Special Dish for the Week: Eggplant and Shiitake Mushroom Curry

Staying in Thailand for this week’s Special Dish for the Week again, with fond memories of my travels there with my good friend who enjoys delicious and interesting food almost as much as I do, I prepare:

Eggplant and Shiitake Mushroom Curry

Eggplant and Shiitake Mushroom Curry

Eggplant and Shiitake Mushroom Curry

I start off with preparing the base components of this dish: Jasmine brown rice and red lentils, for the protein, fibre, and other nutrients.

While these cook, I loosely follow a recipe, and sautée grated garlicred Thai curry pastered Thai chili pepper, chopped cilantro stems in some coconut oil, releasing their flavours and intermingling them.

Next, I cut into bite size pieces a couple of light purple Chinese eggplants, a bunch of soaked overnight shiitake mushrooms, and an orange pepper. I stir fry these with the sautéeing spices, adding the mushroom water for added flavour and to keep the veggies moist.  I then season the dish with some salty fish sauce, sweet maple syrup, and fragrant kaffir lime leaves.

When the veggies are heated through and softened slightly, I add coconut milk, and when that heats up, Thai basil.

Eggplant and Shiitake Mushroom Curry Dish

Eggplant and Shiitake Mushroom Curry Dish

Serving the Thai curry over the Jasmine brown rice and a side of red lentils, I garnish the dish with more chopped cilantroThai basil leaves, and the juice of half a key lime. I enjoy these with a glass of undetermined-grape red wine, which was gifted to me and tastes rather flavourful. Another successful and enjoyable meal, which I get to enjoy for my lunches during the week as well!

Meal ideas & recipes from “International Thai Cooking: Authentic Thai Food” book acquired during my 2009 Southeast Asia travels.

Special Dish for the Week: Pineapple Curry with Prawns and Tofu

In keeping with my latest theme of spicy food during my Book Writing Retreat 2014 Barra de Navidad in Mexico, I travel in my Special Dish for the Week to another continent that also prizes itself on spice, and I prepare a spicy-sweet Thai dish:

Pineapple Curry with Prawns and Tofu

Pineapple Curry with Prawns and Tofu

Pineapple Curry with Prawns and Tofu

Loosely following a recipe, I sautée grated garlic and ginger in some coconut oil, together with red Thai curry pastered Thai chili pepper, chopped cilantro stems and coarsely chopped sweet onion.

While these are releasing and mingling together their flavours, I coarsely chop an orange pepper, slice some canned pineapple, and cube some organic tofu. Meanwhile, my Jasmine brown rice is cooking in my rice maker and my shrimp are defrosting. Continuing to prepare my curry, I add the fruit, veggies and protein, along with coconut milk and several kaffir lime leaves to the wok, and let them all heat through.

Pineapple Curry with Prawns and Tofu Dish

Pineapple Curry with Prawns and Tofu Dish

I serve the curry over the Jasmine brown rice, and garnish it with a generous pinch of chopped fresh cilantro. From my customised Special Dish for the Week wine glass, received for Christmas from my good Hamburgerin friend, I sip some Pinot Blanc, for a change. And after the spicy-sweet curry, my sweet tooth cannot resist a morsel of baklava for dessert.

Meal ideas & recipes from “International Thai Cooking: Authentic Thai Food” book acquired during my 2009 Southeast Asia travels.

Special Dish for the Week: Thai Ginger Tofu with Oyster Mushrooms and Swiss Chard

Keeping with last week’s Thai cuisine theme, I go even spicier for this week’s Special Dish for the Week:

Thai Ginger Tofu Stir-Fry with Oyster Mushrooms and Swiss Chard

Thai Ginger Tofu Stir-Fry with Oyster Mushrooms and Swiss Chard

Thai Ginger Tofu Stir-Fry with Oyster Mushrooms and Swiss Chard

In place of chicken, which the original recipe calls for, I use likewise iron-containing tofu, which I thinly slice and marinade over night in the fridge in toasted sesame seed oil and garlic.

I begin the stir-fry by sautéeing sliced onion and chopped shallots in coconut oil. I add chopped cilantro stems to the base as well.

Next, I thinly slice fresh organic ginger, and red and green spicy spur chilies. I add these into the stir-fry, along with chopped stems of Swiss chard (for more iron) and roughly chopped tomato (for some vitamin C). A little water added to the stir-fry begins to make a spicy sauce.

The marinated tofu enters next, now mixing the stir-fry more carefully to maintain the integrity of the thinly sliced tofu. Firm tofu works well for this. Chopped Swiss chard leaves and oyster mushrooms join the party in the wok once the tofu is warmed through.

To balance the flavours, I add a tablespoon of salty fish sauce, one of sweet maple syrup, and several of creamy coconut milk that helps take the edge off (but just barely) the spicy spur chilies.

For added protein, in addition to the tofu, I serve the Thai stir-fry over jasmine brown rice layered with kidney beans, which also add more iron to this dish. Naturally, I garnish with more fresh cilantro. On a still-warm late summer evening, I enjoy this dish with a glass of Chardonnay. And for dessert, the pecan square from the local farmers market awaits.

Meal ideas & recipes from “International Thai Cooking: Authentic Thai Food” book acquired during my 2009 Southeast Asia travels.

Special Dish for the Week: Pineapple Shiitake Thai Curry with Shrimp and Chickpeas

With fond memories of my 2009 Southeast Asia travels with a good friend, I return to Thai cuisine for this week’s Special Dish for the Week:

Pineapple Shiitake Thai Curry with Shrimp and Chickpeas

Pineapple Shiitake Thai Curry with Shrimp and Chickpeas

Pineapple Shiitake Thai Curry with Shrimp and Chickpeas

The usual suspects of base seasoning: garlic, ginger, and red Thai chili pepper, meet in a sizzling mélange of organic virgin coconut oil with green Thai curry paste, and chopped stems of cilantro and Thai basil. The stir-fry of these spices is occasionally doused with the water in which the shittakes have been soaking. Kaffir limes are tossed in to begin the release their specific Thai citrusy flavour and scent.

Currently in search of more sources of iron for my diet, I use the vitamin-C-containing pineapple and heme-iron-containing shrimp of the original recipe to help with absorption of the non-heme-iron in the chickpeas.

The soaked and sliced shittake mushrooms introduce a meaty texture into the dish, while the coconut milk provides the creaminess that binds this dish together while balancing the spiciness of it.

Final seasoning of contrasting sour tamarind, sweet maple syrup, and salty fish sauce balances the base flavours, while the cilantro and Thai basil leaves add the aromatic element.

Serving the Thai curry over the plain but flavourful and textureful jasmine brown rice, I enjoy this dish with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. After, I indulge in 3 squares of mint dark chocolate.

Meal ideas & recipes from “International Thai Cooking: Authentic Thai Food” book acquired during my 2009 Southeast Asia travels.