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Posts tagged ‘coconut milk’

Panang Curry with Tofu and Vegetables

It’s never too hot for a good curry!

Panang Curry with Tofu and Vegetables

I really enjoy Thai food, especially a good Panang curry. My boyfriend also absolutely loves Thai; and we’ve gotten many a dinner together at the plethora of Thai places in the DMV area. While I enjoy these restaurants thoroughly, I wanted to try my hand at making my own curry at home. So, I decided to start with my favorite – a simple panang. I found this recipe for panang curry, and while it calls for chicken and fish oil, it seemed not only simple to prepare, but easy enough to modify into a vegetarian dish.

To start, I did some advance prep by cooking up some rice and making some coconut milk. As I mentioned last week, I’ve started making a lot of my own grocery store staples, such as bread and nondairy milk. In the book How it All Vegan, I found a really easy recipe for homemade coconut milk, and decided to give it a try. I am now a convert to homemade coconut milk! Basically, you take 1/2 a cup of shredded coconut (I used dry shredded, which I usually keep around the apartment for baking), add 1 cup of boiling water, blend them together until smooth, and then strain out the coconut bits. That’s it. Really. Why was I spending money on cans again?

The recipe yields about 1 cup of coconut milk. If you measure it out and have less than one cup, add a little water

I kept both the coconut milk and the rice in the fridge until I made my curry that night (the coconut milk will separate when chilled; just shake it up before using).

To start the curry, I first cut up half a block of tofu into small triangles, then fried them in olive oil for about 10 minutes; or the duration of time that it took to make the curry sauce. I’d recommend doing this in both a deep skillet and one with a lid, since the oil will fly up during frying and might hit you! I mostly left the tofu alone while making my curry sauce, with the exception of flipping the triangles over about halfway through. This allowed them to get really nice and crispy on both sides.

Fried triangles of goodness

Up next was the easy part – the sauce. I brought my coconut milk (though the recipe calls for a 14 oz can, I yielded plenty of sauce with the one cup I prepared) to a gentle boil, then added some garlic and red curry paste (as opposed to Panang curry paste), stirring to make a rich sauce. I then added some chopped onion, which I chopped finely as opposed to slicing into strips like the recipe suggests. While the onions simmered in the sauce, I prepped my other veggies and flipped the tofu triangles. After about three minutes, I added sugar, peanut butter (instead of roasted peanuts), sliced carrots, cubed tomato, and dried red pepper flakes (about 1/4 tsp), stirring to get the peanut butter good and incorporated into the sauce. Rather than add the tofu triangles to the sauce, as instructed, I drained the excess oil from my skillet, returned the tofu, and then added the sauce to the warm skillet, keeping the heat on low and allowing the curry to simmer. I’d recommend simmering for at least 5-10 minutes so that it can get nice and flavorful.

This recipe was relatively simple and cheap to prepare, two things I always like when it comes to homemade! Next time I want to add broccoli to the mix, as well as other vegetables. This curry was very delicious on a bed of brown rice. Definitely try making it at home, and save yourself a little money in the process! The recipe yielded about three servings, so you’ll even have leftovers.

Ginger Peach Ice Cream

Summer’s here, and so is ice cream season!

Ginger Peach Ice Cream

I recently became the proud owner of an ice cream maker, thanks to a Craigslist acquisition that also got me a crock pot and a waffle iron. Seriously, if you need kitchen appliances that are a tad on the expensive side, take a look at Craigslist – you’ll often find perfectly good items that are only slightly used, and cost much less than going to the store. Recycling! Anyhoo, with summer upon us in full force, I wanted to break out the ice cream maker to whip up a batch of refreshing, fruity, seasonal vegan ice cream. Enter Ginger Peach Ice Cream!

This is actually a slightly-modified recipe from Cathe Olson’s Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love, which was recommended to me by a friend. The recipe is a simple peach ice cream recipe which calls for fresh peaches, coconut milk, sugar or agave nectar, and vanilla extract. So simple, and without a miles-long ingredient list that many ice creams, vegan or otherwise, tend to boast in the store. I got a little lazy though, as the recipe calls for four cups of fresh peaces sliced and peeled; and instead used 1-1/2 16 oz bags of sliced frozen peaches from Whole Foods. Because of this, I also omitted the optional cooking step for the peaches in the book’s recipe. I defrosted the peaches before using, just to make it easier to blend; but you can keep them frozen if you have a strong blender (as opposed to a $20 blender from Target).

Mm, peaches

First you blend together the coconut milk, choice of sweetener (I did an even blend of agave nectar and granulated sugar), and vanilla; I also added a tablespoon of ground ginger to this step to give the ice cream a bit more zip. Plus, peaches and ginger go insanely well together. I would recommend using ground ginger as opposed to fresh ginger root, since the former has a slightly sweeter taste (as opposed to being all spice) and, perhaps more importantly, blends really well with the liquids since it more easily dissolves. However, if you’re a fresh ingredient purist, I’m sure you could use minced or grated ginger root as well. After these ingredients were blended, I added one bag’s worth of peaches to the blender and blended completely, as instructed by the book. I liked that the fruit is pureed to become a part of the ice cream, as opposed to this being a vanilla ice cream with peach chunks; the latter is cheating! But I do also love peach chunks in my ice cream, so once the peaches were blended with the coconut-ginger mixture, I added the remaining half-bag of peaches and pulsed them until they were chopped finely in the mixture.

Up next comes the longest part – letting the mixture cool. The book instructs you to let the mixture cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours. This is very important, as a mixture that’s not cold enough will not freeze properly in an ice cream maker. Once three hours passed (wherein I watched old B-movies and surfed the web), I simply started up my ice cream maker, poured in my ginger peach mix, and 30 minutes later, had delicious homemade ice cream!

I like this recipe because of both the minimal ingredients and the large use of less-processed products like organic coconut milk (the coconut milk I bought had three ingredients as opposed to the encyclopedia often found in other nondairy milks). Yes, it’s still a treat (especially with the sugar), but it’s definitely a better alternative to both dairy-based ice creams and expensive store-bought vegan ice creams. I definitely want to make more of the recipes soon!