Thursday, August 23, 2012


Mark and I have a date night tradition that means we go almost exclusively to our favorite Thai restaurant, Thep Thai.

When money is REALLY tight, we go just to share an order of basil rolls (glass noodles, scrambled egg, lettuce, carrots, fresh basil, and one shrimp each, wrapped in a thin rice sheet and served with peanut sauce and spicy shiracha sauce).  They are divine.

Recently we took on the adventure of making our way through the "Curries" section of the menu (after an appetizer of basil rolls, of course).  We liked some, found others too hot for us, and disliked the one that tasted like soap (though I'm sure it's good if that's the variety of curry you like)!

Then it occurred to me that I could make the perfect curry for me at home!  I am very impressed with myself as this is not the sort of ethnic food that one thinks to make at home.  Have you ever made egg rolls at home?  (Shush up if you're the one person who has and let me have my point.)

I searched around on the internet and found a recipe for "Vegetarian Korma" that I modified based on other readers' comments and my own whims.  I think it's a bit unfair to so conspicuously label it "vegetarian" as this could scare off some would probably never miss the meat if they didn't focus on the absence of it!

What amazes my most (beyond how INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS this is!) is how many spices are in it!  How can something NOT be wonderful with the skillful combination of a dozen exotic flavors?

Here's the spice list:
garam masala (which I would have put in if I could find a place to buy it)
(also: does olive oil count too? And coconut milk?)

That comes to AT LEAST 12 spices!

This dish is very easy to make I love that it is also very inexpensive to make (skip the cashews at $5.96+ a can and you can cut the cost in HALF).

tomato paste        .62
coconut milk      1.48
sweet potatoes   2.00
carrots                 .68
cilantro                .98
garbanzo beans   .88
onion                  .30
ginger                 .15
Total                7.09 (+ tax)
(Plus spices that you probably already have in the cabinet and any veggies, protein, or rice you might want to add in though I did not so I can keep it on my "Cheap Recipes" (under $10) list and make it frequently (I don't miss them anyway).  The recipe serves around six which makes it around $1.25 per serving.

I also love that this dish is very healthy!  It contains: carrots, sweet potatoes, tomato paste, garbanzo beans, other assorted/changeable vegetables, ginger and many healthy spices (as listed above).  In fact, other than the salt (which it really does need) there's nothing in it that's not good for you!  It is shown with white rice in the photo but I prefer brown rice for both taste and nutrition.  However, I don't eat it with rice because I don't want the carbs or the bulk (and I'd rather just eat more of the Korma!).

Here's my version:

Annie's Indian Korma
(serves six-ish)

4 carrots (sliced)
2 sweet potatoes (cubed)
1 can garbanzo beans
1 small (8 oz.) can tomato paste
1 can coconut milk ("light" if available)(or you can use evaporated milk,  fat free evaporated milk, or even
        heavy cream depending on dietary preferences and availability)
1/4-1/2 onion (diced)
1-2 cloves garlic
1Tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or 1-2 teaspoons powdered ginger)
2 teaspoons salt (don't skimp on this)
2 teaspoons curry
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
2 jalapenos (diced)
1/2-1 bunch fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
(Optional: add tofu, chicken, other vegetables, and white or brown rice as desired.)

Preboil the carrots and sweet potatoes while you are preparing everything else.  In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil.  Add in ginger.  Add remaining ingredients (mix the chopped cilantro in or put it on top before serving -- whichever you prefer).   Stir and cook for about ten minutes or until you think its done!  Enjoy!

I hope you will try this dish!  You will be glad you did and harbor eternal gratitude to me for the recipe!

Next, I need to learn to make basil rolls at home!

Now I am REALLY glad there are leftovers and I am going to go eat LOTS now!  Bye!

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