My curry craving tonight was fierce. And with a "bare" fridge, the prospects were looking dismal. No soy sauce, no coconut milk, no sugar, no lime. That pretty much means no curry. But who says I have to follow the curry rules? How many people keep a back-up stock of coconut milk and a constant supply of Kefir lime leaves? How is anyone supposed to make a decent Thai curry on a whim?!
Here's how. You dance to your own tune, you float your own boat, you write your own recipe. Nothing about this is authentic and it won't taste like it came from a food cart right off a beach in Thailand. But oh my sriracha is this deeeeeelish! Sea salt, almond milk, maple syrup and lemon were damn good stand-ins for what an actual Thai recipe might call for, though you can't really call it Thai at this point anymore. As long as you have the curry paste, you can wing it. You just need salty, creamy, sweet and a touch of tart to make the magic happen.
Those close to me know I have a little bit of a thing for peanut butter, and it really (and I mean REALLY) does this dish justice. It was a game changer when I mixed it in last minute, so don't skip. Unless your allergic, in which case I don't know how you eat. Ever. Just kidding. PS: add tofu if you'd like extra protein.
This might not be the prettiest of pictures and it might not be authentic Thai, but your panel of taste buds will be the ultimate judge.
Red Curry Cacophony
Makes: 1 serving
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2-1 T. red curry paste
1/2 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 c. red pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 c. fennel or cabbage, thinly sliced
1 c. cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
1/4 c. green peas, from fresh or frozen
1/2 c. almond milk, unsweetened
1/2 tsp. maple syrup (or more to cut spice)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice, freshly sqeezed
1/2-1 tsp. peanut butter
1 tsp. chickpea flour
1/8 tsp. sambal or garlic chili paste (optional)
Salt to taste
1 green onion stalk, sliced
Heat a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add curry paste plus 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Stir in pan until paste is smooth and thin. Add carrot, pepper and fennel/cabbage plus a couple more tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan if it's becoming too dry. Cook until vegetables just start to soften, 2-3 minutes, and increase heat slightly. Add remaining ingredients except for the onion. Be sure to really whisk in the flour and peanut butter so that they coat the veggies. When milk is starting to boil, reduce heat again to medium-high and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.
Adjust seasonings to taste - if too spicy, add a little more maple syrup and/or almond milk. If too sweet, add a touch more lemon juice. If too thin, add a small pinch of chickpea flour. Garnish with sliced green onion and enjoy!