Saturday, May 29, 2010

more bok choy ideas

Here's another idea I came across when I was looking for something different to do with baby bok choy. The original recipe, from Jane Spice, has you pour a coconut milk-red curry sauce over steamed bok choy. I didn't have any red curry paste, so I decided to use curry powder instead. To the bok choy I added a bunch of teeny-tiny carrots (they always look so cute sitting there at the farmers market but I pass them by because I never know what to do with them), to end up with spring vegetables in a kind of gentle Massaman curry sauce. (Now if only we could get some gentle spring weather to go with it, right?)

I also added some leaves from a lemon balm plant that I recently bought, wondering if it would be a good lemongrass substitute for those of us in temperate climes. (Here in Seattle, lemongrass is grown as an annual, so I'm hoping that lemon balm might be a way to keep this flavor handy year-round.) The verdict: I think so, though the best method for getting the flavor into the dish might require a bit more experimenting. Next time I'll try steeping a sprig in the coconut milk from the beginning and then discarding it before serving, to try to get a subtler flavor more evenly throughout the sauce. (For those inclined to similar experiments in their garden: lemon balm is in the mint family, so for the love of all that is holy grow it in a pot.)

I'm sneaking this in under the wire before the end of Meatless Week on The Cookbook Chronicles. Unfortunately--given that event's purpose of reducing your food's carbon footprint--this supper includes one ingredient that's really pretty bad from a greenhouse-gas point of view. Anyone care to guess what it is?

Spring Vegetables in Coconut Curry Sauce

For a heartier dish, add tofu. To tell you the truth, I kind of wish I had!

1 medium shallot
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp vegetable oil
A sprig (about 9-10 leaves) of lemon balm
1 bunch baby carrots
1 C coconut milk
1 tsp kecap manis
1 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp salt
About 1 lb baby bok choy
Cooked jasmine rice

Peel the shallot and slice it thinly crosswise. Peel the garlic.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and stir for a moment or two. Press the garlic into the pan and stir for a moment more.

Let the shallots and garlic cook for a few minutes while you wash the carrots and trim off the tops. Wash the lemon balm and add it to the pan. Add the carrots to the pan and stir to coat with the oil.

In a small bowl stir together the coconut milk, kecap manis (or a little bit of soy sauce and sugar), curry powder, and salt. Add the sauce to the pan and gently fold it in to the vegetables. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium low, and let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash the bok choy, trim the ends, and separate the leaves. Then--after the carrots and coconut milk have been cooking for 5-7 minutes--add the bok choy to the pan. Fold the leaves into the sauce, then cover and cook for about 5 minutes more. Remove the lemon balm and serve the curry over rice.

Serves 2.

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