Massaman Curry

 There are few things more comforting than a hot bowl of curry – Thai, Indian, green, red, or massaman – I’ll never turn down an oportunity to try a new vegan curry recipe. Luckily, most supermarkets these days stock up on an amazing selection of curry pastes and chutneys which makes it easy to recreate what you order at most restaurants. This recipe for Massaman Curry comes from www.veganricha.com and has a smooth, creamy coconut milk base with an earthy peanut and ginger flavor. The tamarind concentrate add an unexpected hint of lip-smacking sweet and sour which blends well with the subtle heat from the curry paste. I’m kind of obsessed with coriander chutney these days so of course added a heaping spoon on top when serving.

MASSAMAN CURRY
2 tsp coconut oil 
1 diced white onion
2 tsp minced ginger
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 small head cauliflower, florets chopped small
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped green beans
1 potato, diced
2 Tbsp red curry paste (I used a mild cumin coriander red curry paste)
2 Tbs garam masala 
3 Tbsp peanut butter 
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 can coconut milk, 2 for more of a soup base
3/4 cup water
Basil
Whole, raw cashews
In a large sauce pot, add oil and heat at medium heat. Add onion and cook for 4 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, bell pepper, cauliflower, potatoes green beans, salt and mix. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Mix in the carrots, curry paste, garam masala and cook for 2 more minutes. Add peanut butter, salt, tamarind, coconut milk and water and mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat for 15 -20 minutes until the curry thickens a bit and the veggies are tender. Garnish with slivered basil and whole cashews. Serve hot over rice.   

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Vegan Spring Rolls, for Type-A Personalities

haircutTwo things happened this week. It snowed. And Asher had his first haircut. Both were unpleasant experiences, but mercifully short-lived and the results were admittedly delightful!

spring roll As a result of the cold weather, I decided to make a Thai coconut soup with fresh spring rolls for dinner and was blown away at how EASY the spring rolls were to make. Seriously. They had a lovely freshness from the mint and basil, balanced with the crunchy colorful vegetables and the flavorful dipping sauces.

I just stocked up on chili garlic sauce ($2), plum sauce ($2), rice paper rolls ($2), extra firm tofu ($1.50) and some crunchy fresh veggies totalling my cost at under $10 for several night’s worth of spring rolls. My only gripe is the prep work in julienning and dicing, but it was a one-time task while Asher and Everett played in their toy kitchen and now my little Virgo heart is singing at all the organized containers in the fridge for the week!

THAI VEGETABLE SPRING ROLLS
Rice paper rolls
Bean sprouts
English Cucumber, julienned with skin on
Romain lettuce, thickly shredded
1 bag carrots, peeled and julienned
1 bunch cilantro, washed dried and coarsely chopped
1 bunch mint, washed dried and coarsely chopped
1 bunch fresh Thai basil (or regular basil), washed dried and coarsely chopped
1 container of Extra Firm Tofu (prepared as per my earlier post Roasted Tofu Special Treat)

Lay out a clean dish dowl on the counter. Soak once rice paper roll in a bowl with warm water for 30 seconds, then remove and lay falt on the dish towel to rest for 30 seconds. Evenly distribute a medium pinch of lettuce, mint, basil, and cilantro in the middle of the square. Top with carrot, cucumber, bean sprouts and tofu – but don’t overfill! Make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed from one end to the other leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the left and right sides inward like a burrito, then fold bottom over and complete rolling the remaining half. I found that the rice paper rolls tend to stick to counter tops, so it was helpful to peel them off the dish towel and try to get a tighter roll. These can also be made a day ahead, just wrap in fridge and cover with a wet paper towel to keep moist overnight.

Also, for those that are following Weight Watchers these are only 2 points each. Can I get an “Oh yeah”