Malaysian Rendang is a delicious slow cooked beef dish simmered in coconut milk and spices. The cut of beef used is usually a cheap cut that is good for slow cooking. Eventually the tough part of the meat breaks down over time and becomes tender. The dish starts off with a lot of liquid and slowly evaporates as it’s cooking. Eventually the liquid cooks almost completely off, coating the beef with tasty coconut flavor, tamarind, and spices. This is a great weekend project to try as the results are really satisfying but it’s also a labor intensive dish that requires a lot of time and effort. If you have trouble finding the ingredients at grocery stores, I would recommend going to a local asian or Thai market which might carry the more obscure ingredients. The dish is popular in Southeast Asia and once I made it I could see why! The beef was tender and bursting with flavor. I served it with a side of Malaysian flat bread called ‘Roti’ which was a perfect accompaniment to scoop up the last bits of sauce.
Curries usually take a bit of time and effort to cook so I wanted to try one that didn’t take too long to make. This curry was easy to throw together and the cook time was pretty fast. I used a basic blend of turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, fenugreek, cloves, bay leaves, and coriander for the curry seasoning. The half teaspoon of turmeric was all it took to turn this dish into a bright yellow curry! The flavors were as vibrant as the color and the tofu, chickpeas and green peas worked great together. The milk and cream gave it a richness that heightened the curry flavors. The creaminess reminded me a lot of Thai coconut curries, just without the coconut flavor. The recipe worked nicely with a side of rice which I spooned into the bowl generously!
To go along my Ethiopian Lentil Curry I chose another Ethiopian-style curry with chickpeas and cauliflower. One of my favorite things about curry is that both of these dishes can be called a “curry” yet they are both so different and complimentary at the same time. This stew is a yellow curry seasoned with turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander and paprika. It is more loosely based on Ethiopian chickpea and vegetable stews because I thought it would be fun to embellish it a bit. I don’t think preserved lemons are found too much in Ethiopian food but they really added amazing flavor to this dish. The preparation was easy and the result was so tasty! It tasted great with the lentils as well as the Injera bread.
A few years ago I went to an Ethiopian restaurant and was completely taken with the food. I couldn’t remember all of the curries that I tried but I do remember the bread they served with the main course: injera. I wanted to recreate that meal at home so I set out researching Ethiopian curries. It turns out that the injera is served as the “plate” to place a variety of tasty curries. I settled on this red lentil and yam curry which I thought would go nicely on top of the injera. A spice blend of cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika and allspice flavor the curry. The sweet potato and lentils went together so well and provided an element of sweetness that balanced the spices. It was a really simple dish that tasted great with the injera.
It probably seems crazy to most Americans to down a hot bowl of soup right now. This soup makes more sense to me because temperatures on the central coast just haven’t risen much at all. Next time it hits lower temperatures this soup would be perfect to enjoy on a cooler day. Better yet, you could wait until late summer or Fall when the squash actually comes into season. If you are craving roasted butternut squash like me, there’s no time like the present for a good soup.
I chose to make this soup with a few of the great flavors from Thai cooking–coconut milk, red chili paste, and a mixture of fragrant spices. I roasted the butternut squash first in the oven and threw all the ingredients into a big soup pot to simmer. The soup had a lot of wonderful flavors. I loved the flavor of the roasted squash with the creamy coconut milk, spicy chilies, and thai spices. It was pretty simple to throw together and I couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out! I served it with a side of jasmine rice and ended up mixing a few tablespoons of the rice into the soup. It turned out to be a great combination!
Sri Lankan curries are delicious because they use a number of Indian spices along with fresh ingredients like tamarind, lemongrass, and coconut milk. As for the curry, I decided to use a Sri Lankan blend of cumin, fennel, coriander, fenugreek, cardamom, cloves, curry leaves and cinnamon. I reserved 1 tsp of the curry powder for the yellow rice. The key step in using any curry powder is to toast it beforehand. It’s a step that can be forgotten easily but it results in much more fragrant flavors. While the pork was roasting in the oven, I prepared the base for the curry which wasn’t too hard to throw together. After letting the meat rest the pork was shredded and mixed in to the curry sauce. I loved the flavors of this dish! I really enjoyed the slightly sour flavor of the tamarind and the creaminess of the coconut milk. The pork curry with the yellow rice were great together as well.
Kaha Bath is a simple Sri Lankan rice dish made with turmeric and coconut milk. The dish isn’t sweet, but savory with flavors of turmeric, cardamom, and cloves. The coconut milk provides a nice creaminess to the rice and I loved how the turmeric dyed the rice bright yellow. The great thing about this rice is that the flavors of curry aren’t overpowering and you can serve it alongside another curry dish. It would also work as the main course if you mixed a protein like egg, chicken or tofu into the rice.
When I first heard about these thin little pancakes stuffed with a curry filling I was pretty intrigued. I had never made anything like these pancakes before and they really are more like crepes. It took a couple tries (and throwaways) to perfect the thin pancake. The cake uses spelt flour which is kind of a unique grain so it’s harder to find at grocery stores. If you have a non-stick pan definitely use it on these for easier flipping. The curry filling was the easiest part to make and the flavors were great–a little spicy and a little sweet. Since the curry filling is enough for 4 meals, I made 1 batch of dosa batter each day. You can’t go wrong with coconut curry and wrapped up in the thin pancakes made it all the better!
Massaman curry is a Thai dish that is influenced by Indian spices. It can be made with beef, chicken or tofu but I settled on trying the chicken version. I had this dish once at a Thai restaurant in Chicago and I have been dreaming about making it at home for a while. This recipe turned out to be quite similar to the restaurant’s and I was really happy about that! Massaman curry is a stew made with coconut milk, potatoes and served with rice. I tried to make this as authentic as possible so I avoided substitutions the best I could. The spicy and sweet flavors of this curry perfectly blended together and the finished product was really tasty! Feel free to substitute the protein for tofu, beef or pork.
One of the most important steps in making Thai dishes is preparing the chili paste. The paste is a concentrate of aromatic ingredients that provides a lot of flavor for the dish. There are many variations of chili pastes but this particular one is used in Massaman Curry. It could be used in a variety of dishes as well, not just for Massaman Curry. If you have a food processor making it would be easy, but without one it will take some time to prep. You can find the paste in stores but it goes without saying that it won’t have the same amount of flavor and freshness that making it from scratch provides. It can be tough to find the authentic ingredients but if you live near or in a city there is likely a Thai or Asian market that can provide some of the harder to find ingredients.
My favorite part of making this was roasting it for a few minutes in a pan. By heating it up the flavors were released into the air and the whole kitchen smelled so good! It’s an important step since it intensifies the flavor of the paste as well. The result was a really versatile concentrate of flavors that can be used in a ton of different Thai foods. It should last for a week or two in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator.