Posts Tagged ‘thai basil’

Chickpea Red Curry with Coconut Milk

When trying to come up with this recipe, I came across many, many variations on chickpea curry dishes, some with yellow curry, some with potatoes or tomatoes, I saw a few that added in spinach or root vegetables. There really is a lot you can do. Because this was a weeknight dinner, I wanted to keep it simple and quick, so I went fairly basic. It really is a quick and easy meal (less than 30 minutes) and you only have to dirty one pot and your rice cooker. My Thai basil is still hanging on in the garden so I thought this would be the perfect dish to use it in. I also really love red curry, it is filled with so many fragrant aromatics like the lemongrass, ginger and red chilis. Red curry can pack a lot of heat, so taste as you go and add more or less depending on your love of spice. Play around with this recipe and the ingredients, I plan on making this often throughout the winter. It is hearty, spicy and perfect for the cooler weather. If you have never cooked with coconut milk, you need to, it is a highly underrated, tasty addition to so many dishes. Lastly, I cannot recommend enough serving this over jasmine rice, it is the perfect addition to this meal and the smell from the rice is one of my favorite smells in the whole world. Of course, brown rice or any other rice will do just perfectly.

Chickpea Red Curry with Coconut Milk
serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 25 ounce can organic chick peas, drained
2 tablespoons red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand)
1 can light organic coconut milk
Pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon Thai fish sauce (omit if you’d like to make this vegan)
Large handful of fresh Thai basil, chopped (regular basil will do if you can’t find Thai basil)

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and saute a few minutes before adding the garlic, then add the garlic and cook both until they just start to take on a bit of color, about 10 minutes. Add the red curry paste and coconut milk, whisk briskly to combine the paste with the milk. Bring the sauce to a simmer, taste and add more curry paste if it needs it. Add the chickpeas, a pinch of salt, fish sauce and half of your Thai basil, stir to combine. Allow the sauce to simmer for at least 15-20 minutes. If your sauce becomes a bit too thick for your liking, you can thin it a bit with vegetable broth.

Serve over jasmine rice and top with fresh Thai basil. Salt to taste, as needed.

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Thai Basil Mojito

I wish I could take credit for the idea of this drink, but I can’t. My dad dreamt it up after tasting the thai basil I had growing in my garden. The thai basil has a subtle anise flavor and is very different from Italian basil. This was a refreshing summer drink, that was perfect for a hot day and grilling out.

Thai Basil Mojito
serves 1

1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
a small handful of fresh thai basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon organic pure cane sugar (or 2 oz of simple syrup)
2 oz white rum
ice cubes
club soda

Place the lemon wedges at the bottom of a tall glass along with the basil leaves. Add sugar or simple syrup and muddle the mixture. Stir in the rum and top with ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and couple thai basil leaves.

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After a few weeks of travel, events and lots of work, life is finally getting a bit closer to normal for us. I have still been eating well and fresh, just a bit more rushed and with no time for blogging. I planned some great meals for the next week or so, and I cannot wait to share them with you.

I decided on this dish because the thai basil I planted in my herb garden has been growing wonderfully and I couldn’t wait to use it in something. It is so fragrant and has a hint of anise flavor. If you don’t have access to thai basil, you can use regular sweet basil, as well. But I recommend trying to get thai basil if you can.

I personally recommend pre-baking tofu when using it in stir fries and the like. The tofu keeps that crunch and has a much better texture than just cooking it up in the wok. The tofu made with recipe I included below can also be used over rice, in soups, salads and just as a snack. You can also add soy sauce, citrus juice, play with spices, etc.


Crispy Baked Tofu
1 – 14-16 ounce package of extra-firm tofu drained, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 450ºF. Arrange tofu cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle over sesame oil and lightly toss to coat, sprinkle with salt. Bake 30-35 minutes, turning with a spatula every 10 minutes to get a good crunch on all sides.


Spicy Thai Tofu and Peppers with Peanuts

4 servings
adapted from Bon Appétit June 2008

1/3 cup olive oil
2 large bell peppers, seeded, thinly sliced (I used 1 red and 1 orange)
3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
14-16 ounces of crispy baked tofu cubes
3 tablespoons low sodium gluten-free tamari soy sauce (regular soy will do)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
6-ounces organic baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup chopped fresh thai basil (you can use regular sweet basil, also)
1/3 cup lightly salted roasted peanuts

Heat oil in wok over high heat. Add bell peppers, ginger, and garlic; sauté until peppers just begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add green onions; toss 2 minutes. Add next 4 ingredients. Toss to blend, about 1 minute. Add spinach in 3 additions, tossing until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute for each addition. Mix in basil. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle peanuts over. Serve.

Can be served over brown rice, thin rice noodles, or alone.

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