-dimensional. The other tip I have is that when you've added your coconut milk to the curry, add salt and sugar. I usually add soy sauce, which is sacrilegious, but I don't have access to vegetarian "fish" sauce here. I also like to add palm sugar, but I suppose regular would still be fine. Palm sugar does have that irresistible caramel flavour, though. C'mon, invest in some palm sugar. I dare you.

So, with my curry base added, in went the rest of the vegetables. I always throw in cubed potato a little earlier because it takes longer to cook than my other vegetables. In this instance, it was zucchini, broccoli and yellow capsicum. I added a massive tin of lentils, drained and rinsed of course, because I wanted some protein. That's definitely in the style of Indian curries and not Thai, but hey, we all know that I can't follow a recipe! (I followed a recipe for brownies yesterday, though: big mistake. I'm just going by feel next time; following recipes clearly doesn't work out for me!) So, in went the lentils. You know what else went in? Lightly toasted coconut. Why? Partly because I like my curries super-thick, and partly because I decided that the flavour wasn't coconutty enough. Conventional, no. Enough to make a wise Asian grandmother turn in her grave. However, to hell with that: it was delicious. :)

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