My first introduction to Thai food was here in LA. Hubby and I dined at a restaurant called Naga in Long Beach. The views of the bay were magnificent and we celebrated quite a few occasions in that restaurant. I instantly loved the flavors of this cuisine. Coconut milk is abundantly and widely used in Thai cuisine. Hailing from the South of India coconut is a part of our everyday food. So I had to fall in love with the flavors. In addition to this another reason to love Thai food is that it is loaded with veggies which I’m a great fan of.
Everytime we are on vacation we google to find the nearest Thai restaurant. Another bonus with dining in Thai restaurants is rice is served with curries and I prefer rice to breads or rotis.
The dish comes together very easily but having most of the ingredients imparts the authentic Thai flavor. I’ve given some substitutes in the notes if you don’t have all the ingredients. Also serve the curry with authentic jasmine rice which is prized for its sticky consistency and floral fragrance.
- 1 ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ white onion, cubed
- 1 red bell pepper, cubed
- 1 zucchini, cubed
- 10 asparagus spears, cut into thirds
- ¾ cup firm tofu, cubed
- ½ cup mushroom, any variety cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 japanese eggplant, cubed, optional
- For the sauce:
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 “ piece ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp lemon juice or 2 tsp vinegar
- 2-3 tsp lemongrass, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chili sauce, any kind
- 2-3 tsp soy sauce
- 8-10 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 tsp oil
- Salt to taste
- Green onion tops, chopped
- 8-10 basil leaves, to garnish
To make the sauce mix together garlic, ginger, lemon juice, lemongrass, chili sauce and soy sauce. Whisk well and keep aside.
Heat oil, add onion, and saute. Add bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add asparagus, zucchini, mushroom, eggplant, tomato, tofu and bring to a boil.
Add the sauce along with lime leaves and salt. Cook for 2 minutes.
Finally add coconut milk, cook for 2 minutes and turn off the flame.
Garnish with fresh basil and green part of spring onion chopped. Serve hot with jasmine rice.
If you don’t find kaffir lime leaves or lemongrass you can use 1 tsp each of lemon and/or lime zest.
Lime leaves are usually sold in big packets, I wash and freeze them for later use.
If you get tough lemongrass you can always add the whole stalk for flavor infusion and then remove just before serving.
The vegetables used here should be crisp in texture and need to be cooked for a short period of time. Do not over cook.
Ideally the curry must be served right when it is cooked.
You can use store bought coconut milk or make your own. To make coconut milk, blend 1 cup of grated coconut with 1 ½ -2 cups of water. Line the strainer with cheesecloth, pour the milk and strain. Use as required.
The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.
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