Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vegetable Curry

I ran across a blurb (Better Homes and Gardens) about research on bone health done at Tufts University.  It seems that, as you get older, your kidneys don't excrete acids as efficiently, so bones release alkaline stuff--including calcium--to restore the chemical balance.  When you eat fruits and vegetables, your body creates bicarbonate, which counteracts the high acid levels.  So, your bones are more likely to retain their calcium and stay stronger if your eat more produce!  Yet another reason for my being a vegetarian!  Ha! 

Here's a recipe for Thai curry that's mostly vegetables.  I looked up a bunch of curry recipes online to figure out the main ingredients, excluded the ones I couldn't buy here, and included the ones I could buy and liked!

We liked the result--except for Marste, who hates coconut milk!--and so did our neighbors!

I've used zucchini instead of mushrooms, and I've used zucchini with the mushrooms, but I like this combination best!  I haven't yet tried green beans, broccoli, or any of the other myriad vegetables, but I intend to!  Broccoli, in particular, interests me because of its stronger flavor!  So, broccoli and zucchini....

I hope you try this.  It's easier than it looks!

1/2 cup brown basmati rice
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (not fat-free!*), shaken before opening to recombine the milk and the fat
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped**
1 Tbs. micro-grated, or finely minced, ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. eggplant, unpeeled, cut into even pieces
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbs. canola oil
3/4 c. green onions, sliced
1 Tbs. curry powder
Small pinch of red pepper flakes (We thought 1/8 tsp. made it too hot, but we don't like a lot of heat!)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1/4 cup cashews (you can also use peanuts, if you don't like cashews!)
1 lime, quartered

Combine rice, water, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on lowest heat for 45 minutes.  In a blender, or food processor, put 1/2 cup coconut milk, cilantro, 1 tsp. ginger, and 2 cloves garlic, and buzz until it's smooth.  When the rice is cooked, stir this mixture into the rice.  Set aside, and keep it warm.

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Cook the eggplant over medium high heat.  Turn the pieces occasionally, until they're all brown on every side.  (I usually do "almost" every side; I'm learning not to be perfectionistic!  Ha!)   Add the mushrooms, and cook until they're soft and all the water has evaporated.  In other words, the pan is dry!  Add the green onions, curry powder, pepper flakes, salt, 1 clove garlic, and 2 tsp. ginger, and cook until green onions are slightly softened, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the remainder of the coconut milk (about 1 1/4 cups), and stir it in.  Add the tomatoes, and heat through.  

To serve:
Spoon some rice on a plate, and ladle some of the vegetables and sauce over it.  Sprinkle a few cashews over the top.  If it's needed, add salt and pepper to taste.  Add a lime quarter to the plate, so each diner can squeeze as much as s/he likes.  Enjoy!

*Coconut milk with the coconut fat will mitigate the heat of the red pepper flakes, in case you get heavy-handed.  Also, the coconut fat is a plant fat, as opposed to animal fat, and it's considered good for you!

**More nutrition trivia:  cilantro is a very cleansing herb.  There are studies (that I read online) that say it helps the body release toxins, including heavy metals.  It also has many beneficial nutrients.  I consider these a bonus; I'd eat it anyway, because I just like it!  

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