Thursday, September 15, 2011

Curry On The Fly..... Fast Food the Right Way....

Curry is the perfect dish to use up leftovers with or for a quick weeknight dinner..... Works great for vegetarian & vegan diets since you really don't need to add a protein to make it work or to feel satisfied and it makes it easy for you to include alternative grains, legumes and nuts into the dish to add additional nutrition to your meals, so it makes a lot of sense..... Plus this is a one dish meal too!

Let me show you how to whip up a tasty meal for your family in 30 minutes or less..... make the most of any leftover vegetables, meats or fish and save even more time. You don't need a lot of spices either, just a couple and you're good to go and whether you love hot and spicy or want it sweet and smooth.... it can be done.

So look around your pantry and fridge and get your leftover out or start from scratch. Here's a list of what you can use:

1 tablespoon oil
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small onion, chopped small
Garlic, either pressed or chopped fine (3-6 cloves)
Ginger, fresh of course, peeled and either grated or chopped fine (1 inch piece)
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (less if you don't want hot, more if you want it fiery)
1 tablespoon ground Turmeric

Heat up a pan, add the oil and onion and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir them well for about 4-5 minutes so you can cook the spices.

Have on hand: If you have these, great. If not, replace with other type of vegetables:

2 small carrots, peeled, cut in small cubes
1/2 small jicama, peeled and cut into small cubes
Zuchinni, 1 medium, chopped in small cubes
1/2 sweet red bell pepper, cut in small cubes, seeded
1/2 sweet green bell pepper, cut in small cubes, seeded
1//3-1/2 cup chickpeas, cooked and peeled
1/4-1/3 cup lentils, cooked

Optional: Pick one:
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
Cooked chicken cubes, boneless (like from rotisserie chicken)
Shrimp, small or medium, peeled, deveined - uncooked (you can use cooked at the end)
Any type of protein that you like or leftovers

2 cups vegetable stock or whatever you have on hand
1-2 cups plain yogurt (you could use sour cream)
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
1/3 slivered almonds or salted pumpkin seeds or salted sunflower seeds

Add about 2 oz of stock (or liquid) to the spice mixture and blend in so it has a liquid moisture. Begin adding the vegetables (hardest one first) and stir for about 2 minutes before adding the softer ones. Keep adding all your vegetables, if the mixture gets too dry add more stock but only enough to cook but not too much so it looks liquid. When your hardest vegetables are "al dente", add your protein, if you're adding it, if not keep going.

Add the yogurt and mix well and let it cook for anout 3-4 minutes so it's bubbling. You can stop it there or if  you like your Curry with more sauce, add more stock until it's a little more liquid than you like it and allow to bubble 3-4 minutes for it to thicken. If you want, you can thicken with a "slurry" by adding 2 tablespoon corn starch to 1/3 cup cold water, mix well and pour into the bubbling liquid. It will begin to thicken almost immediately. Serve.

NOTE: Use any leftover rice or noodles that you have and use the Curry as a topping. Add the chopped cilantro (any the nuts if you're using) over top at the end before serving.

You use any variation of vegetables that you like, such as adding potatoes with the liquid (in small cubes) and  allow them to cook. Frozen peas, green beans, leafy greens, bamboo shoots, whole baby carrots, pineapple, snow peas, whole beans or even canned ones, canned chopped beets.... almost anything at all. Also, you don't need to use yogurt or sour cream, you can use sweetened or unsweetened coconut milk or juice instead which will lend a sweet, tropical flavor and eliminate all diary.

In short, no matter what your dietary needs are you can create a wonderful Curry!

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