Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday night blues or when to make Green Vegetable Curry

Monday night blues or when to make Green Vegetable Curry


3 tablespoons green curry paste
1 can coconut milk
drop of vegetable oil
½ onion
2 small carrots
1 cup snow peas
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 small bok choy
1 Serrano pepper
fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon soy sauce
salt and pepper
Basmati rice

The best thing about Monday night is that Monday morning is over. That horrible moment when the alarm screams next to us and that second in which the realization kicks in that I have not forgotten to turn off my alarm on the weekend, but that it’s really time to get up... the full inbox of unread emails that wait for me at work and the idea of that long week ahead of me - by Monday night, all this is over.
I have successfully gotten up, coffee helped me over the first tired hours, my inbox is sorted and most emails replied to and the week ahead is only four days long now.
So for my dinner on a Monday night, I need something soothing and comforting, but also energizing and hopeful. Something quickly prepared so I can enjoy as much leisure time that evening, recreating that weekend feel of freedom. Luckily, the fridge is still bursting with fresh produce from my big weekend shopping trip two days ago, waiting to be diced, chopped and sliced.

Green vegetable curry it is, and because the veggies taste better the fresher they are, I am going to use up as many as I can, making a little extra food to go into the freezer to be heated up whenever neither my partner nor I feel like cooking. My latest gift to him was a Japanese Santoku knife, and ever since, he’s prancing around the kitchen playing Samurai. For me, the advantage lies at hand - I have a over-eager and willing human food processor! While I heat water for the rice and a few drops of vegetable oil in the dutch oven (one of the great loves of my life), he happily chops away the onion, which goes into the oil first, then the carrot, Serrano pepper, the peas and finally the bok choy.

Is this even cooking, slicing vegetables, throwing them into oil and boiling rice? Well, yes, after a while I add the coconut milk and some of the curry taste (best to start with a little and gently increase the spiciness), and stir the mixture, and season it with salt, pepper and the soy sauce and add the chopped cilantro. And yes, the order in which the stuff is added to the pot somewhat counts, beginning with releasing the sweetness of the onion and carrots first, then building onto those flavors with the Serrano pepper and finishing with the more “fragile” vegetables like the peas and bok choy.

The final big decision is whether to put the rice in with the sauce or serve it separately. For the later freezing of the leftovers, I prefer the former option, although I have to admit that it looks fancier to put rice and vegetables next to each other. To each their own.

Later as we sit on the balcony, enjoying the freedom of our Monday night, the delightful exotic treat and a glass of a crisp white wine, I can help but think “Life is good!”.

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