Thai Inspired Garden Curry
Whew, I think I’m finally over my post-MoFo hibernation. Anyone else been there with me this past week?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the blog this past week–what my expectations are for it, what yours are, and what I’d really like to do with this space. About one zillion different bloggers have already said it in better words than I can about how the blogging world has changed and how it’s maybe time for Slow Blogging or at least more mindful, less brand-centric blogging, and I think I’m totally on board with that. Instead of trying to desperately crank out three or four posts a week (which, let’s face it, as a full time employee, part time freelancer, part time student, and everything else, that ain’t gonna happen), I think I need to sit back and take a deep breath. Then let it out. And then only post when I’ve taken the time to really think through what I’m posting. I want to connect with the blog more than I am–I want to connect with you all more than I am.
Does that make any sense? What do you think?
But, well, you came here for food, not necessarily for my poetic waxing on the philosophy of food blogs.
Somehow, this Monday marks the first Monday of October. But somehow we’ve hit a warm front and it still feels like August. Which I find magical. I’m a Southern girl, I savor the heat. Already I can hear winter rushing in with its sporadic snow storms and dang cold days and early nights. I’m not ready for it. Which is why I’m holding onto this last sure of warmth while I have it.
Perfect weather to spend some time in the garden and build a meal off of it, right?
This Saturday I picked up some fresh lemongrass at the local farmers market and knew I wanted to really honor the ingredient. Lemongrass is something I’ve thought about growing but never quite committed to. Maybe next year? Anyone have any experience with it?
With it and the season’s last eggplants ready for the picking in the garden, as well as a bevy of jalapeños, the last of the green bell peppers, purple basil, and local ginger from a farmer up in Floyd, something Thai definitely needed to be on the menu.
While I often make curries on a weeknight–the leftovers are fantastic lunches–my m.o. is to turn to canned Thai curry paste. This time, though, I wanted to play with the fresh ingredients I had on hand and make a Thai-inspired curry with everything at its fresh peak. What resulted was a nuanced and light curry with a little bit of heat and a lot of floral and herbal complexity from the basil and lemongrass. It might not be the ‘most authentic’ but it was certainly different than the take-out-style norm for me.
So next year, I do think it’s time to plant some lemongrass. And maybe some Holy Basil. And maybe some more hot peppers. I can see a future in this recipe as my summer-to-fall go-to. Anyone else using transitional produce to merge the seasons?
Thai Inspired Garden Curry
1 lb extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 onion, sliced into thin crescents
1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into even rounds
1/2 lb eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces or rounds
2 tbsp garlic, minced
3 stalks lemongrass, tough parts removed and white/light green part smashed and then chopped (see 1:40 in this video)
1″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 jalapeño or thai chili, deseeded and minced (or more to taste)
1 c diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp vegan fish sauce
15 fresh basil leaves
Salt to taste
Cooked rice to serve with
In a large skillet, warm 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the tofu in batches and fry until golden brown. Remove and sprinkle with a little salt. Set aside.
Once the tofu is fried, warm another tablespoon of coconut oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and bell pepper and sauté until the onion and carrots soften, 3-5 minutes.
Add the eggplant, along with a little more coconut oil, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and chili. Cook 1 minutes, until fragrant. Then add the tomatoes, stir, and cook another 2-3 minutes, until the tomatoes release their juices.
Add the coconut milk, vegan fish sauce, and basil, bring to a simmer, and cook until warmed through. Add salt to taste.
Serve with rice.