February 4, 2018

Pineapple Coconut Curry

Truth be told, a bowl of curry is not particularly pretty. But what curry lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in flavor, and I have David Leibowitz to thank for this recipe.

You know those mileage/frequent flyer points that expire before you save enough to go anywhere? It pains me to use them on magazines (honestly, how many magazines can one person read?!), but when I was forced to confront the alternative of losing them altogether, I naturally picked Food & Wine magazine as one. 

David's recipe was featured in the February 2016 issue; most people would incorporate a tropical flavor into summer recipes, but I say it's even more comforting in the winter, when you crave the warmth of summer the most. His recipe used pork, but I've decided to make a more inclusive, vegan version, featuring tofu, instead. 

I promise you, this is a tried and true recipe that sits at the top of my list. I've made it for my friends when they come for dinner, for my family; you would be hard-pressed to find someone who didn't like this. The curry is quick and simple to make, plus, it'll store well in the fridge (not in the freezer, though!). 

This is another versatile and flexible recipe, so take the liberty to swap out vegetables and add more heat (careful with Thai chilis!). To garnish, I always like crushed peanuts, fresh scallions, and golden raisins (the paprika in the photos were only for color).

Recipe: Pineapple Coconut Curry

2 tsp of oil
1/4 cup of chopped onion (celery works, too)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons of red Thai curry paste (I like this one here; you can find it at nearly any grocery store, but my friend has recommended a homemade version, too)
1/2 tsp of turmeric

1 tablespoon of chunky peanut butter (I guess you could use smooth, but why?)
1 tsp of lemongrass paste

1 can of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup of crushed, canned pineapple
(opt) 1 tsp fish sauce (omit if you're making this for a vegan/vegetarian crowd)
(opt) 1/2 - 1 thai chili, chopped, with or without seeds (I never use chilis when I cook!)

1.5 cups of vegetables (I used a mix of broccoli florets, peas, chunks of carrots, wedges of sweet potato)
1/2 block of firm tofu, cut into cubes

To Serve: 
cooked rice (for 2-3 people)
fresh Thai basil, cilantro, scallions
lime wedges
crushed peanuts/cashews
re-hydrated golden raisins

In a heated wok with 2 teaspoons of oil, saute the onions, garlic, ginger, curry paste, and turmeric for 2 minutes. (Treating the spices with heat helps to intensify their flavors)

Add the peanut butter and lemon paste. Stir to coat the onions. Add the coconut milk, pineapple, and fish sauce/Thai chili (if using). Let the ingredients mix over medium heat. Taste and adjust.

Add the vegetables and cook until tender (this will depend on the size and types you use. Cut them uniformly or allow the root vegetables to cook halfway before adding the more delicate/quick to cook greens). 

Gently stir in the tofu and cook until warmed through.

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