Thursday, July 31, 2008

Curry, in not too much of a hurry


I was in no hurry to make dinner tonight - I came home with a mild headache and a serious case of the tireds, so I napped on the couch for about an hour before even thinking about cooking, Despite my laziness, the meal was ready in less than 45 minutes start to finish, which is pretty much my criteria for a weeknight dinner. Not only that, it was yummy and made my house smell awesome.

I am pleased to report that the pork and pineapple coconut curry came out tasting very authentic indeed, despite my use of light coconut milk instead of the regular kind that separates into the the cream and the milk, something this recipe seemed to hinge on. In fact, it worked brilliantly, the one tiny flaw in my brilliant plan to add vegetables to this curry and make it a sort of all-in-one main dish being that I had no idea how long the baby globe eggplants would need to cook for, and when we sat down to eat, they were a little underdone (read: bitter). However, the longer they sat in the very hot sauce, the softer they got, which was good. I'd definitely use them again, but next time I will slice them instead of quartering them.

This is a very simple curry, just coconut milk, curry paste, meat, veg and fruit, and some seasonings. It's got killer flavour, though the lime leaves can overpower it if you're not careful, so go easy if you like your food less than herbal-tasting. We liked this a lot and I'm fairly certain it will go into regular rotation around these parts. The pineapple gives it a lovely light sweetness, and the heat is quite mild (you could up it if you wanted; I might next time.)

One night I'd like to make a big Thai meal for a group of people, and make this curry alongside some satays, fish cakes, some pad thai and probably a dry beef curry. Maybe when it's cooler outside. For now, this made a great, quick weeknight meal over some jasmine rice. You could certainly use different vegetables, just make sure you pick ones that will cook fairly quickly and not fall apart into the sauce. I think sliced peppers would be lovely here.

Pork and pineapple coconut curry

1 small pork tenderloin, sliced thinly
1/2 a fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and diced
1.5 cans light coconut milk
2 tsp red curry paste
2 yellow zucchini, sliced into 1/4" rounds
10 small green globe eggplants or two Asian eggplants, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp tamarind juice (made by soaking tamarind pulp in hot water, then straining)
2 lime leaves, torn

In a large sauce pan heat the coconut milk until bubbling; stir constantly to keep it from scorching and once it has been simmering for a few minutes, add the red curry paste and break up to combine. Cook over medium high heat for three minutes, then add the pork and the fish sauce, sugar and tamarind juice. Cook until pork is no longer pink , three minutes or so, stirring constantly. Add the lime leaves, pineapple and vegetables; cook at a high simmer until vegetables are soft and pork is cooked through, about seven minutes. Serve over rice or noodles. Serves 4.

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