With the return of chilly temps comes the desire necessity for slow cooking, and making comforting foods. Stews top the list, for obvious reasons.
With so many options available you could probably do a different one each week, straight through to spring – without duplication. This recipe could accommodate all manner of your fave vegetables. And of course it would lend itself well to include chicken, or seafood such as shrimp.
For this instance, I went with veg… and veg only. Why, would I, you ask, when I live within walking distance of one of the best meat purveyors around, would I do this..??? Because – I could. That and I just happened to have a good deal of veg in the fridge, from recent shopping trips. In full confession mode, I make like an Italian… shopping pretty much daily for food stuffs. Julia Child in all her fascinating glory, referred to it as ‘marketing’ in her early videos. Call it what you will, I LOVE IT. Those that know me well, know I’d much rather shop for food than anything else.
I’ve made this with both canned coconut milk, and creamed coconut that comes in a packet, with the clear favourite by far, being the former. No contest. The milk gives a smooth texture, which I preferred, while the creamed coconut has itty-bitty-flakes – which to me took away from the smooth appeal of the sauce. As for the creamed coconut… perhaps I’ll try it in cooking rice.
Sweet Potato & Chickpea Thai Curry
This easy to put together dish is so vibrant with interesting flavours, it’ll soon become one of your faves. A great addition to your meatless Monday repertoire, it’s also über good-for-you and vegetarian. Vegan even, if you omit the fish sauce. Like most stews, it gets better as it sits in the fridge. Use the milder yellow or hotter green Thai curry paste, as you prefer.
1 TBSP oil, olive or canola
1/2 medium onion, diced small
1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1” piece ginger, peeled & grated
1 bell pepper, red or green, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
1 can coconut milk
Water, same amount as coconut milk
1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained (or equivalent cooked from dried)
1 TBSP Thai red curry paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1 TBSP brown sugar
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
2 discs frozen spinach OR
1 cup frozen peas, added in the last few minutes of cooking
Place a dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat, add the oil and cook the onion for approx. 5 minutes, until starting to soften.
Add the sweet potato, season with a sprinkle of salt & pepper and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic, ginger and bell pepper, cook for one minute – until fragrant.
Add the coconut milk, water, chickpeas, curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar and further sprinkle of salt & pepper – bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until all the vegetables are soft. Don’t worry if it’s a little soupy – it will thicken as it stands, plus you want it saucy. Add frozen spinach or peas in the last few minutes of cooking. Fantastic served over rice.