Sunday, September 7, 2008

Curry In A Jar

As you can tell by the lack of updates around here lately, things in my life have been a bit hectic. With my move to Toronto and the start of a new school year, I've been busy running around the city, unpacking and just getting myself back into the rigid routines of school life. That's not the only reason; unfortunately, I'm still without internet at home (sigh...), which also accounts for my lack of updates. But rest assured, it's not because I've disappeared or have given up on this blog. That is far from the case! It's just that updates will be slow in the coming weeks with the busy schedule and the lack of internet.

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Being in Toronto, I'm now fortunate to be steps away from many great produces and specialty stores. Toronto is home to one of the most popular and famous farmer's market in Canada, St. Lawrence Market. Open every Saturday starting at 5 am, the market features many different stalls of vegetables, baked goods, meat and poultry and other specialty goods, all locally grown and raised. Thai curry is so simple to make when you're starting with with a pre-made paste. Granted, it's the "cheater's" way, and it certainly won't be as delicious if you made your own curry paste from scratch. But it's a great alternative, and also a great idea to keep a jar of ready-made curry paste on hand in your cupboard for an easy, quick-fix meal that'll be ready in minutes.

With all the vegetables I picked up at the market, I decided to put together a quick supper of Thai Red Curry with the vegetables that I bought, along with some beautiful jumbo shrimps. I simmered a can of coconut milk with 2 tablespoons of red curry paste (feel free to use green curry paste if you prefer that!) for about 10 minutes, adding cauliflower, carrots, zucchini and red peppers during the cooking process, along with two bay leaves. When the vegetables were just about done, I added the jumbo shrimps for the last five minutes of cooking. Right before serving, sprinkle it with some chopped coriander and Thai basil leaves (or regular basil), if preferred, and serve with steamed rice.

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What I love about curry is its versatility. You can take just about anything you have lying in your fridge and throw it into a curry. It can be completely vegetarian, with loads of fresh veggies, chickpeas or tofu, or you can use a variety of different meats like beef, pork, chicken, fish and seafood. Curry paste is also great to have on hand to make a great sauce, or to marinate meats for grilling or baking. If you do decide to go the ready-made paste route though, try to find a brand that is reliable and a bit more authentic. I used the Thai Kitchen brand, a product from Thailand, and the flavours were quite similar to some of the Thai curries I would have eating out. They're easily available at any supermarket now, so take a look the next time you're out grocery shopping!


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