From the Culinary Underground: Meatless Monday…or any other day

by susan on March 22, 2012

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This is the latest in an ongoing guest series brought to you by Southborough’s Culinary Underground. This week Chef Lori shares her take on a quick and healthy vegetarian dinner option.

This post brought the usual groans from the other instructors at CU – a noise that fall on my increasingly deaf and uncaring ears. Why are carnivores so threatened by the idea of giving up meat for even one meal?

Hey, I’m not a vegetarian but meatless meals call to me because I’m lazy and cheap. And I find vegetarian cooking more interesting these days –
maybe it’s an age thing. Anyway, in a contest between a spicy, Thai-inspired vegetarian dish versus an indifferent piece of boneless, skinless chicken, the veggie thing wins every time these days. And if you are observing meatless days this Lenten season, we offer something a little different.

This sweet potato curry requires a few special ingredients, but they are all easy to find in every grocery store and have a long shelf life in the pantry.
The Asian curry pastes vary in spiciness – yellow are the mildest, red are spicier, and the green ones are usually pretty mind-bending.

If you begin this meal with a few steamed vegetable gyoza, serve the curry over jasmine or brown rice, and finish up with a tangelo or fresh pineapple, you’ll have served an inexpensive, incredibly healthy meal. And that’s something to feel smug about.

Sweet Potato Curry
(4 servings)

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2” cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2” piece of fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoons canol oil
1-2 Tablespoons green or red curry paste
14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1-2 serrano chilies, sliced
3 Cups baby spinach, washed
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
Cilantro for garnishing

In a large skillet or wok, sauté onion, garlic, and ginger in oil on MEDIUM-HIGH heat until onion is soft. Add the curry paste and saute 30 seconds. Add the sweet potato, coconut milk, and sliced chilies. Mix well, cover, and cook for 5-8 minutes. Remove cover and stir in spinach until wilted. Stir in fish sauce and continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with cilantro and rice.

1 Lauren March 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Thanks for the recipe! As a long time vegetarian, and someone who tries to encourage friends and family to implement “vegetarian night” for health and environmental reasons, I think it is fabulous that you posted this recipe and would love to see more!!!

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