Sunday, February 3, 2008

Thai Curry with Spelt-Basmati Rice

A couple of years ago shortly after going vegan I took a trip to Thailand. I was shocked by the fact that in tourist restaurants they seemed to offer meat only, and thrilled when I found a little eatery that had vegetarian options on their menu, most of them vegan. There I had some of the most flavorful dishes I ever tasted.

Fast forward: Some months ago I was browsing the shelves of an Asian supermarket in the nearby city and stopped dead when I saw a vegan Tom Ka paste. Lovely. I've been cooking not a soup but more of a curry based on this, and both the husband and I really have to fight this urge to lick our plates after dinner... This curry is pretty heavy on Chinese cabbage, but then again Chinese cabbage contains loads of calcium.

As for the rice: I've recently discovered that brown rice when cooked tastes as good as white rice, only it contains so much more that is good for you. And my latest discovery: adding a few spelt kernels to the rice is an awesome thing to do. I love the crunch the spelt adds, not to mention the added nutrients. All in all this was one nutrient-packed Sunday lunch. Um, have I mentioned it was yummy?

Thai Curry with Spelt-Basmati Rice

1 large king trumpet mushroom (eryngii) (approx. 4 ounces), sliced
7 ounces extra firm tofu cut into 1/2" pieces
1 14ounce can light coconut milk (or coconut water to make it fat-free)
1/2 cup water

1 dry red chili (or a lot more, depending on how spicy you like it)
2 bay leaves
2-3 tblsp vegan Thai tom-ka paste
spice mix, containing galangal, lemongras, kaffir lime leaves, coriander root

1 small Chinese cabage (approx. 1 pound), cut into bit-sized pieces
1 1/2 cup shiitake, stems trimmed, sliced

splash of lime

Bring the coconut milk together with the water and the spices to a boil. Add the tofu and the sliced trumpet mushrooms. Let simmer for a few minutes so the mushrooms can soften and the tofu can absorb the flavors. Add the remaining ingredients, simmer for a few more minutes. Adjust spices, add a splash of lime. Done.

I bought the spice mix ready assembled in a bag, it's called Tom-Ka spices. I bet their fresh counterparts will give this curry even more flavor but here in Smalltown, Germany, I consider myself lucky finding dried exotic spices. So if you get a chance to buy fresh galangal, lemongras, kaffir lime leaves, and coriander root you should definitely go for the fresher taste.

1 1/2 cup organic, fair-trade, brown basmati rice
1/2 cup spelt (leave out to make it gluten-free)
4 cups water

I cooked the rice in my rice cooker, ignoring the water marks and using 2 cups of water for every cup of brown rice.

Serves two.

Bonus pic: Look at this beauty! This is the orchid my brother gave me for christmas. Lucky me :-)

Gluten-free depends on the use of gluten-free ingredients.
Fat-free depends on the use of fat-free ingredients.


Rachel said...

Mmm, that looks great. I really want to try my hand and Thai food, but I'm a little intimidated.

Anke said...

Hi rachel, I first tried my hand on Thai dishes only with their ready-made pastes and sauces. Partly because I cannot come by most of the fresh spices. It is really easy: a bunch of fresh veggies and Thai seasonings. You should try it, it is so different from Western cuisine and soooooo delish :-)

Vaishali said...

Anke, the curry looks awesome, and I love the idea of adding spelt kernels to the rice. What a great way to add even more nutritive value AND taste to a dish! I'll definitely try that. Thanks!

Happy Herbivore said...

beautiful orchids! I've always wanted to try spelt-basmati rice! now I have a recipe and a reason!!