Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Curry A Day...

As I recoup back here in NYC and await my knee surgery, I have time to test out some new recipes – a little re-organizing of the kitchen and I can sit and do my prep.

My mind is wandering though lately, the sense of wanderlust and adventure creeping back in… I found myself in Union Square, standing in the middle of a pedestrian/taxi/bike-messanger traffic jam, thinking how nice it would be if the concrete would just simply melt into sand, and the glut of people and taxi’s were instead schools of brightly colored tropical fish. I imagined, all too vividly, slipping into the warm, crystalline waters of the Caribbean

But the blazing of taxi horns and the smell of exhaust ripped my cruelly back into reality...

I’ve heard rumors that I can buy canned callaloo here in the city, not too keen on canned, but then a friend told me that she saw fresh callaloo at an ethnic market in Queen’s. This rumor definately warrants further investigation...

It doesn’t look like I’ll be making it back to the boat world this season, which is incredibly frustrating, but it’s giving me plenty of time to research new recipes. Perhaps by satiating my taste buds with sufficiant varieties of Caribbean and other ethnic foods I can quelle my growing restlessness until, once again, I can head to bluer waters...

I found Christophine in the market in Brooklyn China Town the other day. Here in the States it is called Choyote squash, but doesn’t really resemble a squash at all. Its taste and texture are a cross between cucumber and kohlrabi. I bought some and made tangy Thai pickles out of them to go with my curry – they worked really nicely and were much crispier than using cucumbers.

Christophine/Choyote Squash:



If you happen to find them in the store, no matter how you plan on preparing them, just remember to peel them first. And peel them under running water or you will get a serious rash all over your hands! In the Caribbean, they are often steamed and mashed with ginger and coconut milk or served raw in salads.

Here are the recipes for the Christophine Pickles and Coconut Thai Curry.

Tangy Thai Christophine Pickles:

2 Christophine, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 Cup Hot Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Shallots or 1/2 Red Onion, very thinly sliced (best using a mandalin)
1 Fresh Red or Green Thai Chili, thinly sliced

Combine hot water, sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Add vinegar and allow to cool to room temperature. In a large bowl add Christophine, Shallot and Chilies and pour over cooled vinaigrette. Chill at least 24 hours and serve cold. The Christophine hold up much better than cucumber and get better the longer they are pickled - I made mine four days ago and they just keep getting better, but I have no idea how long they will last (or if I can keep myself from eating them to find out)...


Thai Coconut Curry

2 Tablespoon Veggie Oil
1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Garlic
2 Tablespoon Red Curry Paste
2 Cups Coconut Milk
2 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Teaspoon Curry Powder
2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/3 Cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Optional:

1 Package Thick Fried Tofu
2 Small Carrots, Thinly Sliced
½ lb. Baby Bok Choy, Thinly Sliced (almost any veg will do)

Or:

1 lb. Boneless Chicken Thighs, cubed

Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add curry paste and stir. If using chicken, add and cook 1 to 2 minutes. If using carrots or other thick veg that needs time to cook, add now (Bok Choy or other veggies that don’t require as much cooking time can be added after other ingredients so as not to overcook). Stir until meat/veg is combined with curry paste. Add coconut milk, chicken broth, curry powder, soy sauce, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer. (Add chicken and simmer until cooked through or add any remaining veggies and cook until veggies are done). Stir in lime juice.

Serve with jasmine rice, thin rice noodles or thick Chinese egg noodles. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

2 comments:

Claudia said...

Just arrived home (Kentucky) from a winter in the Caribbean. Actually found Christophenes at Whole Foods on our way home (our boat is in Ga. so from GA to here takes us thru Marietta, GA and Ahhhh Whole Foods!) The boat we were on is on the hard in St.Lucia) So. The first time we had Christophenes was in Les Saintes, it was boiled & mashed with butter, good. Will try here tomorrow for #1 son's birthday dinner. Like your post. ciao.

Wayward Chef said...

Thanks Claudia! Yeah, now I cook them whenever I find them - they're so yummy... Glad to see that they are catching on. Mmm, Les Saintes is probably one of my favorite places in the Caribbean. Shhhh, don't tell anyone... ;o)

 
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