Tuesday, April 5, 2011

thai red curry eggplant and mustard greens

if you don't subscribe to vegetarian times, you need to.  every one of their magazines has wonderful recipes in them - whether you are a vegetarian or not, they are wonderful.  you can always plop a grilled chicken breast on the side for any of these dishes.

The april/may 2011 magazine subject is to eat in season and to "clean up your diet" which features 8 spring detox foods.  as you probably figured out from yesterday, bok choy is one of the 8.  they say that it promotes digestion and also is packed with vitC, carotenoids, and phytonutrients that help strengthen the immune system and may reduce the risk of some cancers.

Mustard greens, they claim, are high in glucosinolates that are detoxifying enzymes that protect liver cells and other organs.  plus they are high in vitC and beta carotene.

The recipe i tried last night was so wonderful.  only one thing needed to be changed and that was the amount of water i added.  i added NO salt to it and it was also spicy (that could be adjusted by the amount of thai red curry paste you start with).  both nathaniel and i loved it.  it also makes 4 servings at only 200 calories each.  it is also vegan.

1. whisk together 2 Tbs Red Curry Paste, 1 Tbs. sugar, 1 tsp (or 1 clove) minced garlic, and 2 Tbs water in a small bowl (set aside for later).  Incidentally, i had no idea where to find red curry paste.  it is in the asian food section and comes in either a 4(?) oz jar or a smaller pack - the jar is the better deal but the pack is exactly 2 Tbs.  "a taste of thai" is the brand i got.  there is also a green curry paste but this recipe is for red.  i got mine at lowes foods so i know they have it there.

2.next, i just happened to buy the most hugest onions ever and the recipe calls for a small onion. so, i "quartered and sliced" half the large onion (recipe calls for 1 cup of onion).  i tell ya, it was the biggest onion ever.  i used it on 2 recipes.  and though the recipe called for thai eggplants, i just got one of those purple ones at lowes foods and cut it into 1 inch cubes.  the recipe calls for 2 cups of 1" cubes of eggplant.  mine was good, so it worked.  i know the thai eggplant has a slightly different flavor.  if i had been at whole foods, i would not have gotten that type of eggplant.  but, i was at lowes foods.  i also went ahead and washed - three times - mustard greens (until there was no sand left in the sink) and then i stemmed them and roughly chopped the greens.  this part by far took the longest of the prep.  the recipe calls for 1 pound of mustard greens trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces.

3. oil in the pan, medium heat.  onions and eggplant went in and cooked about 5 to 8 minutes until it was brownish.  i poured the curry sauce on top and stirred it around.  i added the mustard greens (which were heaping over the top.

4.  here is where i'm gonna vary from the recipe so that you don't have runny sauce like i did.  only add 1/2 cup of water  (the recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups water, which leaves you with a LOT of juice, it does not thicken) - into the bowl that you had the curry - and mix it all around.  that is the best juice and you want to make sure it all gets in the bowl.  pour that in your pan.  then, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup LIGHT coconut milk (also comes in a can in the asian section).

5. put the lid on the pan making sure all those leaves are inside.  turn it down to low and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.  open it to stir and then let it sit for about 5 more minutes.

6.  i served it with quinoa but it'd be really good with some sort of noodles.  what kind of noodles are usually served with thai food?  rice maybe?  not sure.  but it needs something for that sauce to stick to. it's also supposed to be served with a squeeze of lime.

this dish is wonderful.  be prepared for a runny nose!  and your mouth to be wanting more.  this dish is way good enough to serve company too, and to impress them with your cooking skills (though it really only took you about 30 minutes to prepare it!)  it really isn't that expensive either, it'd be really cheap if you bought it all from the farmer's market.

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