Red Lentil Coconut Curry

We got home at 5:30 p.m and my daughter promptly asked me what was planned for dinner. I honestly had no clue. My mind was drawing a blank. The kids had pasta last night. Couldn’t do that again. I knew that they would object to fish or meat tonight. I wasn’t in the mood for a fight. What to do, what to do. I didn’t want to pull out the fish sticks or soy nuggets. I only use those when I have no options.

I quickly threw on some rice to cook. That’s easy enough. I then thought back to earlier today and the yummy smells of thai food that my coworkers ordered. Yummy coconutty curry smells. I had to do something with that! I quickly put together a makeshift red lentil curry dish. Packed with protein and amazing flavors. This recipe can easily be played with and adapted. Add whatever veggie you see fit to the dish. Totally fit the craving bill for today!

Red Lentil Coconut Curry

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped

1.5 tbsp. ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
.5 cup red pepper, chopped
.5 cup green pepper, chopped
1 small potato, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
handful of mushrooms, chopped
1.5 tbsp. curry powder
red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups dry red lentils
1 can coconut milk
3.5 cups vegetable broth

In a large pan, saute the onion, garlic, and ginger over a medium-high heat.

Add in the chopped veggies and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the spices and stir.
Stir in the coconut milk. Add in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Cook until the lentils are done, around 30-40 minutes. 
Add more salt or cayenne to taste. 
Serve over basmati rice. Jasmine rice would also work.



Thai Beef + Veggies + Coconut Rice = Yummy!

I love Thai food. If I knew how to insert a heart symbol, I would insert it somewhere into this sentence. Did I mention I love Thai food? Somehow when you throw in fish sauce, lime juice, sriracha, and basil into a dish – magic happens. For real! Try it sometime!

I am not a ground beef fan or a Martha Stewart fan, but I came upon this recipe that intrigued me. Thai ground beef over coconut rice sounded good. It was also looked easy enough that I was able to amp up the flavor and stretch the ingredients to make it work for us. I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, plus some veggies that I thought would only add to the dish. If you want, you could substitute tofu, turkey, or soy crumbles in place of the cow.

For the Coconut Rice:

2 cups jasmine rice
1 can coconut milk
1.5 cups of water

Put the rice, milk, water, and salt in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and cover. Cook until the liquid is absorbed.

For the beef dish:

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tbsp ginger, chopped
2 chili peppers, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
10 oz. container mushrooms, sliced
snowpeas – a bunch
chinese broccoli, choped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
baby corn, sliced
scallions, chopped
red pepper flakes
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sriracha
1 tsp. sugar
chopped basil
lime wedges

Combine the fish sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, and sugar in a small bowl. Let it sit for a bit.

Add oil to your wok and add the garlic, ginger, onion and chilis. Cook for about a minute. Add the meat and brown it. Add in the vegetables and cook some more. Add in the tomatoes. Add in the fish sauce mixture, chili flakes, and the basil. Cook a few more minutes.

Serve this over coconut rice with a good, healthy squeeze of lime juice. It’s soooo good! You will want to keep eating and eating this dish. I wish I had doubled this recipe – it was that good.

Pad See Ew for You!

I love Vietnamese food first and foremost, but good Vietnamese is not as prevalent on the East Coast (surprise, surprise) as it is back home in Minnesota. So I have moved over to Thai food. Thai food is abundant in my corner of the world, and a good meal along with a good deal can be found fairly easily around these parts. One of my favorite noodle dishes at Thai restaurants is Pad See Ew. It is one of those dishes, that in my opinion, is the test factor as to whether or not the restaurant is worthy of my business. That dish more so than the Pad Thai. It is really basic comfort food, tastes great, and is very easy to make.
Pad See Ew

vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 eggs
1 container extra firm tofu, or seitan
2 tablespoons dark/black soy sauce
1 bunch Chinese broccoli, chopped
1 pound wide rice noodles
fish sauce

scallions for garnish

Make sure you have all your ingredients ready to go, as this dish cooks fast.

In a bowl, pour boiling water over the rice noodles. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large skiller. Add a drop of the oil. Beat some eggs into the hot oil. Scramble and set aside.

In the same pan, toss in your garlic. Add a drop more oil. Toss in your protein – tofu/seitan/dead animal option.

Toss in the Chinese Broccoli. Cook, stirring to get all the veggies cooked and in there. Strain your noodles and add to the pan. Stir and stir some more. Stir in the dark soy sauce. Stir in a tablespoon or so of the fish sauce. Stir in the scrambled eggs. Stir some more. See a theme?

Portion some onto a plate. Dress with a few chopped scallions. Enjoy!

Pad Thai

I often find myself watching cooking videos and podcasts on my ipod. Youtube is wonderful for finding every possible how-to video. As of late, I have been especially into Korean and Thai cooking. Today I dug down to the heart of Chinatown and wandered through a couple of Thai markets for ingredients and ideas.

One of my favorite Thai dishes is Pad Thai. It’s truly comfort food, when done right. I finally built up the nerve to cook it. I was amazed that it wasn’t that hard to prepare.

Pad Thai


Thin Flat Rice Stick Noodles
Eggs – a couple
Tofu – diced small, extra firm
Another protein (optional)
Garlic – chopped

Ground Peanuts – crushed, roasted
Chives –
Beansprouts – I didn’t have any and didn’t see any good ones in the store
Tamarind Concentrate
Sugar – when done right, you should use palm sugar – I didn’t have any
sriracha or chili paste
fish sauce – sometimes available kosher from
koshergourmetmart – if vegetarian, use extra soy sauce
soy sauce
Vegetable Oil – non fragrant oil is important, peanut or canola works well

lime wedges – very important player in this dish

The trick is to have everything read to go, before you heat up your wok.

Get your sauce ready. For 2-3 servings, I used 2 tablespoons of tamarind, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of chili paste.

Cut up your tofu and let it dry on papertowels.

Chop up veggies and/meat

Cook the rice noodles. Pour boiling water over noodles in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Do not overcook them. Very important.

Ready to get down to business now. Heat up a large wok with 2 tablespoons of oil. Add in your garlic and tofu. Fry a bit. Move the garlic and tofu to the side. If using meat, this is when you would cook it. Crack in your eggs and scramble. Let it set a bit.

Toss in your noodles. Toss in the sauce and mix. Throw in the beansprouts and any other veggies you might be adding. Mix up and stir fry a few minutes.

Serve on to a plate. Sprinkle over some chopped peanuts. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over. The lime juice is essential and very yummy in this dish.

This meal turned out to be a hit tonight. Feel free to play with ingredients a bit. Add more or less of sauce ingredients to meet your taste. I will probably add more heat (chili paste) next time as well as more lime juice squeezed on. I was very happy with this meal and will make again. Very easy quick dinner night meal.

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