Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls with Peanut Dressing

I’ve been trying to simplify some of my dinner plans ….. as much as I like puttering in the kitchen for a couple of hours after work (what I call kitchen yoga), there are times I just need to make a quick dinner.  This is one of my favourites …. quick, easy, healthy and most of all, absolutely delicious.  You don’t really have to make the peanut dressing to drizzle over, but honestly, isn’t everything better with peanut sauce?

coconut-curry-noodle-bowl

Tonight’s version of this bowl included prawns, mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy and lots of colourful peppers.

PEANUT DRESSING:
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 heaping Tbsp natural salted peanut butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
splash of lime juice
scant 1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
splash of very hot water (only if too thick)

COCONUT CURRY:
1 tablespoon oil
2 shallots
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 14-ounce can regular coconut milk
1 ½ cup reduced sodium chicken or veggie broth
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon hot chili paste (sambal oelek)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)

BOWL: (These are suggestions, use whatever veg you have on hand)

4 ounces rice or egg noodles
1 tablespoon oil
half an onion, chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped asparagus
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
sesame seeds & chopped peanuts for topping
limes for serving
a handful of fresh basil & cilantro for serving

I’ve also used snow peas, zucchini, sweet peppers & bean sprouts.

To prepare your peanut sauce combine all ingredients except the hot water, blend well and stir in just enough of the hot water to allow everything to become smooth and creamy.

Preparing the curry sauce is pretty easy.  Heat oil in a sauce pan and stir in shallots and fresh ginger, saute briefly just until translucent and stir i the curry paste.  Fry curry paste for 2-3 minutes, just to allow flavours to wake up.  Stir in the coconut milk, and stock.  Simmer for a few minutes just to allow flavours to get to know each other…… Taste …. if you can handle a bit more heat stir in the hot chili paste.  Remove from heat and add the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce.  Taste again and adjust.  Remember, every brand of these ingredients will have a slightly different profile, and you need to make adjustments for that.  Last thing is to add the lime juice.  It should wake everything up and make you want to keep tasting …..

The method is fairly flexible, saute your veg in a wok with the oil just until crisp tender and set aside.  Alternatively, if you are using egg noodles, once you have removed the egg noodle from the boiling water, plunge the veg in for just 1-2 minutes until crisp tender and remove.

SERVING TIME:

Place noodles in the bottom of your bowl, layer on the veg, and sprinkle with toppings.  Gently pour over the coconut curry.  You can make this as saucy as you like by doubling up the curry sauce if you want more of a soup.  Drizzle over the peanut sauce and enjoy!

Beef Short Ribs in Cinnamon Red Wine Curry

Be prepared for the whole house to smell amazing for a couple of days after you prepare this specialty. I particularly love it in the fall or winter when it also seems to help warm the house….

Don’t be alarmed by what may look like a lengthy list of ingredients, most are items in the pantry anyway, and if not – try out something new and find more ways to use it.

Topped with fresh, fragrant cilantro this rich curry will make you feel like a super star.

Topped with fresh, fragrant cilantro this rich curry will make you feel like a super star.

2 tbsp ghee (or butter (ghee is clarified butter)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 large onions, finely diced (you should get about 2 cups)
10 cloves garlic (yes, really)
1 cup pureed fresh tomatoes (in the winter feel free to use canned)
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tbsp mexican chili powder
1 whole piece cinnamon bark (about 3″ long)
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup red wine (make sure to use one you would be happy to drink!)
2 1/2 pounds beef short ribs

Use a large pot for this, with a heavy bottom.

Melt ghee or butter on medium heat. Once melted add oil and cumin seeds. Let seeds sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add onions. (Your house smells amazing already, doesn’t it?)

Take your time with the onions – part of the rich flavour in this dish is from allowing the onions to get nice and browned, slowly. Once they are a rich gold colour add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is a golden brown also. The longer the onions spend slowly getting dark the more rich flavour the curry will have.

Take your time and allow these onions to deepen in colour and caramelize enough to bring out their sweetness.

Take your time and allow these onions to deepen in colour and caramelize enough to bring out their sweetness.

Reduce the heat to low and add tomatoes, fenugreek, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, chili and cinnamon bark. Stir well and slowly increase heat to medium. Allow to cook until the ghee starts to separate from the tomato mixture (you will notice pockets of clear liquid on top).

While your onions are happily cooking, organize the rest of the ingredients so that you are ready to add them all at once - makes everything so much easier.

While your onions are happily cooking, organize the rest of the ingredients so that you are ready to add them all at once – makes everything so much easier.

Stir in red wine and chicken stock – bring to a boil. Allow to cook, stirring enough so that it doesn’t stick, until once again the ghee separates from the mixture.

Add short ribs, stir, cover and allow to simmer for about 4 hours.

NOTE – the cinnamon is meant to be subtle in this recipe … just a hint of it. While it is cooking, if you notice a strong cinnamon scent, remove it from curry, it has done the job.

At this point, I have also put the curry into the oven and just forgot about it for that time, while the house simply became more inviting …

Professional chefs and equipment probably get this ready for the simmer in 20-30 minutes, but it always takes me an hour to develop that colour in the onions and complete the prep stage.

Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice. A perfect dish to accompany this? My roasted tandoori cauliflower with mint & cilantro sauce.

For an impressive presentation, roast the cauliflower whole with the cilantro & mint sauce to serve.  If you want the cauliflower to roast quicker, and really just want to get it on the table, simply cut cauliflower into florets and roast.  Florets may take about 20-30 minutes to roast depending on the size.  Only cook them long enough to be fork tender.

For an impressive presentation, roast the cauliflower whole with the cilantro & mint sauce to serve. If you want the cauliflower to roast quicker, and really just want to get it on the table, simply cut cauliflower into florets and roast. Florets may take about 20-30 minutes to roast depending on the size. Only cook them long enough to be fork tender.

This curry is beyond delicious. If you want to make it a vegetarian dish it is easy enough to do – use all vegetable oil to sauté the onions and replace chicken stock with vegetable stock. When it comes time to nestle the short ribs into the stock just substitute ribs with any of your favourite vegetables. If you are using root vegetables that take a long time to cook go ahead and put them into the curry early. If using vegetables that take less time, put them in the curry closer to the end of the cooking time.

Curried Crab Dip

This has been a family favorite for many years, and one I am often requested to bring. It is easy to serve with crackers or vegetables. When you want to get fancy, pipe it into little prepared pastry cups – looks like you are a pro!

Curried crab dip

8 ounce pack cream cheese (softened)
2 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp tabasco sauce
1 small tin crab meat

Blend softened cream cheese with spices until nicely creamed together. Stir in crab meat (if you want to make it extra luxurious use 2 tins crab meat!)

Turn into serving dish and sprinkle with freshly chopped chives.

Family Style Indian Curry Chicken

I know the title says chicken curry - but the sauce made an awesome  Prawn Masala another day!

I know the title says chicken curry – but the sauce made an awesome Prawn Masala another day!

I don’t know how I have managed to forget about getting this recipe on here!  It is a tried and true favorite, and as delicious as it is the first day – even better the 2nd.  I always find my curry recipes make more sauce than needed on the first night and so the sauce will show up with a different protein or vegetable a couple days later – tasting amazing.

1/3 cup canola oil (or ghee)

2 cups finely chopped onions

3 inch piece of cinnamon stick

3 tbsp finely chopped garlic

2 tbsp finely chopped ginger

2 cups chopped tomatoes (or 1 large can)

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 lbs chicken thighs, bone in

1 cup sour cream

1 cup water

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In large pan, heat oil or ghee on medium heat until shimmering.  Add onions and cinnamon – saute for 5-8 minutes until they have reached a rich, golden yellow color.  Add garlic and saute for another few minutes.  Add ginger, tomatoes, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala and cayenne.  Cook this over medium heat until the oil separates from the masala.

Wash chicken thighs well and add to the masala.  Stir well and cook chicken thighs until they look cooked on the outside (about 10-15 minutes).  Add sour cream and water – stir well.  Increase heat slightly until it starts to boil,then turn down to gently simmer.  Stir occasionally, and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through.  (at least 30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken thighs)

Remove and discard cinnamon stick.

Stir in cilantro just at serving time and serve with basmati rice.  We also love it served with Roasted Tandoori Cauliflower with Mint Cilantro chutney …. yummmmmmy.

Try this with cooking the masala, and then stirring in a vegetarian option of tofu or vegetables! Also amazing with any number of seafood options – pictured today here with prawns.

Thai Style Grilled Pork

Tonight I felt like a Thai inspired meal – which started with Vegetarian Penang Curry – I wanted a protein to grill that would complement the sauce and flavour of the curry.  This was perfect – my only disappointment was that as it was ready – the skies opened up with crazy rain, hail, thunder and lightning.  Nope, no grilling going on here.  So – it was grill pan.  Second best always, but it turned out quite delicious!
Thai Style Grilled Pork

DIPPING SAUCE

1/3 cup white sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper, freshly ground

Blend well and set aside for serving.

PORK

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp low salt soy sauce

1 tbsp brown sugar

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp freshly ground ginger

1 tsp chili flakes

1/2 tsp freshly ground white pepper

3 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely minced

1 pound pork steak, or tenderloin

(be flexible with the pork – tonight’s was pork steak on a grill pan – but this would be great threaded on to skewers)

I let this marinate for an hour before grilling, but up to 24 hours would be even better.

This is easiest if you mix the marinade in a ziplock bag or tightly closed container, add the pork and allow to marinate until ready to cook.

Grill pork, sprinkle with fresh cilantro and green onions – serve with dipping sauce.

The meat is great all by itself, but served with the dipping sauce it is over the top yummy.  

We served it tonight with Penang Curry and Jasmine rice.

P1100941

Thai Curries …. not just 1!

All curries in Thailand start out the same way, and then you proceed with each variation … we ate this dish served on a boat restaurant on the Mekong River … pretty amazing!

Any Thai curry can be a meal in a dish – just add any protein you are craving at the moment, and serve over rice.  

If you do add meat – I did learn in Thai cooking classes that you add it to the curry, thinly sliced, and gently dropped in, then do not stir until it has cooked through – that way you avoid any raw meat flavour and your curry still has such a rich, but light flavour.

Heat a bit of oil in the bottom of pan and add 1 cup coconut milk and 1 tbsp curry paste,(choose one of the following)  along with lemon grass, galanga, chili peppers to taste (start with 1!) and ginger. Cook until slightly thickened over med heat. Add meat, whatever you choose, remember that in Thailand only a little bit of meat goes a long way!  onion and cook a bit. Add 1 more cup coconut milk and water as necessary. Add vegetables. Remove from heat.

SEASON WITH
(for all curry dishes)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp palm sugar

Adjust seasonings as necessary.

MASSAMAN CURRY
Precook potato and carrot to add when meat is cooked. With 2nd cup of coconut milk add 2 tbsp chunky peanut butter and 2 tbsp tamarind. Serve with crushed peanuts and cilantro over top.

Massaman Curry

GREEN CURRY
Same as above but using green curry paste and a variety of different vegetables

RED CURRY
Same as above but different! Always use red curry paste and add pineapple.

PENANG CURRY
Same as above with the addition of kaffir lime leaves.
Reserve some of the coconut milk to swirl in the top
of the curry at serving time along with fresh basil.

I can’t say it enough … taste and season, season, season.  Your curry should have a full bodied flavour, many complex notes and so full of taste you can not get enough of it!