Caribbean Corn and Pea Curry

So, I paid a visit to the Afro-Caribbean store in Southside the other day and picked up a plantain (I love plantains, like whoa) and what I thought was a sweet potato.  It looked sort of like a sweet potato, but it wasn’t marked.  I figured the worst it could be was a yam, and I could roll with a yam.

But when I skinned it and cut it open, I was in for a traumatising result.  I thought, ‘Hm, this might be a yam.’  And in the time it took me to exit the kitchen, enter the living room, say to Red, ‘I’m not sure it’s a yam, either’, and make it back to the kitchen, the not-yam had sprouted what can only be described as root-vegetable blood which had promptly turned a mouldy colour.  Horrifying.

So, I was left with a plantain. Excellent.

Tonight’s dinner was a lesson in ingenuity and good-pantry keeping.  And, to my very pleasant surprise, it ended quite tastily.

Corn and Pea Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe plantain (yellow), sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • Half a small tin of sweet corn
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2-inch ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Half a bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 50mL water, plus more as needed

Step One Heat oil in a big pot.  Add onion and sweat over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, and red chilli flakes and fry for an additional minute.

Step Two Add thyme, bay leaf and 50mL of water with a bit of salt.  Stir and cover the pot.  Turn the heat down to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Three Add the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine.  Add water as necessary to make the consistency just barely on the soupy side of not-sticky.  (I know this probably makes no sense.  Basically, make sure that the mixture isn’t sticky and burning onto the bottom of the pot, but don’t add so much water that your curry turns into a stew/soup.)  Turn up the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover.  Simmer for another 5-7 minutes.

Serve with/over brown rice.

Yields 2 servings

Next time I might make it with scotch bonnets instead of chilli flakes and call it Jamaican.

A Vaguely Asian Dinner

On the menu tonight are adapted ‘Thai’ recipes from various cookbooks I own.  I don’t know where these cookbook authors get off calling these things ‘Thai’, but they’re really nothing of the sort.  I might go as far as calling them Thai-ish, but I’m going to fairly describe this evening’s food festivities as ‘vaguely Asian’ but all-delicious.

First up, Thai-ish Black Bean Tofu Burgers with Peanut-Chive Sauce

Thai-ish burgers

Now,

a) I’ve never heard of a Thai hamburger.

b) There’s no mint OR basil in this, so I therefore don’t understand the Thai categorisation, but wevs.

c) The peanut sauce called for lemon juice instead of lime juice.  I had my suspicions about this but went ahead and followed its instructions.  It probably would have tasted slightly more Thai-like if I’d used lime instead.

d) There are rolled oats in there.  Since when have you heard of a Thai person waking up to nice steaming bowl of porridge?

Despite my qualms of mistaken regionalism, this was pretty tasty.  I obviously changed things around, quartered the recipe, and added and subtracted things as I saw fit. 

Burger Ingredients

  • 125g firm tofu, crumbled
  • half a regular-sized tin of black beans, drained and rinsed (230g is the regular size, so let’s say 115g of black beans)
  • About 30g rolled oats, uncooked
  • half a small red onion, diced finely
  • half a regular-sized carrot, grated
  • 1/2 an inch of ginger, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • vegetable oil for brushing
  • flour for dusting

(Yields 4 small-ish sized burgers.  This ended up being a huge serving for the two of us when served on buns.  It’s an approriate serving for two if you’re foregoing the buns.)

Step One In a mixing bowl, crumble your tofu.  Add the beans, oats, onion, carrot, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and pepper flakes.  Mash the hell out of everything until has formed a uniform consistency and generally holds itself together pretty well.  Add more oats and repeat aggressive mashing as necessary.

Step Two Mash everything down in a bowl and cut mixture into fourths.  Form each forth of the mixture into a patty.

Step Three Put some whole wheat flour on a dish.  Brush each side of all four patties with some oil.  Then dust the patties on both sides with the flour.  Place all four patties in an oven-safe dish.

Step Four (A) Preheat oven at 200C and bake for 10 minutes.  Flip patties and bake for another 10 minutes.  If your oven is as shit as mine, the underside still isn’t crispy by this point, so you’ll need to flip the patties once more and bake for another 10 minutes.

Step Four (B) While your patties are baking, make your peanut sauce below.

Peanut-Chive SaucePeanut-Chive Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • the juice of one lemon
  • a handful of chives, chopped
  • a couple swigs of soy sauce to taste

Mix everything together in a small bowl.  Voila.

Step Five Everything on buns.  Although, I personally thought the buns detracted/conflicted with the taste of the burgers and peanut sauce.  Hence the earlier Thai-people-don’t-eat-hamburgers comment.  Do what you want.  See if I care.

Served with Mung Bean Sprout and Corn Warm Asian-y Salad

Asian-y Salad

Going along with the disparate theme of the evening, I took some good ol’ Asian mung bean sprouts and added that delightful North American startch that everyone loves: corn.

Warm Asian-y Salad Ingredients

  • a bunch of mung bean sprouts
  • a small tin of corn
  • a small handful of red onion, diced
  • the juice of two limes
  • some grated lime zest
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • freshly ground pepper

Step One Warm up your mung bean sprouts, corn and red onion in a small pot.

Step Two Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.  Mix thoroughly.

Step Three Chuck the contents of the bowl into the pot.  Stir.  Warm through and/or cook until the red onions are cooked to your liking.  Some people really don’t like the taste of raw red onions.  I am not one of those people.  Me, I can hack the raw onion unlike you wussies.