A brief statement of purpose

There are already about a billion food blogs, so what might be a justification of yet another one, and who am I to do it?

What I aim to do in this blog is more than simply provide recipes. While recipes of my own will, in fact, be posted, some of the blog will consist of a variety of comments about restaurants and their practices, food preparation tips, personal annoyances (such as loud restaurants and the epidemic of misspellings on menus), and whatever else pops into my head relating to what we put in our mouths (and swallow, I hasten to add). The whole thing is meant to be somewhat provocative. I hope, if nothing else, it won't be boring. I, of course, solicit reader participation.

As for who I am and why I think I might have something to contribute to public discussions on this essential and pleasurable activity - eating - you'll have to click here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vegetable Thai yellow curry

If you purchase Thai yellow curry paste instead of making it yourself, the recipe for which I include here, then this is about as easy a recipe as you can make. I emphasize “make”, meaning not a frozen entree which you simply boil or microwave. 
If you opt for making the curry paste yourself, there are three ingredients which you may not have on hand. If you do Southeast Asian food, you will almost certainly have them or know immediately where to get them. They are lemongrass, coriander seeds, and shrimp paste. There’s even a shortcut for the coriander - ground coriander found in pretty much any larger grocery store in the spice section. There is no substitute for lemongrass. Either don’t make this recipe without it or use the purchased curry paste. As for the shrimp paste, you’ll have to go to an Asian market. Anchovy paste in the same amount makes a passable substitute, but, again, better just to buy the curry paste. The paste, along with red and green curry, is in most larger grocery stores, in either small cans (3 oz, I think) or in somewhat larger glass jars (4 oz).
In many Thai recipes such as this one, which has no meat of any kind, chicken, pork, or seafood such as shrimp can be tossed in with very good results.
For the curry paste:
Yellow chilies, 2 or 3. They’re the same shape and size as jalapenos. 
Garlic cloves, 5 or however many you like.
Shallot, 1
Fresh ginger, 1 tsp minced
Lemongrass, 1 stalk, minced
Shrimp paste, 1 tsp
Coriander seeds, 1 tsp, crushed
Turmeric, 1/2 tsp
Salt, 1 tsp
Vegetable oil, 1 Tbs
The vegetables:
Shallots, 3, sliced, or ½ onion, sliced
Potatoes, 3 or 4, or however many you want, chopped into pieces not as small as dice.
Green beans, quite a few, cut into 1” pieces
Coconut milk, 1 13.5 oz can
Basil, julienned
Red jalapenos (for garnish, optional), sliced crosswise
Jasmine rice or bamboo rice
If you don’t want to make the curry paste, as I noted above, just purchase it and use one or two tablespoons, depending on your tolerance of heat. If you want to make it, first decide if you want no heat at all. If this is what you want, know that you’ll be missing out on an important part of the preparation, but if you insist, remove the seeds and the veins from the yellow chilies. Otherwise, toss all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree. You may need to add a bit more oil to achieve the paste consistency. Set aside.
Heat about half the can of coconut milk in a wok or saucepan and add the curry paste. Cook over medium heat for five minutes. Now put in the rest of the coconut milk, the shallots, potatoes, and green beans. Cook for ten minutes.
In the meantime, you will have prepared the rice. You’ll see in the photo that I used bamboo or green rice, but jasmine is fine.
Put the finished dish on plates, spread around the basil, top with the sliced red jalapenos for color and for those who like some heat but had to tolerate the heat intolerance of others when the meal was made. Accompany with rice.

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