Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jungle Curry

This is hearty and great for entertaining. It is a coconut cream free thai/vietnamese number :)
Serves 4-6


2 C white/brown rice
6 C water
Lemon grass pieces
2 kaffir lime leaves

Aromatic base:
3 eschallots, sliced
1 large clove galirc, minced
1 green chili, finely minced (with seeds and segments if you like it hot, without if not).
1 stick lemongrass, beaten and finely minced
3 kaffir lime leaves (for flavoring, to be removed before serving)
3 thick slices of ginger or galangal root (for flavoring, to be removed before serving)
1-2 large cilantro roots (also for flavoring, to be removed before serving)
stems of 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely diced
Salt and pepper
2-3 T brown sugar
juice of 2 limes
1 heaped tsp tamarind paste (this is my fish sauce "tang" equivalent)
dash of soy
dash of mirin
1-2 C veggie broth

3-4 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
4 roma tomatoes, sliced lengthways into 6 segments
1 good handful of shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 C green beans, cut into 1inch lengths
1 yellow capsicum pepper, sliced into fine pieces, lengthwise
Optional cup green peas
1/2 bunch asparagus, bottoms cut off & stalks sliced on the diagonal
1 can of chinese straw mushrooms
1 can bamboo shoots
1 c raw cashews
1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves roughly chopped


For Rice, rinse in a colander til the water runs almost clear and then whack in a medium sized pot, cover with the water and float the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves on the top.
Cover with a lid and bring it to the boil on the highest heat setting.
Once it's bubbling, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and cook until all the water has dissolved and you have perfect fluffy rice, infused with the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
The rice will usually be done before the curry is finished, so just leave the lid on and turn off the heat until you are ready to serve.

Prepare all the vegetables, slice and dice like a "mo fo".

To a large hot pot (i use a cast iron one, but a wok will work just as well) i add the eschallot, garlic, chili, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, cilantro root and finely diced stems and stir roughly.
Add the salt and pepper. Sauté.
Add the brown sugar, lime juice, tamarind paste, soy & mirin & stir to combine. The smell should be sensational at this point!
Add a cupful of broth to start (and you can add more as needed once all the other veggies are in).
To this aromatic bath add the carrots and give them a head start. You can put the lid on to speed this part up.
Once they are half cooked then add the tomato segments and the shitake.
Cook a little more before adding the green beans. Cook a little more.
Then add the capsicum pepper.
Add more broth.
A few minutes later add the peas, asparagus, chinese straw mushrooms, bamboo shoots & cashews. You can add more broth if you think it needs more sauce too.
Finally stir through the cilantro leaves and test for flavoring - you may like to add a touch more of brown sugar or another squeeze or two of lime.

Serve with rice and wedges of lime and a few fresh cilantro leaves.

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