Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sweet Potato and Tofu Curry

I was excited about my new cookbook 'Travels with Thai Food' (Brierty & Fear, 2007) that it didn't matter that it was 11pm. I was hungry, I had ingredients in my fridge and inspiration. I was bored? No no, inspired, yes.  Anyway, cooking at night's always a problem for my photo taking, but too bad, because there wasn't going to be any leftovers to foto the next day. This was going straight in mah belleh! Mmmmmmm..... Spic-ay!

The recipes in 'Travels with Thai Food' include customized curries for each curry recipe, though I've found very little variation in many of the pastes that are used for the base of the curries. The basic ingredients for many of these pastes are (in varying proportions): chillies, galangal (have yet to find out what this really is), ginger, lemongrass, lime zest, coriander, onion, garlic, white pepper, cumin, and depending on the other ingredients, something like nutmet, basil, tamarind, keffir lime and so on.

So since using a pestle and mortar to grind up a paste, of which you end up using only a few table spoons for each curry, I bought a pre-made red Panang Thai curry from the Asian market and tweek it with a few of my own spices later if necessary. This saves me a lot of time. I know with the right technique, using a pestle and mortar isn't so laborious, but to me, it often feels like it.

Here I'll list the Red Curry Paste ingredients for anyone interested, but I do admit I took a rather big, and recommendable shortcut:
10 dried chillies, deseeded and soaked in water until soft
1 tbs chopped galangal
2 tbs chopped lemongrass
1 tsp lime zest
2 coriander roots scraped
2 tbs chopped onion
4 tbs chopped garlic
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 tbs vegetable oil
salt and pepper
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbs sugar (palm sugar if you have it)
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs finely diced ginger
half block of tofu, cubed (I dry mine out in a dry non stick skillet on low heat for 10 minutes before using)
4 keffir lime leaves (I buy mine semi-dried and keep them in the fridge for weeks)
half red chilli, in slivers for garnish
1/4 cup cashews crushed for garnish

1.) Preheat the oven to 200C. Prepare the paste if you are making yourself.
2.) Toss the sweet potato in the salt pepper and olive oil and spread evenly on a lined baking sheet. Bake the sweet potato for abotu 45 minutes or until goldenbrown and soft.
3.) Combine the coconut milk and 3 tbs red paste in a hot skillet or wok and mix well. Add the sugar, soy sauce, ginger and tofu and begin to cook about 5 minutes.
4.) Bring the mixture to a boil and add the basil and lime leaves. Then add the sweet potato, toss and remove from heat.
5.) Serve garnished with the fresh chilli and cashews.

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