Thai Panang Curry

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Our trip is coming to an end.

Literally. Right now.

As we speak, we are on a plane flying from Bangkok to London.

It’s finally hit me. After 4 months on the road in South East Asia, we are leaving the 40C weather, the sun, the bubble of vacation and heading back to England. Back to work, renovations, rain and real life. And, as much as I’m looking forward to being back in the UK and enjoying spring time, I also know that as soon as we are back that all of this will be a memory and I’ll be longing for the time back.

So, in a desperate attempt to preserve this precious time and the gorgeous flavours of Thailand, a spicy, coconut-y panang curry.  Not quite as good as the real feeling of being in Thailand, but a very close second… or at least that what I’m telling myself.

 

Thai Panang Curry
 
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Creamy, spicy vegan Thai panang curry.
Author:
Recipe type: Bowl Food
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 TBSP oil
  • 2 TBSP ginger, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp hot chili paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (14 oz) can of coconut milk
  • Juice of one lime
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 package extra firm tofu cut into cubes
  • 2 large carrots, cut in chunks
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 large potato, cut in to small chunks
  • 12 baby corn, cut in chunks
  • 1 cup of greens (kale, spinach etc)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil sauce pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, ginger, and garlic. Cook until tender, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add peanut butter, turmeric, cumin, and chili paste stir 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk in 1 cup water, then coconut milk, lime zest, and brown sugar; bring to simmer. Add tofu, potatoes, carrots, corn and bell pepper; simmer over medium heat until carrots are tender (about 20 minutes).
  5. Stir in greens and lime juice.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve! Enjoy!

 

Thai Peanut Noodles

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I’m a peanut butter addict. There is no denying it.

If you put a jar of peanut butter and I in a room together, only one of us will come out alive… and the other one will have peanut butter all over her face and hands.

But, peanut butter has generally been more of a sweet ingredient to me… best served with apple slices or bananas or (let’s be honest) chocolate, caramel, cookies etc.

Ben doesn’t have a sweet tooth. Moreover, he thinks that peanuts should remain decidedly savoury and that peanut butter in general is an abomination (it’s a good thing he’s cute).

Given my combative nature, I’m out on a mission to prove him wrong… and also to challenge myself to create a few more savoury dishes with peanut butter (because you ALWAYS need more dishes with peanut butter in them). This is the first of those challenges.

The pros: this was delicious and peanutty, but completely savoury. The cons: It didn’t quite satisfy me in the way that a peanut butter and banana sandwich does AND I’ve had to share my jar of peanut butter. It’s a double edged sword, this combative nature of mine.

So, while I may not have found a exact fit for sweet, sweet peanut butter in this savoury world, I have still found a pretty tasty dish that we both enjoyed… but not enough to share my jar of peanut butter.

Thai Peanut Noodles
 
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One pot spicy thai peanut noodles
Author:
Recipe type: Bowl Food
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 4 cups good quality vegetable broth
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP sriracha sauce (rooster sauce)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1 pack of extra firm tofu, cut in to small chunks
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • ½ onion, cut in to chunks
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut in to chunks
  • 4 green onions, sliced in to 3 inch pieces
  • 3 TBSP chunky, natural peanut butter
  • zest of 1 lime
  • One small bunch of cilantro(coriander)
  • Juice of lime
  • 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts ( I used tamari roasted peanuts)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except cilantro (coriander), peanuts and lime juice in a large pot.
  2. Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so.
  4. Simmer until pasta is cooked to your liking and almost all liquid has evaporated.
  5. Sauce will thicken up slightly upon standing, so bear that in mind.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring well to mix sauce.
  7. Mix in cilantro (coriander), peanuts and lime juice.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
adapted from: http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-pot-wonder-thai-peanut-pasta-recipe/

 

BEN’S VERDICT (AKA A MEATEATER RESPONDS):  

Lets get one thing clear young lady.  If you, me and this bowl of nutty deliciousness are locked in a room together, only one of us is coming out alive.  And there won’t be wasted decorating my face.  Every single last morsel of this little bowl  will go down my gullet quicker than you can say peanutalicious.

I am pretty sure that I am not alone in thinking peanuts are strictly for savoury by the way.  I am pretty sure that the words peanut butter and jello will send shivers down many a right thinking Englishman’s spine (I do not even know what jello is by the way but I am sure it cannot be good).

Anyway, this was all told a very satisfying dish all told. I barely even noticed the tofu!

 

Meateater tested Vegan approved

 

Seeds (and Nuts)

peanuts!

I met a middle-aged Irish woman named Anne whilst traveling in Indonesia.

Unhappy in her life, she woke up one morning and said “I’m moving out of this house”. She had no idea where she would go or what she would do, and she definitely didn’t have much money. But, she took the leap and 3 months later she found herself in the Bangkok airport thinking “Oh s%#*! Now what?!”

That was three years ago. Since then she has been wandering South East Asia with no safety net, trusting the kindness of strangers (I’ve always wanted to say that) and taking any opportunities that life presented to her. She says that despite not knowing where money or food will appear from one month to the next, she has never felt so alive or connected (take that, Elizabeth Gilbert!).

I know that feeling all too well. It can be both at once exhilarating and terrifying.

I have spent a good deal of my life focusing on the terrifying side of leaping. I worried myself sick that I wouldn’t find what made me truly happy, longing for some magical missing puzzle piece that would make my life perfect and complete.

One of the worst of these situations was when I graduated from nursing school. I had a world of possibilities at my feet. I could have done ANYTHING. But I froze. I obsessed. I fretted. And, worst of all, I settled.

The idea of being able to move in any direction I chose terrified me. For the first time, I had no set plan. And, in my fear of finding something new, I played it safe. Then came the inevitable regret.

Fortunately, life gives you more than one chance to leap… and sometimes, as in my case, it just pushes you right off the edge.

I finally realized that having a world of possibilities meant exactly that. Anything is possible. The simple truth is that unless you get lost, you may never wind up somewhere new.

The times when I feel the most lost- the times when my life’s pages seem to be the most terrifyingly blank- are the moments just before something amazing presents happens. But you won’t know until you let the page turn.

There are no challenges, issues or crises that do not contain within them the seed of opportunity that could not otherwise have existed.

So get lost. Enjoy it. Take a leap.

Revel in not having it all, but in its possibility.

It’s all one big adventure that has barely begun…

And so, a seed… or rather a nut. A delicious, pan roasted, salted peanut to be exact. The perfect accompaniment to an ice cold beer and a few minutes to look around and enjoy.

Pan Roasted Peanuts
 
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Salted, pan-roasted redskin peanuts
Author:
Recipe type: Small Bites
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 280 grams (2 cups) raw peanuts
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
Instructions
  1. Rinse and drain peanuts well.
  2. Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Once hot, add the peanuts being careful not to get spattered by the oil.
  4. Roast peanuts, stirring frequently, until peanut begins to turn golden brown (about 8-10 minutes)
  5. Remove from heat and add salt to peanuts. Stir well.
  6. Pour peanuts out on to baking tray to cool for 20 minutes (if you can wait that long!)
  7. Then eat them, of course!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 23 grams (1/6 cup) Calories: 152 kcal Fat: 13.9 g Saturated fat: 2.0 g Unsaturated fat: 0.1 Trans fat: 0.0 g Carbohydrates: 3.7 g Sugar: 0.9 g Sodium: 387 mg Fiber: 2 Protein: 5.8 g Cholesterol: 0.0 g

 Ben’s Verdict (aka MeatEater responds):

I only ever eat peanuts  in the pub with a pint of warm bitter when I am desperately hungry and they have run out of crisps (like many Englishmen, I suspect). They fill a whole but I have never been overwhelmed by them. That changed when I popped some of these little freshly roasted beauties in my mouth! They were small, round and with a crispy, dark exterior that gave them a complex texture. Salty, crunchy and with a great depth of flavour, not at all like the common bar peanut I’m used to. The setting didn’t hurt either as we ate them with an ice-cold Chang beer whilst looking out at the hills of Chiang Mai- somewhere that neither of us would be if we hadn’t gotten lost and took a leap of faith.