Thai Spiced Vegetable Brown Rice

Thai Spiced Brown Rice with exotic vegetables

Thai Spiced Brown Rice with exotic vegetables

Its been quite sometime now since I started brown rice. And let me tell you the transfer has not been easy. Those who are used to eating soft white rice dotted with pure ghee will tell you why.

Perfectly steamed gorgeously white rice is what it is because of what it is. Brown rice pales in front of it, literally. But I am girl on a mission. Mission to curb my growing waistline and lose some serious weight. So naturally I shun the shiny rice and ghee. Adopt the brown version and…my dal rice has never tasted the same again.

I have to add paneer ;)

I have to add paneer 😉

I had to love what I embraced or I would be running back to my ex. So began my tryst with the healthier grain. Looking for ways to improvise it, I have tried innumerable options.
Sautéing mushrooms and zucchini in some thai red curry paste and throwing in brown rice, seemed like a bit of an experiment. But what an attempt! That bowl was supposedly my lunch, but he and she took great big bites and kept asking for more. Now that’s a good way to rate my dishes, don’t you think?

Something to drink with

Something to drink with

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked.
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 3/4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp paneer small cubed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil or any oil you wish
  • basil leaves and coriander leaves to garnish

Method

In a large skillet, heat oil. Saute garlic and onions till pink. Mix in the red curry paste. Fry till oil leaves the sides. Throw in the mushrooms and zucchini. Cover and cook till almost done. Mix in the brown rice along with soy and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Garnish with cubed paneer, basil and cilantro leaves.

Best with something cold to sip on.

Simple and delicious

Simple and delicious

Note: Use any vegetable you like, carrots, broccoli, beans ..

Note: Instead of paneer, boiled soy Nutrela nuggets taste great.

Note: Adjust the quantity of red curry paste according to the heat you can take.

Note: Boiling brown rice has been a continuous trial and error process with me. One of the recent methods and almost close to getting perfectly cooked rice is to soak the rice well for at least 2 hours, and then cook in a large pot of salted boiling water. Once the rice is cooked, strain the excess water and use.

High on heat

High on heat

If you have any more ideas to deal with brown rice, please holler. I am listening.

This is my entry to Angie’s Friday Fiesta #25. Sneak in to see some gorgeous recipes here. You will thank me for sure.

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Vegetarian Curry Laksa

Curry Laksa - veganised!

Curry Laksa – veganised!

The craving was irrepressible.
But with the man travelling and child snubbing this divine curry noodles, I stalled the idea of dishing it up just for me. But then, it arose again… that insatiable appetite for one heavenly bowl of noodles, veggies, broth, herbs and tofu. I had to make it. Just had to.

Soul Food!

Soul Food!

Curry Laksa is a Chinese inspired Malay spicy noodle soup. Originally made the non vegetarian way with a lot of chicken or fish or shrimp. It is basically coconut based curry spiced with oriental flavours like turmeric, soy and chilies, thick or thin noodles and garnished with laksa leaves or curry leaves. Indians will totally relate to the flavours and taste, because many of the ingredients used in this are regularly used in Indian cooking too.

 Mushrooms and fried tofu in my Laksa

Mushrooms and fried tofu in my Laksa

Ideally thick Hokkien egg noodles are preferred to dunk in a spicy vegetable laden stew, but if you cannot get your hands on some, use the regular variety. I used traditional thin hakka noodles. Some recipes call for thin rice vermicelli too.
Bottomline – It’s the curry that calls, the carb can be of any kind 😉

Spicy Earthy noodles

Spicy Earthy noodles

There are many different types of laksa, but what is common to all is the broth, spice paste and noodles. The most well known varieties of laksa are the slightly sour fish soup based Assam Laksa and the Curry Laksa which has coconut milk.

Curry Laksa is a meal in itself. You don’t need any accompaniments with it. Lot of vegetables, noodles and a protein like tofu or paneer and you are so good to go! The vegetables can be anything you like, anything your refrigerator caters. So don’t go hunting for the specifics. I just pretty much threw in whatever I had.

An interesting twist to this dish was to top with sautéed mushrooms and red onions. Dust it off with sesame seeds and it was the most heavenly first bite I have had in a very long time 🙂

Soupy Slurrpyy

Soupy Slurrpyy

The Recipe –

Ingredients

  • 1 pack hokkein egg noodles, boiled as per instructions on the pack.
  • 1 cup thin sliced vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, beans etc
  • 3-4 tbsp red curry paste or as per your liking
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 stalks lemon grass
  • a handful of curry leaves or if you can find laksa leaves
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder

Garnish: 5/6 basil leaves, few stalks of coriander leaves, 1/2 cup fried tofu or sautéed paneer pieces, 1/2 cup sautéed mushrooms and red onions. 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds, Lime wedges.

Method

In a wok, heat oil. Fry the red curry paste till the raw smells disappears. Now throw in the veggies, add a bit of salt. Cover and cook till almost done.
Add soy, turmeric, salt pepper, sugar. give a mix. Stir in the coconut milk. Once it has boiled. Stir in the vegetable stock. Simmer for 2/3 minutes or so. Throw in the curry leaves and lemon grass stalks Cover and boil for 5 minutes.

Delicious comfort food

Delicious comfort food

How to Serve:

Remove the lemon grass stalks from the broth before serving.

Take a deep bowl. Place a forkful or two of noodles. Pour the vegetable-coconut broth. Top with some sautéed mushrooms and onions, some fried tofu or paneer. A sprinkle of sesame seeds. A drizzle of lime juice. Torn basil and coriander leaves to garnish.
Serve.

A drizzle of lime and a sprinkle of sesame

A drizzle of lime and a sprinkle of sesame

Note: For sautéing the mushrooms, onions and tofu. I sliced them thinly, gently sautéed in a bit of oil. Sprinkled salt and pepper powder. Hardly takes 5 minutes.

Note: Laksa is usually soupy and the noodles float in a water like broth. Now to make the soup, vegetable stock is preferred rather than plain water. Since I did not have any, I made a thick vegetable stew in coconut milk. It tasted more intense and enveloped my noodles well in a spicy tangy gravy.

all season food, this is.

all season food, this is.

The above is a not a perfect authentic recipe. I changed and customised it according to our likes and the ingredients available. So this recipe might just serve as a rough inspiration to cook the dish. So feel free to play around!

Happy Cooking dear readers 🙂

Thai Green Curry

Thai Green Curry on a bed of white rice

Thai Green Curry on a bed of white rice

I was going away on a holiday. Produce in the refrigerator waited to be used or trashed. Buying all the good stuff a couple of days before I go away is plain stupid of me.
See, but this is what happens. I go grocery shopping thinking I will just pick up the most essential things, but then the colorful fresh vegetables gleam and glare and I end up losing myself and my money. I had very little time to use them all up. Phew!

Well, to cut a long story short. A box full of broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, baby corn and carrots needed to used – asap. Grilled vegetable salad were a passe. I craved for a spicy broth with them. So what better than a spicy curry laced with coconut milk and lemon grass. Yes, to finish off the vegetables I had to go buy some coconut milk and lemon grass 🙂 Thai Curry was on the cards.

Fragrant Green curry

Fragrant Green curry

I made a green paste with easily available ingredients. Skipped galangal, used Indian green chilies, omitted the fish and shrimp sauces. And yes, it still tastes simply marvelous!
Now, lemon grass and lemon rind are essential ingredients. You cannot go thai without them.

Ingredients for the paste

Ingredients for the paste

Lemon grass is fragrant and is used as an addition to tea, and in preparations such as kadha, which is a traditional herbal ‘soup’ given in coughs, colds, etc. It has medicinal properties and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. Helps in relieving cough and nasal congestion.

Thai Green Curry Paste:

Thai Green Curry Paste

Thai Green Curry Paste

Ingredients

  • 5-6 finely chopped lemon grass stem
  • 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 10 green chillies , roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • a small piece of ginger
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon rind

Method

Combine all the ingredients and blend in a mixer to a fine paste, using just enough water. Keep aside.

Thai Green Curry with Vegetables

Loaded with vegetables

Loaded with vegetables

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup green curry paste
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 10-12 paneer/cottage cheese cubes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of diced assorted vegetables – broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots
  • 1 onion, diced
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 8/10 leaves of basil, torn or chopped
  • salt to taste

Method

Heat the oil in a pot, add onions and the green curry paste and sauté on a medium flame for 1 minute. Add all the vegetables except paneer, sprinkle salt. Cover and let it cook till 3/4th done. Add the coconut milk, mix well and cook on a medium flame for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle sugar and salt, mix well and cook on a medium flame a minute or two. Mix in the diced paneer cubes. Top with torn basil leaves.

Serve hot. You could serve the curry with rice or noodles or slurp it up like a spicy soup too.

Note: Basil imparts a lovely flavor and fragrance to the curry. I didn’t have nay that day but top it on your curry and see the difference! Magical is the word.

Spicy, yet mildly soothing

Spicy, yet mildly soothing

Serve on a bed of hot steaming white rice or some boiled noodles –

A bowl of happiness

A bowl of happiness

Ginger Scallion Red Curry Thai Noodles

Such a long name for a noodle which is so simple to put together.

Thai red curry ginger scallion noodles

Thai red curry ginger scallion noodles

Such is life. We complicate simple things. But then, if we don’t add drama to simplicity, what’s the fun huh?
I could just call it Noodles or maybe Scallion Noodles( to be more descriptive), but chances are you would have just ignored the post and carried on with something else. So, I try to elaborate. And I try to emphasize the Thai part. 🙂
We make traditional noodles all the time, but a Thai dish topped with toasted sesame and peanuts has the birthright to YELL out for attention. Yep. This simple dish is that awesome.

Scallions add flavor!

Scallions add flavor!

I did not add any vegetable apart from sweet corn( because that’s all I had in the refrigerator), and it took me less than 10 minutes to put it together(took more time to think of a name. wierd. Funny right?)

This meal was a last minute improvisation with what ever was left in my pantry, and the husband being bitten by the traveling bug, dinner was just for me and Milee.
Since I added red curry paste, I was doubtful of the heat that the noodle carried, so quickly made a cheese paratha for the child. But the final outcome was sooo good(and not too spicy) that Milee literally grabbed and made me swap dinner plates with her. Kids!

Red Curry Fire

Red Curry Fire

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups boiled noodles, I used plain ones, but I believe egg noodles taste great in thai curry.
  • 1/2 cup scallion/spring onion whites
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste, or as much as you like
  • 4 tbsp scallion/spring onion greens
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2-3 tbsp toasted peanuts, coarsely crushed
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil or peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn or any vegetable(mushroom/broccoli) – optional

Method

In a large wok, heat oil. Saute ginger garlic. Throw in the scallion whites and thinly sliced onions. If you are using any vegetable – add it now. Once almost done, mix in the red curry paste, soy sauce and salt. Saute on high for a minute or two. Quickly add the boiled noodles, salt and 3/4th of scallion greens. Throw in 3/4th of sesame seeds and peanuts saving some for garnishing. Switch the flame off. Mix well with gentle hands. Just before serving reheat in a microwave, garnish with leftover sesame, peanuts and scallion leaves. Serve hot!

How easy is that?!! 🙂

Toasted sesame and peanuts to garnish

Toasted sesame and peanuts to garnish

So, the long name describes my supper best. Just ‘that’ is enough for you to guess and put the ingredients together. In between big mouthfuls of red curry noodles, some crisp cheese coriander paratha, mother daughter duo made some awesome memories and a wonderful-definitely-repeating recipe.

Life is simple. 🙂

Take a big bite

Take a big bite

Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup

Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup

Spicy Thai Pumpkin Soup

I remember posting a recipe for pumpkin soup earlier. But this one is different. So cliched you would say. No, really. It’s different. A Thai version spiced with red curry paste and laced with coconut milk, gives the soup a spicy yet cooling effect. Cryptic? No, its simple. Red paste to heaten and coconut to cool.. getting both flavors without much harm done. So simple. And well so is the recipe.

Garnished with a little cream

Garnished with a little cream

Soups and stews are antagonistic to desserts where photography is concerned. To bribe anyone with pictures of soup is a mammoth task. I attempted various ways and I stumbled all the times. Soups make dreadful shots. I have no conniving methods(Read: Awesome clicks:) ) to garner attention to this post of mine.

I haven’t posted many yummy eats of mine just because I was not happy with the pictures. But perfecting shots is no piece of cake. And many a recipes were deleted in lure of those beautiful clicks. I was going to take a long time to improve, but that doesn’t mean, I should deprive you lovely people of fantastic simple procedures that I chanced upon. So, here I am.

Now, don’t mind the pictures, enjoy the rains with this spicy tangy yummy soup.

For rainy evenings....

For rainy evenings….

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped pumpkin
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic pods, minced or you could use 2 straws of fresh green garlic
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste – or as you like it
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp flour or powdered oats
  • salt to taste
  • Oil or butter – just a blob
  • Basil leaves to garnish – optional
Pumpkin, Red Curry and Spicy soup

Pumpkin, Red Curry and Spicy soup

Method

In a deep pan or pressure cooker, heat oil/butter. Saute the garlic and onions till pink. Mix in the red curry paste now. Throw in the pumpkin, tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cook till done. Once it’s cooked, run a blender through the mix. If you like, you could strain the concoction or use it as it is. Now, mix a tsp of flour or oats to the coconut milk. Stir it in the pureed mix. Give it a good boil or two. If its runny, add more coconut-flour mix and if its thick, stir in some water or plain milk. Season with salt and garnish with chopped basil.

We have the spice from the red paste, a mild sweetness from the coconut milk and tang from the tomatoes. So many flavors!!

Slurrrp it away with toasted bread.

Hint of coconut to beat the heat of red curry paste

Hint of coconut to beat the heat of red curry paste

Thai Red Curry with Basil and Mushrooms

The monsoons are in full swing this year. Sparing no one from its fury. The thunderous roar, the relentless rain, the flashes of lightning all add more magic to this uber cool city of dreams. I love rains.

The rains makes me dream, makes me romantic, makes me stand in my balcony for longer than usual, makes me stare out of the window more times than necessary, makes me watch the sky, makes me put my hand out in the falling rain, makes me drink at least 3-4 cups of hot masala chai a day, makes me crave for something spicy and deep fried…sigh!

Serene in Sound

Serene in Sound

Overcast Skies

Overcast Skies

Wet Weekend ahead

Wet Weekend ahead

The rain, along with the niceties, also makes me dry the laundry using a hair dryer – sometimes, makes me broom the excessive water from our balcony like.. several times, makes me fight unwanted flies, makes me yell to leave dirty, muddy shoes outside, makes me squirm coz my entire house and my entire being is moist and sticky. Oh! I could go on about the monsoons.
But, now is not the time, a hot spicy amazing curry awaits its turn.

Coming your way – Mushroom Basil Thai red curry. Oh! just remembering those incredible spices makes my mouth water. This coconut based curry, flavored with lemon grass and basil is on my most fav lists. Yea, you read it right.. I have LISTS(many) of my favorite things in the world… What do I say? I am easy to please.

Thai red curry with brown rice

Thai red curry with brown rice

I had a box full of mushrooms in the refrigerator and some divine basil desperately waiting to be picked up.
So here is some mushroom basil magic with my camera:

Mushroom Basil - Magic in the monsoons

Mushroom Basil – Magic in the monsoons

Like said before, I am in love with Basil. My fav herb. See? Another favorite. The husband has to disagree with me, law of nature. He doesn’t care much for the gorgeous aromatic herb. But, I use it generously in my bowl and for others, just a slightest addition to the right plate brings a unique taste like no other.

Aromatic Basil

Aromatic Basil

Fiery red curry, with strong aromatic components is to die for. The flavors all complex and jumbled is a treat to eat on a rainy day. Complementing traditional thai jasmine rice or noodles, it serves as an excellent stew. You can add any assortment of vegetables and cheese(read: cottage or tofu). If you have red curry paste already made in your freezer, then its a matter of 15 minutes to dish up this delightful complex composition.

Fiery red chilies flavored in coconut gravy

Fiery red chilies flavored in coconut gravy

There is a lot going on with Thai cuisine. They add a host of different varied components, all coming together harmoniously for a fabulous finish. They use strong aromatic individual flavors of kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal, thai lemon basil which are not easily available else where. Most Thai dishes use fish sauce and shrimp paste, even in their vegetarian dishes.

But here I have an Indianised version of the famous red curry, made with local easily available ingredients but the taste as close to the original. This vegetarian red curry has grounded red chilies and spices, along with aromatic herbs, tossed in with assorted veggies in a milky coconut gravy, garnished with loads of fresh greens like basil.

Veggie assortment simmered in a fiery coconut curry

Veggie assortment simmered in a fiery coconut curry

Without much ado, lets start:

Ingredients

  • 5-7 tbsp Red Curry Paste or according to your level of heat
  • 1 cup of button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 cup assorted diced and parboiled veggies like carrot, cauliflower etc
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1.5 – 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cornflour , mixed in water
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 15 basil leaves, chopped/torn
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste

Method

Mix the cornflour and coconut milk.
Heat oil in a pot, throw in onions, bell peppers. Once almost done, add mushrooms. After about a minute of sauteing, add the red curry paste and fry for a few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, salt, soya sauce, basil leaves(save some for garnishing) and all the vegetables. Simmer till veggies are nicely done. The consistency of the curry is usually not very thin to not thick at all. So, depending on your like, thicken it with cornflour or leave it little runny.
Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.

I made brown rice, which tasted excellent with this hot saucy curry.

Rice and curry on a beautiful rainy day.

Rice and curry on a beautiful rainy day.

We like our food hot n spicy. So I added a generous amount of red curry paste. Needless to say, we were left with runny noses, but still enjoyed every mouthful.

Like it hot?! Add more curry paste.

Like it hot?! Add more curry paste.

Hot tip: You can add any vegetable or meat of your choice. Try some paneer or tofu, its the most heavenly combo of screaming red curry and cool placid paneer. Yumm! I didn’t have any today, else it would be the first thing to go into this lovely curry.

Killer Combo

Killer Combo

The red paste was made by my dear friend Sonal. We have an undefined agreement between the two of us. When ever any of us makes the paste, we send over some to the other. Sonal adds just the right amount of lemongrass and red chilies in the grounded compound, making it perfect for me to use. Hence, I rarely make it now, and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s toil… yay! Lucky me. Jokes apart, Thank you dear friend. And yep, keep making those fabulous Thai dinners and keep the treats coming.

Complex flavors

Complex flavors

Red Curry Paste

Hot, Screaming Red chili wonder

Hot, Screaming Red chili wonder

An Indiansed version, made with easily available components.

Ingredients

  • 10 red chilles , soaked in warm water for few minutes and drained
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger, instead of thai galangal
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • few stalks of coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds powder
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

Grind all the ingredients to a paste in a mixer jar using very little water. Store in an airtight container (for up to 1 month). Alternatively, freeze for up to 3 months.

Use as required.

Recipe Courtesy: Tarla Dalal

Note: Lemon grass is called “hare chai ki patti” in Hindi. Your local bhaajiwala or the herb aisle of supermarkets, will have this highly aromatic green.

Note: To get a brighter hue, use “kashmiri” red chilies. They impart a beautiful color and are not very spicy.

Hot. Hot. Hot.

Hot. Hot. Hot.