Monday, August 27, 2012

Easy "Cheater" White Bean Curry with Mango

Hello ninja-readers!  In the week leading up to Labor Day and the end of  another summer, I thought I'd post this easy curry recipe since everyone is probably busy with end of summer plans and last minute cookouts.

I call this a "cheater" curry because it uses pre-made green curry paste from a jar.  I'm usually one to hunt down all of my own spices, including heading to the Asian market for things like fresh lemongrass, but this was a dish I whipped up for ninja-love Mike and I on a weekday night without a lot of planning, so jarred curry paste it was.  I added some of my own spices to make it taste completely homemade, but the jarred paste keeps the recipe nice and easy.  It doesn't really matter what kind you use - different brands will definitely affect the taste of the end product, but pretty much any kind you use will be delicious.  The curry is high-protein and packed with plenty of nutrients and good fats from all the veggies, fresh ginger, coconut and mango.  It makes quite a lot, but the leftovers are delicious and it would freeze well, so make a batch and have good eating for days on end.

Make this curry on a night when you want a meal that you can get on the table in under an hour, but tastes like it took forever.  Serve with rice, flatbread, or any grain to round out your meal.  Mike and I had ours over quinoa, because that's just how we roll here in the Fur Ninja house.  Onward to the recipe!

Easy "Cheater" White Bean Curry with Mango


3 Tablespoons peanut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 hot chili pepper, stem and seeds removed, minced
1" cube fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/4 cup mirin (rice wine)
3 Tablespoons green curry paste
1 1/2 lbs sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1" dice
1 1/2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 (14.5 ounce) can white beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped mint
salt to taste
1 mango, peeled and diced

In a large saucepan, heat the peanut oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic, onion, chili pepper, ginger, coriander, turmeric, and five-spice.  Cook 3-4 minutes until the onions start to soften.  Deglaze the pan with the mirin, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to incorporate all of the spices.  The mixture should currently resemble a thick sauce.  Add the curry paste, sweet potatoes, and cherry tomatoes.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often to coat all the vegetables with the spices and to dissolve the curry paste.  Add the coconut milk and cinnamon stick, and stir again to incorporate everything.  Simmer partially covered for 20 minutes.  At this point your cherry tomatoes should be soft and starting to pop.  Add the beans and cook another 10 minutes uncovered, stirring often.  If the mixture looks like it's sticking, add water 1 Tablespoon at a time.  The mixture will be very thick.  After 10 minutes, check to make sure the potatoes are cooked through (if not, cook for another few minutes until they are tender) and turn off the heat.  Remove the cinnamon stick.  Add the chopped mint and cilantro and stir to incorporate.  Taste for salt and add 1 teaspoon at a time if needed (the amount of salt you need will depend on the saltiness of your curry paste).
Serve with rice, flatbread, quinoa, rice noodles, or any other grain.  Top individual servings with 2 Tablespoons diced mango and additional cilantro.

Tips and Tricks:

1. Ginger - the easiest way to peel fresh ginger is with a spoon.  Cut a piece of ginger about the size of what you need, hold it under running water, and scrape away the skin with the side of the bowl of a spoon.  This will effectively remove the skin without wasting too much of the ginger underneath.  I also mince my ginger super-fine in a coffee grinder instead of with a knife.  This basically liquifies it into the sauce so the flavor is uniform throughout.

2. Salt - taste and add, taste, and add a little more.  I usually provide measurements for salt in recipes, as I believe it is an integral ingredient to making food taste good, but in this case the saltiness (or lack thereof) of your curry paste can affect how much you really need.  I used about 2 teaspoons in mine, but yours may vary depending on your brand of curry paste.  Remember, you can always add more, but you can't take away.  Taste, taste, taste!

3. Coconut milk - I almost always use reduced fat (I'm in my thirties now and try to take small steps to keep my weight under control) but either full fat or reduced is fine. 

4. If you don't want to add the mango garnish, you can make this without, but the mango is absolutely perfect with the flavors of this curry - sweet, juicy, and cooling against all that spice.  I encourage you to try it!

That's all for today, fellow ninjas.  More recipes to come - sunshine carrot muffins with blueberry filling, spicy horseradish fridge pickles (with fresh cucumbers and jalapenos from the ninja garden!), and white bean basil dip....I'll be posting quite a bit over the next two weeks as I heal from ankle surgery, so be on the lookout for more!

Also, if any of my readers have favorite vegan recipes, please go here here and submit them to an upcoming vegan cookbook published by Citizens United for Animals.  You can find their Facebook page here: Citizens United For Animals Facebook page.  And even if you're not a ninja-cook, show support and buy the cookbook - should be out sometime before the end of the year.  Fur Ninja has submitted some of my best recipes from the blog, so cross your fingers that I'm featured in the finished book!

Until next time then....

The Fur Ninja

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