Ahh, can you smell it? The aroma of spending quality time with food, truly appreciating its nourishment, and giving a big ol’ kick in the pants to the industries and governmental agencies that remain terrified of consumers gaining insight into the origins of their food (that’s actually the name of a perfume line I’ve secretly been working on)? Regrettably, the hecticness of college life has not proved conducive to the leisurely, wonderfully relaxing act of carefully crafting comforting vegan meals, nor has the laughable college student budget supported the impulse purchases of intriguing new ingredients.
The absence of the two aforementioned deeds, both necessary components of recipe experimentation, have contributed immensely to the exponential growth of my “Recipes to Try” Word document, as I haven’t crossed off a single recipe in quite some time now. However, with monumental excitement and gratitude, I finally cooked a satisfying, wholesome dinner with my like-minded dormmate, and could thus partake in a bout of recipe experimentation once more, this time with Sabrina’s Thai Green Curry with Spicy Sweet Brown Rice Balls.
Recipe: Thai Green Curry with Spicy Sweet Brown Rice Balls—Adapted from The Tomato Tart.
Tweaks to Original Recipe:
- Used one medium eggplant, a butternut squash, a large sweet potato, and five sunchokes instead of the veggies called for.
- Omitted the bamboo shoots.
- Substituted lemongrass for galangal.
- Added three large leaves of curly green kale and a can of garbanzo beans.
- Did not simmer the flaxseed meal and water–simply combined them in a bowl, as per usual.
- We thinly sliced the lemongrass and simmered it in the coconut milk along with the other spices, as the recipe instructs. However, the half-moons of the stalks proved quite tough and rather off-putting to chew in the finished dish. The next time I implement lemongrass in a recipe, I intend to halve the stalk, rather than slice it into small pieces, to infuse the dish with that mysterious citrus flavor before removing the two halves from the completed recipe, such as with a bay leaf.
- Heating the flaxseed meal and water is quite unnecessary. I’ve never before prepared flaxseed meal for use as a binder in this way and feel that it adds an ineffective extra step.
Despite these two minor setbacks, the curry turned out absolutely scrumptious, as proven by the “Mmm’s!” and “Wow’s!” of my three dormmates. The vegetables positively melted into the beautifully spiced coconut milk base while the brown rice balls formed a lovely crunchy crust to enclose their chewy interior. This recipe also served as my first experience using curry paste in a recipe, and I remain verily impressed with the results, since I’ve never before successfully recreated the distinct flavor of Thai food—curry paste seems key!
Local Ingredients: Sunchokes and kale from the Poughkeepsie Farm Project.
Comment Provoking Questions: Do you find the time to experiment with intriguing recipes? How do you feel about curry paste? What are your favorite recipes utilizing the ingredient?
Until next time, Ali.