We love ethnic foods and we love mixing them together, so today’s recipe is curry fusion. While many think of this dish as Thai or Indian, the curry paste we’re using for a base in this one is Japanese, mostly because it was the only one at the time with no animal products in it.
Admittedly, I was a little intimidated to make curry on my own. While I was exposed to the gamut of ethnic foods growing up, we rarely cooked these at home. However, Elizabeth tends to be fearless in the kitchen and had already mastered making curry. And, since it’s one of our favorite dishes to make when it gets cold, I think I’ve gotten the hang of it, too.
Here is a photo of the main ingredients we used. We started with half a package of Japanese curry paste; we used half for a few reasons: 1) it’s spicy so we like to dilute it a little. 2) We like more creative license in creatng our dishes. And 3) it allows us to make the most of our more expensive, foreign ingredients since we are trying to stick to a budget. We also used, garlic (our favorite ingredient of all time), curry powder, turmeric powder, a little salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. Also VERY important is the coconut milk. To me, it’s not curry unless it’s coconut. However, I know some people don’t love coconut, so feel free to use whatever non-dairy substitute you like, though I would recommend going with plain ones unless you want your curry to taste like vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.
One of my favorite things about curry is that it’s kind of an “everything but the kitchen sink” sort of dish. While potatoes, carrots and cauliflower are generally the staples, you can throw in whatever vegetables you have lying around that need to be used. In addition to the veggies already listed, we added celery and green pepper for color, and because they were there and we try not to waste food.
First, we throw the veggies into our wok with a teaspoon or so of oil to begin cooking. As they start to warm, we add the curry paste and the coconut milk and continue adding the other spices until we achieve the right taste and color. I usually like the milk to come almost to the top of the veggies, but you can add more or less depending on how much sauce you like. Continue adding in spices until you get the taste you’re going for. You can make it spicier, sweeter or more savory, depending on your personal tastes.
While we generally prefer our veggies fresh and al dente, curries should be a bit softer. Let the curry simmer on the stove (sometimes for 30 minutes or more, depending on cooking heat — I use medium to medium-high) until the veggies, particularly the potatoes and cauliflower, get a little mushy. Once you deem it ready to eat, spoon it onto a plate of rice, place it next to a glass of white wine, and enjoy!