Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thai-Flavored Green Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

When it comes to shortcut ingredients, curry is king. Curry powders and pastes are frugal and efficient ways to create a vibrantly flavored dish with a minimal list of ingredients and time to spare. I've been on an epic sweet potato kick lately, so it wasn't much of a leap to merge the two ideas together in this quick weeknight meal. It's virtually guaranteed that there's curry powder in my cabinet, and even though there's pretty good odds of curry paste (red or green) hanging out my fridge, I'll confess that I don't reach for it quite as often. That tiny jar gets easily lost among the ample library of condiments, but it's always a pleasant surprise to rediscover it.

For me, Indian curries are generally cozy, hearty, comforting meals and Thai curries are light and lively bites that really perk up the palate. During the depths of winter, I need both of these kind of meals. When I want to curl up under a cozy blanket and watch a movie, give me warm and inviting Indian curry. When it's time to refuel and wake up after a long day, I'll happily devour a plate of the Thai variety, which takes less than 30 minutes to make it to the dinner table. Bright lemongrass, rich coconut milk, and spicy ginger and chilies are the perfect antidote to icy winter weather, with extras freezing well for a healthy meal at the ready any time. This vegetarian dish is wonderful simply served over brown rice with a drizzle of hot sauce, but is also a nice complement for salmon, chicken, or pork for carnivores or heartier appetites.

Thai-Flavored Green Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans
adapted from Bon Appetit
serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 medium onion, quartered, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons green Thai curry paste
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 large sweet potato, scrubbed, quartered, cut into 1/2” chunks
3 cups trimmed green beans, cut in 2” pieces or one 10-ounce bag frozen green beans
Kosher salt
Thai basil or cilantro, for serving (optional)
Sriracha or other hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Brown rice or naan, for serving (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add curry paste; stir for 1 minute. Whisk in coconut milk and 1 cup water. Add sweet potato and cook, uncovered, until sauce thickens to a creamy consistency, about 10 minutes. Stir in green beans, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt. Turn off heat and garnish with cilantro and/or hot sauce, if using, into the curry. Serve over rice.

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