Monday, September 29, 2008

Vegging Out

You can almost smell it, right?  The aroma of curry is so enticing- the saffron, cumin, ginger and garlic....if your curry powder is old, though, it will smell like old lady house dust and taste bitter.  Toss it and get yourself down to Penzeys for some fresh.  I like the Maharaja blend.  Did you know curry powder is a blend of spices?  Turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, pepper...and probably many others.  Each spice house makes their own unique blend.  Most are not at all spicy- it's up to you to add heat.

To make this basic vegetable curry, you first sweat onions, garlic, fresh ginger, carrots (I like the shreds for ease), and bell pepper in a little butter.  Add a generous dose of curry powder- there's about 2 t in the pot above- and stir to coat and cook the spices a little.  Some of the flavors in curry only reach their full potential when heated in oil- that's why you should always add it before any liquidy ingredients.  Then add some chopped tomato, cauliflower florets, and green beans, about a cup of water or chicken broth, salt, cover, and cook until the veggies are tender (above photo).  To finish this curry off, thicken the sauce by stirring in about 2T flour dissolved in a bit more broth, bring back to a boil, then add about 1/2 cup of coconut milk (freeze the leftover milk).  I added some cilantro and chopped cashews, too.   

This is a great use for little bits of unused vegetables- you really can't go too far wrong.  At the grocery store my little one grabbed a spaghetti squash and threw it on the floor, so I had to buy it and I cooked it last night as well:
I served the curry on this:
It's a blend of brown and red rice, rye berries, and barley. Compared to white rice it is slightly higher in fiber and protein.  It took 50 minutes to cook, but it had a nice nutty flavor- not overly assertive, and a pleasantly chewey texture without requiring mandibles of steel like some whole grain products.

So will your kids eat vegetable curry?  1 out of 2 kids surveyed preferred it to hot dogs-

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