Way back in the day when I was just a young doe-eyed 20 year old, my culinary experiences were, how you say, lacking. I think my idea of exotic food was getting Chinese food in the mall. Yeah, seriously, I’m not even exaggerating. Growing up in a small town didn’t leave me with many options and even our trips to the city resulted in us going to the same tried and true restaurants, with the number one contender usually being Swiss Chalet due to my dad’s love of that place. So when I moved to Calgary, a whole new world of gastronomic possibilities opened up to me, although, I’ll admit I didn’t exactly jump in. The thought of eating anything “different” back then was so beyond foreign to me that I pretty much refused to go anywhere other than your typical family-style American restaurants. I cringe at the crap I used to eat in my early 20’s, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that regards, amiright? Yeah, that’s right, I see you all out there adverting your eyes
It wasn’t until a friend invited us out for dinner that I got to try curry for the first time. We went to a Indian buffet at one of his favorite restaurant’s and when I saw all the different dishes I had one of those panicked “I don’t know what the hell to do!” moments. Luckily I let my friends go ahead and just did the whole monkey-see monkey-do thing and hoped that they knew what the hell that yellow stuff was. You’d think that this would be the part of the story where I tell you that I fell in love with curry that day, but nope, my taste buds were so beyond help back then that I actually hated it all. All those delicious spices and flavors caused my poor bland, salt dependent tongue to run away screaming. Looking back I want to slap my former self across the back of the head for not enjoying every bit of that amazing food, but I’m happy to say that (even though it took a couple years) I finally tried curry for the second time and freakin’ loved the stuff! Funny how that happens
Curry has now become both my comfort food and quick weeknight dinner food, it’s just so perfect! It’s so rich, creamy and delicious, plus you just sauté a couple things, throw in some more stuff and simmer, easy peasy, and this recipe is no exception. I’m pretty sure this is my new favorite curry, everything comes together super quick and with the addition of almond butter and coconut, it’s uber warming and deeply flavorful. I decided to use some red curry paste, mostly because I really like the flavor but ya gotta admit, it does give it a mighty pretty hue too Every brand is different, so add this stuff at your own risk, I used the Thai Kitchen brand, which is pretty mild, so adding 3 or 4 tablespoons really didn’t result in a face meltingly hot curry, but another brand might, and I wouldn’t want your pretty face to melt because of me, because melting faces just ain’t no fun.
I had a bunch of famers market potatoes and peas that needed to be used up, and that’s one of the reason I came up with this recipe, it’s totally one of those “whatever you have on hand” type meals. Some other good subs might be tofu, sweet potato, carrot, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli… you get where I’m going with this, lots of things would be good so be creative! Now I wouldn’t recommend throwing in, oh I don’t know, leftover pineapple, that might be weird……hmmm, or would it?
Serve this up with some brown rice and top with toasted cashews for super tasty yum times.
ALMOND COCONUT RED CURRY
Makes 6-8 servings
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 tablespoons red curry paste
- 2-3 medium yellow potatoes (about 3 cups), cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon no-chicken bouillon (I use Better Than Bouillon)
- 14-oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 400 ml can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 14-oz can chickpeas
- 1 cup peas
- 1/2 cup cashews or almonds, toasted
- Salt, to taste (I found it didn’t need any)
- Cayenne, to taste (optional)
In a large deep skillet over medium heat, add the oil and sauté onion until translucent, turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic, curry paste and potatoes, cook until the garlic has softened and the curry is fragrant. Add the no-chicken bouillon, tomatoes, coconut milk and almond butter and mix until everything is combined. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to a simmer.
Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the chickpeas and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes have softened and the mixture has thickened slightly. Give the mixture a stir from time to time to prevent sticking. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the peas. Serve with brown rice and garnish with toasted cashew or almonds.