Thai red curry is another quick and tasty version of the veggie vortex mentality that can also result in dishes like frittatas, pastas, risottos and quesadillas. Like the others, it’s hardly met a veggie it couldn’t accommodate. This particular recipe is based on the contents of our fridge this week, but you could easily use the aromatics (onion, ginger, tomato paste, cilantro and basil), the sauce and the timing with the contents of yours. If you wish, you can add cooked chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, chickpeas, or other protein with the tomatoes and carrots at the end of cooking to warm through.
Thai Red Curry with Vegetables
(Now that I’m looking at the final recipe, this should really be nicknamed quarter-inch curry. But I’m just not the kind of girl who nicknames her recipes and has a daytime talk show, so….)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, halved from tip to root and sliced into 1/4-inch semi-circles
3 stalks celery, including tender leaves, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 medium zucchini, diced
3 boiling potatoes, quartered and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1 15-oz. can coconut milk
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste*
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 small carrots, shredded
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch crescents
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
10 basil leaves, torn into small pieces or chiffonade
Zest and juice of 1 lime
* I’m not generally a fan of using bottled cooking aids (and I’m also not the least bit Thai, so feel free to tell me how it is), but this stuff is terrific. It has a surprising depth of flavor and is available in even some pretty tragic grocery stores, eliminating the need to track down ingredients like kaffir lime and galangal, which aren’t. It keeps long enough in the fridge that ours would be a better candidate than Barbie for carbon dating if we didn’t use it up all the time. (It couldn’t be more random, but if you’ve somehow missed this chain email for the past 14 years – an urban legend, but one of true genius – or if you just want a refresher, by all means please click on the link.)
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven. Add the onion and celery and saute for a few minutes without browning. (Dutch ovens retain heat like a charm, so you may need to turn it down once you get going.) Add the garlic, ginger and tomato paste and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the zucchini and potatoes and let them hang out for a minute while you get the next ingredients ready.
In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk, curry paste, soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar together to combine thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the pot. Cover and simmer until the zucchini and potatoes are just tender.
Add the carrots and tomatoes and cook a couple of minutes longer to warm through. Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro, basil, lime zest and lime juice.
Serve over rice.