Saturday, January 1, 2011

Green curry is the BEST.

Confession:  I have a huuuge obsession with Thai green curry.  There's a restaurant around here called Bamboo Cafe that had some of the best green curry I've ever had.  And Sam and I once made this killer homemade green curry.  That stuff was so good, but a TON of prep work and it totally trashes your kitchen. Also the smell lingers forever... my ex insists that his coat this winter still smells like curry from when he came inside my apartment last year after I'd made it (he's prone to over-dramatization so somehow I have trouble believing curry smell lingers for a full year... but it does stick around for awhile).

Anyway, let's get real... there's not always time to make a really involved dinner and also I'm poor and also I'm lazy.  But I've found a way to make a perfectly satisfactory green curry quickly and on a budget.

Why is this relevant to running?  Well, I don't know really, but the new year may bring some vegan food posts as well.  But it's sort of relevant because people constantly rave about the positive benefits of coconut products (coconut oil, more specifically) for endurance athletes--Brendan Brazier puts coconut oil in a lot of his sports drinks/recovery drinks, for instance.  And coconut water is good for hydration--better than sports drink.   Coconut milk apparently has its advantages as well, and there's a can of it in most green curries.  So if I wanna engage in some green-curry gluttony I'm not going to feel too bad about it.  I also buy the lower fat coconut milk.  And for the record, coconut is pretty much my favorite smell and favorite flavor of anything.

Enter the magic:  this stuff.  I've bought a jar of the red curry paste before and hated it, but I think that's just because I hate red curry (how someone can hate red curry but love green curry, I have no idea, buuuut... yeah).  It's $2.50 at my local grocery store  and it's also clearly labeled vegan

Here is what you do to create deliciousness:
A grain of your choosing (brown rice, quinoa) or some rice noodles
1 package tofu
1 14-oz can coconut milk (i used lowfat)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. agave nectar or some other sweetener
This magical jar of curry paste--you will use 1-3 Tbsp.
vegetables that might be good in curry (I used a package of baby bella mushrooms, cut into quarters, a red bell pepper, and arugula--I know, weird)
1 or more hot peppers (I used a serrano but it wasn't hot enough for my liking)
fresh cilantro or basil if you wanna feel fancy

  • Start making brown rice, quinoa, noodles, or whatever you want.
  • Sautee the tofu in a large skillet in either coconut oil (if you keep the temp low) or olive oil.  
  • When the tofu looks slightly brown, add the mushrooms and any other veggies you're putting in that you don't want to be hard and crunchy.  I kept my peppers out until the end because I like them crunchy.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and add the curry paste, soy sauce, hot pepper, and sweetener--let it simmer for a bit (10 mins?)  Taste it and see if you want to add more curry paste or sweetener.
  • Add the rest of the veggies and stir.
  • Serve it up!  I put brown rice in the bowl, then a big pile of arugula and poured the curry over it so the arugula would wilt.
For coming sort-of from a jar, this is really good.  It's not as potent as the fresh stuff we made, and it doesn't have that subtle heat-building effect that the curry from Bamboo Garden has... but the flavor is nice.  Man, I love green curry.

In unfortunate news at this very moment after writing this post, I just realized that while the ingredients are normal, innocuous, and seemingly not heavily processed, the sodium content on my beloved curry paste is through the roof... 550mg for 1 Tbsp.  If you put one Tbsp in and then eat half of what it makes, I guess that leaves you around 225mg, which still isn't great. I just put 2.5 Tbsp in mine so I'll probably have a sodium-related coronary tonight now.  In the future I think I'll stick with 1 Tbsp and then add some of my own fresh ginger to pump up the flavor.  For how rarely I eat sodium-filled packaged foods, though, now and then probably isn't going to kill me.

Make curry!  It's awesome. 


  1. I love sodium. Sodium overdose is my biggest problem.

  2. Oh yes--thanks for your comment on my previous post about water retention, too... I hadn't really thought about that. I don't think I was eating much salt while visiting family because my dad has a blood pressure problem and my mom keeps salt out of pretty much everything... but I have no idea. I certainly eat my share of salt normally... I've even been known to eat it directly out of the shaker :\

    Also, your blog is awesome--I'm a follower now :D

  3. Actual laugh out loud at your sodium induced coronary! Well, hopefully not at an actual coronary. Just the joke.. FWIW though I think if you generally don't eat much processed food then you can get away with some stuff that's got an unusually high content. I think the same with saturated fat. Some is good, too much is bad, but as a vegan I think you can afford to go a little crazy with the coconut milk without worrying!

    I for one would love to see some more vegan food posts. A good runner is a well fuelled runner, so I think it's pretty much directly relevant. Plus I could do with some ideas. Quinoa with curry is something I had never thought of, for example!

  4. So, you like green curry then? You didn't *quite* make that clear! :P

    I'm going to have to buy me a jar to see if I become a green curry lover too! I've tried the red one and it was OK.

    Thank you so much for all your fauxfee tips! What you said actually helped a lot, because I do like my coffee with a hint of sweet. So Teeccino might be a winner for me! I particularly like the fact that it's brewed like coffee, so my morning ritual would be restored!

    The Macafe sounds interesting. You cracked me up with the "a big cup of burned" thing! Heehee! Maybe I will ask if they will send me a sample, just in case I also find that it tastes like a big cup of burned! :D

    Thanks again!