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So, I’ve been experiencing a little guilt over my infrequent posting in the last few weeks.  It’s been hard to find time to write, as my fireman and I have had some time off that we’ve been using to travel down to the Bay Area to visit family that couldn’t make it to our Thanksgiving bash.

We had a great time, eating our way through Davis, where we ate Czech food at the restaurant where we had our first date; to San Francisco, where we ate decadent, Chicago style pizza with my Aunt and Uncle in Little Italy; to Redwood City, where we ate killer pot roast from my almost official Mother in Law; and all the way back home to Lake Tahoe, where the fridge was near empty.  Although, I did make my fireman stop at my favorite roadside stand to get some great Yolo County veggies on our way back home!

For me, this was certainly a ‘pantry-dependant’ meal, combining little bits of veggies that needed to be eaten with some staples that I usually keep on hand.  I was lucky to still have some green onions, limes, ginger and tofu in the fridge, which pair nicely with the curry paste I keep in the freezer.  I didn’t have any coconut milk, so this is a ‘jungle style’ thai curry; derived from the cuisine of inland Thailand where coconuts are less available.  What they say about ‘Necessity being the mother of invention’ certainly holds true in my kitchen!

Thai Tofu Jungle Curry– served with brown rice

Serves 2-3 – cost approx $.99 per serving

Ingredients

  • 12 oz brown rice – I just put it in a rice cooker as per the manufacturer instructions, use whatever rice you have on hand! ($.52)
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 carrots, sliced in thin half moons ($.20)
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced thinly ($.14)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thinly ($.12)
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs minced ginger
  • 1-2 Tbs minced jalapeno – optional depending on your spice tolerance
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly – separate the greens and the whites to use separately ($.25)
  • 1-2 Tbs Thai curry paste – whatever kind you like!  I make some home-made stuff, but some great curry pastes are available in most grocery stores.
  • 2 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs rice wine – use shao xing, mirin, or sherry, don’t use sake!
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 12 oz block of firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes ($.99)
  • 1 Tbs fish sauce
  • 1/2 lime’s juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves

As with any Asian cuisine, it’s really helpful to assemble and prepare all your ingredients before you start cooking.  I’m no Beni-Hana’s chef, I like to have all my little duckies in a row before I begin!

Proper preparation prevents poor performance!

Proper preparation prevents poor performance!

Start by heating the vegetable oil over high heat in a wok or large saute pan.  Add in the onion, carrot and celery and saute 1-2 minutes.  Next, add in the garlic, ginger, jalapeno and scallion whites, sate another 1-2 minutes.  Add in the curry paste and saute 1-2 minutes to open up the flavors in the curry paste.

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Add in the soy sauce, rice wine and vegetable sauce and bring to a simmer.  Add in the tofu and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes.  Check the flavor of the curry, and adjust the seasonings with some salt or soy sauce.  To finish the curry, add in the fish sauce and lime juice.  Serve the curry over rice and garnish with the scallion greens and cilantro leaves.

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