Tag Archives: curry

Spicy Vegan Fall Soup

I’m not ready for snow or anything, but I haven’t been totally hating the cooler temperatures.  I decided I needed to make soup this week  and went for it — what else are you supposed to do when you’ve got a couple of leeks and an acorn squash staring you in the face? I didn’t follow any recipe at all — just a bit of this and a bit of that. Obviously this could be changed up with all kinds of stuff, but I like how it turned out. Spicy, smooth and just what the weatherman ordered.

Ingredients
• 1 acorn squash
• 1 sweet potato
• 2 leeks, cleaned and white parts chopped well
• 1 small cooking onion, chopped
• 10-15 baby carrots, chopped small
• olive oil and/or vegan butter
• 4 c. vegetable broth
• about 10 to 11 oz. coconut milk
• about 2 cloves minced garlic
• 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
• Various spices: curry powder, cayenne pepper, dill, salt, pepper, turmeric, celery salt (there may be others, that’s all I can remember!)
• honey (optional)

And here’s what I did:

1. Cut squash in half (from stem to bottom), remove seeds/pulp from center, lay cut side down on microwave safe plate and microwave on high for about 10 minutes. This also could be done by laying face down on a baking sheet or foil and baking for about 30-40 minutes at, let’s say, 400 degrees. I chose the shorter route, as I wasn’t getting started making my dinner until about 8 o’clock last night…

2. Prick sweet potato with fork all over, lay on a paper towel on a plate and microwave for about 4-5 minutes, depending on size.

3. Saute onion, leeks and carrots with ginger and garlic in a bit of olive oil and/or butter (1-2 Tbsp. total, I’d say). Cook this down for a bit until everything is soft and browning a little.

4. While cooking down/browning, add spices — a bit of salt and pepper, about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. curry powder, 1/4 tsp. dill and a dash or two each of the rest (I chose celery salt because I didn’t have any celery to contribute, cayenne for a bit of heat, turmeric for a little color and flavor)

5. Once squash and sweet potato is cool enough to be handled, squeeze/scrape, scoop out the pulp and mash it up as well as you can. This made about 1 c. of mashed sweet potatoes and 2 c. of mashed squash. Add to pot.

6. Add broth — I started with 3 c. and later put the fourth. You can kind of play it by ear depending on what consistency you think you want to end up with. Bring to a quick boil then drop down to a simmer.

7. Blend with an immersion blender, or cool a bit and blend in a blender in batches. I borrowed my sister’s immersion blender (I really need to get a new one!) and it took about 2 seconds and was really easy. There are some really affordable ones and you won’t believe how often you will wish you had one!). I added the fourth cup of broth around now, I think, because it seemed like it was a little thick and it hadn’t made very much.

8. Add coconut milk. I started with a mini can that is 5.5 ounces. This left the soup nice and thick — I actually loved the consistency. But it was a little spicier than I wanted. I started with about half of a 13.5 oz. can and it was great. I wish I just would have used the whole 13.5 oz. can to begin with (and maybe held back on the broth a little…)

9. If you’re not vegan, I thought it would be good to add a little honey for sweetness or to tone down the spice a little. It would also be a great opportunity for sprinkling in a little nutritional yeast if you’ve got some too (which would thicken it back up a little too).

I had this soup again tonight and it was really good! I’m happy with my little adventure and will definitely be “winging it” like this again. You should too.   🙂

Curried Tofu and Onions

I got a TofuXpress for my birthday and I can’t stop using it! It’s amazing! It presses the water out of the tofu — within seconds you can pour some off. I have let mine sit everywhere from 3 hours to overnight (longer than necessary on both counts) and it squeezed the tofu to about 1.5 inches tall.  By squeezing all of the water out, it not only soaks up whatever you put it in (it even comes with a lid so you can marinate it right in the machine) but it cuts easily and doesn’t crumble (unless you want it to) when you’re cooking it.

I decided the first recipe I would make should come from the manual of vegetarian recipes that comes with it, and chose this because I had all of the ingredients! It was DELICIOUS. Even better, it was really fast and easy to make. I served it with Israeli couscous infused with curry, which made them go together perfectly.

Ingredients
• 1 pkg. extra firm tofu, preferably with the water pressed out!
• Non-stick spray or olive oil
• 1 can coconut milk
• 1 sweet onion, chopped
• 1/4 c. chopped walnuts or cashews
• 1-2 Tbsp. yellow curry powder
• 1 tomato, diced
• fresh cilantro, chopped (about 4 Tbsp.)
• cayenne pepper
• salt

1. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes.

2. Add spray or a bit of oil to pan (I used olive oil) to a large pan and heat to medium. Add diced onions and brown (but don’t burn!) them — this took me about 10 minutes or so.

3. Add curry and coat onions, then heat for 1 minute. I started with 1 Tbsp. and added about another half (maybe more) later. It was spicy for sure, but not too spicy. I’d start with 1 if you’re not sure.

4. Add coconut milk and heat for 1 minute, then add chopped tomato, tofu, nuts and cilantro. I had about 1/4 c. raw cashews in the freezer, so that’s what I went with. (These have actually come in very handy since purchasing them to make the vegan baked pumpkin ziti with cashew ricotta for the first ever cooking club).

5. Bring to a soft boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Add cayenne pepper and salt to taste (I only added a bit of each)

Indian Pot Pie

This is one of the few original recipes I think I’ve ever posted to I Eat Veg! Of course, it happened by chance, as most of my creations happen on the fly.

When I first moved to Metro Detroit, I wasn’t very familiar with the restaurants in the area and had a tough time finding a good samosa. I lived in Lansing for close to a decade and, during that time, LOVED the samosas at Aladdin’s in Frandor. Then I moved on to Wisconsin, Chicago and eventually Detroit, going years without having one at all, I think.

I got a hankering for them one day and decided to make my own, using the following recipe but trying to stuff it into cannister rolls (like Pillsbury biscuits, etc.) and they were just OK. A few weeks later some friends in town from L.A. were coming over for dinner and, unexpectedly, they were in the neighborhood and ready to come over just seconds after we returned from a movie — totally unprepared to feed people!

As D, S and A enjoyed a cocktail, I was rushing around trying to get dinner ready and the filling was spilling out of the little biscuit pockets I made and I decided — forget it! I have pie crusts in the refrigerator (don’t tell my mom I now make a habit out of using store-bought pie crust — but not for pies!). SO, I decided to make a giant samosa, so-to-speak. I did a post on what I then dubbed Indian Pot Pie a while back, but thought it deserved a re-post since it’s been a long time.

This is definitely the new comfort food.  And better yet, there is no measuring and only a handful of ingredients. It’s pretty hard to mess it up! This recipe easily makes 4-6 entree servings and costs less than $10 to make!

Preheat oven to 425

Ingredients:
• 5-10 redskin potatoes, depending on the size
• 1 14.5 oz. can coconut milk
• olive oil
• 1/2 of one envelope Taste of Thai yellow curry paste (or 4 tsp. any yellow curry paste)
• medium white onion, chopped/diced
• frozen peas
• 2 pie crusts (store-bought or homemade – I usually go with this, which comes in a 2-pack and costs about $3)

1. Dice potatoes. I usually end up using roughly six potatoes — some small, some medium redskins — and cut them pretty small so they will cook faster. Heat oil in a pan and cook with onions until the potatoes are sticking so much it’s annoying (it’s science).

2. Shake can of coconut milk well and add, using it to deglaze the pan (i.e. scrape up the bits of potato that stuck to the bottom).

3. Add curry paste and whisk or stir in until it is well blended in the coconut milk. If you are using the packet of Taste of Thai curry paste, remove plastic packet and smooth out, laying flat. Cut in half with a knife or kitchen scissors, so you get exactly half. You can always add more or less, but after trying a few different amounts, I’ve found this to be a good, flavorful amount. If you don’t have paste and just have yellow curry powder, you can wing it. That’s what we did when we tried to create this dish for our friend in Nicaragua, but didn’t have all of the ingredients.

4. Cook this over medium heat for a while (maybe 5-10 minutes) until it cooks down to a consistency that isn’t watery and has just a nice, thick sauce — and not a ton of it! If you don’t cook it down to where it’s thick, the end result can be kind of runny.

5. Add frozen peas after it cooks down for a bit. Add as much as you want — I imagine I end up putting in 1-2 cups. I just play it by ear, adding the frozen peas until the ratio looks about right (again, it’s science).

6. Take 8×8 glass dish and place one crust in it, so it sits pretty evenly. Though I don’t think it’s necessary, I sometimes spray the dish first with non-stick spray to be safe. Spoon or pour filling into pie crust. Somehow, miraculously, it almost always ends up filling the dish up perfectly.

7. Place the second crust on top and squish the two together, sealing it as best you can. Somehow I always poke a hole in the top crust somewhere, but it never matters.

8. Bake according to the directions on the pie crust box — the inside already is cooked (or should be at this point) so you really just want to bake the crust. SO, bake for whatever time is on the crust box (20 minutes?) or until nicely browned. Allow to cool for a while because it will be molten inside. Spoon out and enjoy! I’m sure this would be good with some kind of chutney too, but I haven’t tried since I failed at making chutney with this dish a couple of years ago (the aforementioned original post of this recipe).

This recipe is super easy and fast and just plain delicious! I always forget how much I love it until I have it in front of me. I imagine this is one of those recipes you could easily freeze and thaw later too!

Indian Lentil and Carrot Soup

This recipe comes from the lovely Katie E., who created this for our Indian Cooking Club night back in April (I’m way behind with my posts as you can see!) It was DELICIOUS.

Here it is, with instructions by Katie:

Stock:
3-4 quarts of water
8 bunches of greens from the carrot tops
stalks from a bunch of cilantro
1 leek top
1 red onion
5 garlic cloves, smashed
salt and pepper

Simmer for 45 minutes. Don’t let it get to a rolling boil. After 45 minutes, strain the vegetable out of the stock.

Soup:
2 lb. bag of lentils
8 carrots
3 large tomatoes
1 leek
1 shallot
5 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of cilantro
4 Tbsp.  butter
2 Tbsp. curry powder (I used yellow)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. cumin
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 can coconut milk

1. Soak then lentils for about an hour before making the soup.

2. Remove the core of the tomatos and score the skin. Fill a medium saucepan with 1 inch of water, place the tomatoes inside and bring to a boil. Cook till the skin is falling off. When tomatoes have cooled remove the skin and set aside.

3. Chop the carrots, leeks, shallot and 2 cloves of garlic and saute them in the butter for a few minutes, till soft, with a dash of salt to help draw out the moisture.

4. While that’s cooking, drain the lentils and put in the stock and simmer. Add vegetables and cook till everything is tender, about 30 mins.

5. At this point, you can either transfer it into you food processor in batches or use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your liking. Once, the soup is blended, add the coconut milk and start adding the spices and ginger. Those measurements are based on what I did but I usually start with less and add to taste.

6. At this point I add the rest of the garlic by grating it on a microplane. In the last few minutes of cooking, I muddle the cilantro in a mortar and pestle, yielding about 2 tablespoons, and add it.

Green Curry Tofu

I have been craving Thai food for weeks, but, for one reason or another, it hasn’t worked out. Dinner plans changed, I was too whipped to make the effort to even pick up carry out (much less look up a phone number), or couldn’t decide where to turn after becoming disillusioned with our (former) go-to Thai joint in Royal Oak (any suggestions???)

So, today I picked up some green curry paste for the first time (finally!) and even getting stuck in a traffic jam until 8 p.m. couldn’t stop me from making it when I got home. Those who are industrious could certainly make their own green curry paste (it includes things like Thai ginger, lemongrass, green chilies, coriander, garlic, onion, cumin and so much more). I generally let Thai Kitchen do the work for me when it comes to curry paste. (They make a ready to pour sauce too, but I prefer doing it this way for this type of curry).

It turned out great, if I do say so myself. I loosely followed some recipes, but here’s what I ended up doing (which is about double any normal 2-person serving. I had high hopes and decided to load us up for dinner and lunch for the next couple of days. Good thing it worked out!)

I’m not preachy when it comes to being vegetarian (and I even like to have meaty options for guests depending on the situation), but for those who wonder, “What in the world does someone who’s vegan possibly eat?” — this recipe is a fine answer to that question. And it tastes way better than any old grilled chicken breast** (I’m just saying).

2 14 oz. cans coconut milk (I happened to have one lite and one regular)
3 Tbsp. green curry paste (I’ll see tomorrow if it gets spicier overnight, but next time I might go with 3 1/2 or 4)
1 pkg. extra firm tofu, cubed
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. vegetarian oyster sauce (I get mine from Kai Sun Oriental Market in Troy. If you can’t find any, some recipes say you                                                                   can use 1/3 of the amount of soy sauce instead.)
1 8 oz. can bamboo shoots
1 c. frozen peas
1 small onion chopped
1-2 peppers sliced (I went with 1 red and 1/2 an orange – next time I’ll do more)
2/3 c. vegetable broth

1. In a large saucepan or pot, blend the coconut milk and curry paste and heat to medium heat.

2. I then eyeballed roughly 3 Tbsp. each of brown sugar and oyster sauce and blended.

3. Add tofu, onions and peppers. I thought I would add this first, so it would have the most time to cook (in the case of the veggies) and to soak up the curry goodness (in the case of the tofu). It’s science.

4. I then threw in the bamboo, peas and veg stock. I kind of feel like it could do without the stock, but I’m thinking maybe it cuts the thickness of the coconut milk. Either way, it came out tasting really good, so I guess I’ll leave it in!

5. I let it hang out over medium/low heat for about 20 minutes, just to get the spices blended and the onions and peppers a little soft. I think you could put just about any vegetable in this and it would taste good. I just tried to keep it simple and included the things I think of when I think “green curry.”

6. Serve over rice (I went with brown) in a bowl and it’s kind of soup like if you ladel in tons o’ sauce like me. Enjoy!

** That being said, meat-eaters could easily substitute chicken for the tofu in this recipe. 🙂