I used to go to Oriental City a lot just for the great Thai food there. One of my favourite meals was tofu with ginger sauce, vegeables and rice (accompanied of course with one of those fantastic fruit cocktails!). But I also like the creamier curries and the peanutty ones. So today, I ogled at my almost-empty jar of peanut butter and a lonely tin of cocount milk in the cupboard and decided to embark on a Thai cooking adventure. I usually get a 5 kg bag of Thai rice from the wholesale place down the road, so I always have ‘rice on tap’ – which worked out nicely for the current ‘project’. I also keep a jar of salted soya beans in the fridge (which are used in many Thai curries instead of salt) alongside one or two curry pastes from the same shop. So all I had to get was some veg!
I discovered that the ‘Ethnic Shop’ in Balham (yes, it is really called that! There used to be loads of African shops, but unfortunately, they are all gone apart from one!) sells some Thai veg, but some of them are a little too bitter for my taste. As I had once fabricated a decent potato-peanut curry from far inferior ingredients to the initial horror, but later delight of my co-chef at a previous workplace (because we had not much else there but rice, potatoes and peanut butter on the last day before the next delivery) , I bought a sweet potato, a potato and a bunch of spinach. Also, I found a sweet pepper in the reduced to clear pile and bagged a nice bit of ginger! In the end, the following recipe came together (not for the faint-hearted in terms of calories, though I heard the rumour that coconut milk speeds up your metabolism! anyway…):
Peanut, Ginger & (Sweet) Potato Curry
Thai fragrant rice (use dry boiling method, measure water according to desired stickiness!) – if possible, don’t use supermarket rice as it never seems to come close to the rice you get at Asian/Oriental/African grocers. And supermarket rice is more expensive, too! Buy where the restaurants buy 😉
Roast the sweet potatoes and potatoes in the oven (separately) with lots of crushed & chopped garlice, salt, pepper and oil (add a dash of olive and sesame oil for extra tastiness if you happen to have it around) – and chilli powder or dried chilli flakes.
Gently fry fine strips of sweet pepper, add curry paste, peanut butter (smooth works best, but I tend to buy crunchy!), grated ginger, coconut milk, lemon or lime juice (and if you like, extra garlic). You can also add more thai spices! Heat the sauce, but don’t let it get too hot. If coconut milk boils, it can get ugly 😉
Lastly, add spinach leaves to the sauce.
On a plate, arrange roast vegetables on the rice (you could even roast the sweet pepper if you wanted!) and pour the sauce with the spinach leaves (and the pepper strips if you’ve put them in there) over everything. Or you can shape the rice with a large round cup (careful with the sticky rice – it ain’t called sticky for no reason!) and have it as an igloo on your plate surrounded by potato goodness and sauce! Bon appetit!
Photo will follow!
If anyone happens to have a good recipe for a Thai ginger sauce, please put it in the comment box! x