Weeknight dinners. These are looking different than they did pre kids. I remember thinking that people with meal plans were inflexible and rigid but I understand the intrigue now. It’s far more efficient and I loooove efficiency. I see now that it does not have to be about creativity, or lack thereof, but rather reducing your market runs. So sensical, you meal planners. I stay pretty adaptable within my plan, but paused are the days of wandering multiple grocery stores grabbing whatever looks good. They say there is a season for everything. I repeat meals far more often than I used to and I take a handful of shortcuts but I am still fumbling through my days with the wee people at my feet (or on my hip and in the cupboards, more specifically). I plan for two easy staples, try two new things and then leave room for something impromptu, going out or having people over. There are usually burrito bowls with lots of grilled vegetables and avocado, a chopped salad night, something in a big pot like tortilla or lentil soup and we’ve started weekly grilled pizzas. It's simpler and that's alright. I have also taken to making more than we need so I am halfway through another meal. For example, the leftover rice and grilled portobellos from burrito night, get blitzed with a few other things in the food processor for veggie burger patties. I find it some sort of personal challenge to use what I have. Anyway, this curry was from one of my big pot situations and I just kept adding vegetables to stretch the great sauce. It is creamy, full of spices and there is just enough peanut butter for richness without making it a “peanut sauce” - I got that idea from the True Food cookbook. I am aware it is not authentic in any sense of the word but it makes for a flavorful bowl of food and a pretty quick dinner.
I don’t get asked frequently about kitchen equipment, but when I do, it is for my opinion on high powered blenders. They are quite expensive and take up a lot of cupboard real estate; I understand wanting to do your due diligence. But until KitchenAid® sent me their new ProLine® model, I actually didn’t own a blender. Well no, I have a NutriBullet which is great and has done everything I’ve needed in a blender, but that’s not the answer people are looking for. So much depends on what you use a blender for, I think. I smoothed this curry sauce in there and good gracious that thing is powerful. I knew I didn’t need to chop the garlic or ginger or worry too much about the size of my onions because the blender would take care of that. And as far making enough for two meals, this sauce was better the second day. I added another handful of vegetables, lentils and a bit more broth to stretch it with success.
This post was created in partnership with KitchenAid® and their new ProLine® Series Blender.
WEEKNIGHT VEGETABLE CURRY
The heat here will largely depend on your curry powder. I buy some from Penzey’s but know people are partial to paste versus powders as well. If you prefer paste, sub in about 1 tsp. red curry paste. Long as you use a sweet curry powder, the sambal oelek (chile paste) here should offer enough heat but adjust to your taste. You may add a pinch of cayenne if that is what you have. Taste as you good, I suppose.
1 Tbsp. ghee or coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 inch nub of peeled ginger
1 tsp. sea salt, to taste
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. muscavado or brown sugar
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 14-oz. can coconut milk
1/2 tsp. fish sauce, optional
3/4 cup canned, diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups coconut water or vegetable broth, as needed
1 tsp. sambal oelek (chile paste)
handful of cilantro and basil leaves
juice of one lime
14-ounce package of extra firm tofu, drained well
3 medium carrots, 1” thick sliced on a diagonal
2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, cut in 2” pieces
8 ounces mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
3/4 lb. snap peas, larger ones halved
cooked brown rice, for serving
whole milk yogurt and cilantro, for topping
In a dutch oven over medium heat, warm the ghee or coconut oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and salt and saute until softened but not browned. About 5 minutes. Add the cumin, curry powder, turmeric, muscavado or brown sugar and saute another minute. Add the peanut butter, coconut milk, fish sauce (if using), tomatoes and coconut water or broth and stir to mix. Let everything simmer on low for 15 minutes. Add the chile paste and cilantro and basil and transfer sauce to a blender. Run the blender until the sauce is smooth and then transfer it back to the pot. Stir in the lime juice. Taste for seasoning. It should be somewhat thick, but still thin enough that the vegetables will cook in it’s heat. Add broth or coconut water if needed.
Cut the tofu into 1” cubes and prepare all your vegetables. Add the carrots and shallot to the pot first and cook for 5 minutes, then add the tofu, bell pepper, mushrooms and snap peas and cook another 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are just tender but not mushy.
For serving, serve each bowl with a scoop of rice and a generous portion of vegetables and sauce. Garnish with whole milk yogurt and cilantro.