The summer crops just keep on rolling in with the waves of heat and moisture. Some of these items, such as the cucumbers patiently awaiting their transformation into canned bread and butter pickles, have been set aside for a specific cooking project. Others, however, are usually prepped and cooked up, on the fly, into a quick and satisfying stir fry, a plate of buttery, sauteed veggies, or a creamy coconut curry. Inspired by a favorite cookbook of mine and a recent evening out, I decided to put almost all of my CSA goodies to use in the following entree-style dish.
Coconut Red Curry
Makes about 4 servings
- 1/4+ cup oil (I used walnut)
- 2-3 Asian eggplants, sliced into thick pieces
- 1 pint okra, sliced lengthwise, OR 1 pint green beans (or a combo!)
- 2-4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely-grated
- 1 medium onion, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 green or red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 2 carrots, sliced into thin rounds
- 2 cups green or yellow summer squash(es), sliced into quarter-inch rounds
- 1 tomato, sliced into half-rounds
- 1/2 of 1 jalapeno OR Serrano hot pepper, thinly-sliced (optional)
- 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional if you prefer a sweet sauce)
- zest of 1/2 of a lime, finely grated
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, coarsely-chopped (optional, not shown)
- juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro or basil, finely chopped
In a medium frying pan, heat 2+ tablespoons oil over medium-high heat; when hot, carefully add prepped eggplant and okra, and fry for 1-2 minutes or until the veggies have some browning. Quickly remove from the pan and place on a paper napkin or parchment to sop up extra oil; set aside.
Again in a medium pan, heat the other 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, onion, and bell pepper, sauteing for about 2-3 minutes. While doing so, whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, sugar (if using), lime zest, and bay leaf in a small bowl; set aside. Add the carrots to the pan, saute another 2-3 minutes, then add the squash, tomato, and hot pepper, sauteing for another minute or so. Turn up the heat, add the coconut milk mixture to the pan, and bring to a simmer; cook until the carrots are fork-tender, somewhere between 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the eggplant, okra, lime juice, and cashews, if using; gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, as needed, garnish with prepped herbs, and serve immediately.
Goes very nicely with quinoa and rice!
Images by Rebekah Carter (2012). Recipe inspired by Didi Emmons' "Entertaining for a Veggie Planet."