A lot of thought goes into a comfort food -- usually the secret ingredient is love and a little time, a dash of patience with just the right amount of grace and restraint. You stick to your intuition and stay within the boundaries and with the right hint of salt, you find that soothing balance that lingers in hearts for years to come.
This is one of those dishes.
Now I'm not Thai but have an avid addiction to their food -- the bold spices, the hot chiles, tempered with coconut milk and topped with fresh herbs, it's what our palates beg for. As Collin and I strive to eat more vegetarian and gluten-free meals this year, I find myself turning back to Asian foods for ideas and have been loving every single minute of it.
I used some rainbow carrots we grew from the garden as the "star" to the curry and as a result, cut them in generous pieces so they'd be more toothsome upon serving. I also added them later on in the cooking process so the flesh wouldn't disintegrate into the curry (unless you enjoy having soft vegetables, I prefer them just al dente.)
To save time, I used a pre-made curry paste and added a couple of my own spices to make the flavors bolder (and spicier) and used fresh ramen noodles as they contained less preservatives and colorings. You can also use a variety of vegetables -- potatoes, peppers, and even squash work well; I used oyster mushrooms, carrots and onions.
THAI GREEN CURRY RAMEN
Yields: 2-4 servings (printable recipe)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil or peanut oil
- Green Curry Paste (I used Asian Home Gourmet Thai Green Curry paste)
- 4 small green Thai chilies, OR substitute 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers
- 1/2 cup shallot OR purple onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 thumb-size pieces galangal OR ginger, grated
- 1 stalk fresh lemon grass, minced OR 3 Tbsp. frozen or bottled prepared lemongrass
- 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 3 tsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- salt to taste
- 1 small onion, large diced
- 2 cups carrots, large diced
- 2 cups oyster mushroom, large diced
- 1/2 can coconut milk
- 1/2 can water
- 2 kaffir lime leaves OR substitute 1 tsp. grated lime zest
- 1 package fresh Japanese ramen OR substitute dried ramen
- 1 cup bean sprouts, washed
- 2 radishes, washed and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- Generous handful fresh thai basil and cilantro, washed and dried
- Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl around, then add curry paste, chiles, shallots, garlic, ginger and lemon grass and diced onion. Sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add coconut milk and water. Bring curry to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer.
- Add the carrots. Cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Meanwhile bring a medium pot of water to a boil. This will be your cooking water for the ramen.
- Place ramen into boiling water and loosen the noodles, making sure they are evenly distributed. Cook until al dente, drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Add oyster mushrooms, lime leaves/zest, white pepper, and brown sugar to curry, stirring well to incorporate. Simmer another 5-10 minutes and add fish sauce and lime juice.
- Salt to taste and adjust flavors to your liking - adding more fish sauce to make it saltier, more sugar for sweetness, lime for acid and if it's too spicy you can temper it with more coconut milk.
- Place ramen into curry and turn off heat. Divide into bowls and garnish with fresh herbs, bean sprouts and shaved radish.
****** Feel free to add other ingredients like bell peppers, tofu, squash or sweet potatoes. And you can easily add meats to this curry like chicken, beef or shrimp.