SAVORING the MOMENT

Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle

Monday

Coconut loves curry

I am quite fond of curry (previous visitors will have figured this out already). The spices of India show up frequently in my soups and sautes, and occasionally in my salad dressing and tea cup. One perfect partner for curry flavors in almost any dish is coconut milk, as Indian and Southeast Asian cooks have known forever.

Coconut milk has a bad rep with some people, I guess because it's high in fat. But the fat it delivers to our bloodstreams is not the evil kind and there are "light" versions out there. Plus, it doesn't take a lot of the wonderful stuff to add a slightly sweet flavor note and velvety texture to a sauce or soup.

Did you know you can freeze coconut milk? I generally cook for just the super-spouse and myself, and often don't use a whole can of coconut milk at one go. I discovered that it freezes just fine and can be added to a dish either frozen solid or thawed out so it returns to its liquid state.


The saute I made last night was another yum-gullion (for a definition of this silly term, see my post of 3/31, Brown Rice Redux #1). I had some tofu, a partial bunch of kale, half a red onion, half a bell pepper, and one last carrot in the fridge. Also some coconut milk in the freezer. So I just put all these things together (after dicing the tofu and veggies, of course) in a saute pan with a couple minced cloves of garlic and a hefty tablespoon of my homemade curry blend (you can use any commercial curry powder that suits your taste re: heat level). I added a little veggie broth to extend the coconut milk and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Would have added shiitake mushrooms if I'd had any on hand, but in the yum-gullion world we make do with what's there.

After about 10 minutes of simmering with lid on, the mixture had thickened and melded into a lovely, creamy, stew-like thing that went wonderfully well with the saffron rice I had cooked up. We liked it, a lot. Maybe you would, too.

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2 Comments:

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Nava said...

Hi Mindy,

I've been following your blog and love your photos; sorry I haven't commented yet—aside from all my food- and work-related activities, I'm facing the end of a very demanding grad school semester. I hope to contribute more to your comments in the near future. I'm a big fan of coconut milk. I like the organic light variety. It's so easy to make Thai-style stews with it—kind of whatever veggies are the fridge + tofu or tempeh + coconut milk + a bit of curry and garlic + a smidgen of red curry paste = a very good meal.

I also like to mix a little coconut milk, Thai peanut sauce and lime juice for a simple dressing that's good on salad or on noodles. Coconut milk is also delicious in soups. I just don't like soymilk in soups. To me, it gives a slightly sweet, "off" flavor, so I use either rice milk or coconut milk. And you are right, it freezes well.

 
At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there... I'm a student and I live alone so I dont use much coconut milk either, and I was just looking online to see if it was okay to freeze the rest... I'm glad to see that it is!! What do you freeze it in?? And also, is it okay to freeze foods containing coconut milk? Is there a rule of thumb about freezing foods?? Just wondering...

Thanks!

Sharon

 

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