Curried Garden

Coconut curry is one of our go-to mindless meals; it’s healthy, delicious, infinitely malleable, and suited to weather of all seasons. This time of year, all I have to do is push my metaphorical shopping cart through the garden and toss in everything that looks good. Today’s specials were carrots, red and green onions, zucchini, beans, tomatoes, Thai and lime basil, cilantro sprouts, and nasturtium leaves.

With the addition of half a can of coconut milk and some cubed (local) tofu- plus the requisite spices it made for a perfect, easy dinner. I had a good amount of our giant cabbage left over from a fresh batch of kimchi I made in the morning, so I braised it in Riesling and ras-el-hanout for a nice green side dish. And speaking of Riesling and no-brainers, that is in fact what we drank: a 2007 Peter Stolleis Kabinett Trocken Haardter Herzog, which was perfectly nice with the food. The most interesting thing about the wine was the glass stopper used in place of a cork- I’ve never seen it before- with a thin plastic gasket that I can’t imagine would keep its seal over a long period. But this is not a wine meant for aging, and I applaud the recyclability.

4 comments to Curried Garden

  • Jen of A2eatwrite

    Peter, what requisite spices do you use? My curries always suck, and I made virtually the same thing earlier this week and it was just bland. Any hints on this would be GREATLY appreciated!

  • Heather

    Hey, did you ever try to make kimchee from nasturtium leaves? Did you make your kimchee at 4 in the morning? Do you ever tire of my needling?

    I haven’t eaten a nice coconut curry in such a long time. I gave up coconut milk when I was counting calories, but now I’m so far past giving a shit that I really am out of reasons to not have a case in my cabinet.

  • peter

    Jen: It varies, but I like to have a couple of different curry powders on hand (say, one mild, one hot) and a couple of the wet pastes in the fridge (red & green Thai, and a couple of the large-jarred varieties) plus some pickles and chutneys.

    In a perfect world, I would make all of these myself. Since ours is not a perfect world, I make do with the above and a full spectrum of individual seeds and powders to customize. I do try to use fresh mustard, fenugreek, and fennel seeds, etc. whenever appropriate.

    I would suggest starting with your own fresh-ground blend, or at least toasting a bunch of fragrant seeds to begin. Also, I have heard excellent things about Madhur Jaffrey's books from people who know what they're talking about.

  • peter

    Heather: I haven’t, but I’m going to put them in the next batch because they are our most prolific foliage right now.

    One of the pleasures of marriage is letting yourself go, no? Plus, you can dilute it with water or broth; I never use more than half a big can, and prefer the little cans.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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