COOKING ON DEADLINE: Thai Green Pork Curry
The scent of Thai curry cooking is very possibly one of the greatest kitchen smells ever.
Ingredients like lemongrass, chilies, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, and spices like coriander and cumin all mingle together to create a heady perfume that pulls people to the table.
There are as many versions of Thai curry as there are provinces of the country — perhaps as many as there are Thai cooks. Thailand is at the center of Southeast Asia, and its cooking has influenced and been influenced by the cuisines of many countries, from India to China.
While making your own curry paste is an interesting and rewarding experience, opening a jar of Thai curry paste is by far the easiest solution for a weeknight dinner. It’s available in the Asian section of supermarkets, and online.
Fish sauce is a traditional ingredient in Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines. It is made from fermented anchovies or other seafood, and has a pungent smell, but when a small amount is employed in a recipe it adds a bracing, salty flavor that calls your taste buds to attention. If you like Thai food, you probably like fish sauce. Start with a small amount, and add more from there.
The sauce of this curry is fairly thin. If you want a thicker sauce, stir a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of water and add with the coconut milk. Either way, you’ll want to serve it with plenty of rice to soak up the delicious liquid.
THAI GREEN PORK CURRY
Start to finish: 30 minutes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 red bell pepper, slivered
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
2 cups small cauliflower florets
4 cups cubed pork loin
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
6 cups hot cooked white or jasmine rice to serve
Lime wedges to serve
In a large pot over medium high heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the curry paste and ginger and stir until you can smell the spices. Stir in the bell pepper, then add the broth and coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer (do not let the mixture boil or it might separate or curdle).
Add the fish sauce or soy sauce, and the cauliflower. Simmer for 5 minutes, until the cauliflower starts to become tender. Add the pork and the chickpeas and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes, until the pork is cooked and the cauliflower is tender. Stir in the basil and lime juice and serve over the hot rice, with the lime wedges on the side to squeeze over.
Nutrition information per serving: 644 calories; 382 calories from fat; 42 g fat (22 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 105 mg cholesterol; 963 mg sodium; 25 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 44 g protein.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman/
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