Sublime, Quick Coconut Curry
This is a really fast n’ easy, very nutritious, colorful, super delicious one-pot meal.
As some folks say, they don’t want to spend all day in the gym – they get their lifting done and are gone.
I sometimes feel similarly about investing lots of time in the kitchen after a long day at work.
There are adventures to take, books to read, and people to see!
Hence, this recipe should only take about 30 to 40 minutes to assemble AND cook, once you have the ingredients.
Now to go softly…into what for some is unknown jungle territory…
Helmets on, face guards down, swords up. Be brave. Be Bold.
WEAR AN APRON.
Turmeric stains terribly,
so if you accidentally
drop curry sauce on your clothing,
it will not come out.
Sufficiently Scared Now? Nah, just keep reading.
I wasn’t raised with curried foods – we didn’t eat them at home. Hearing the word “curry” used to scare me almost as much as the word “physics.”
Years ago a friend asked, “What do you put in your curry?” as she pulled two flat boxes from her cupboard – inside each were a dozen or so small jars of spices.
“I just use curry powder,” I softly replied, feeling embarrassed because I really had such a vague idea what spices curry powders contained, and in what proportions…
Beyond reading the back of Thai curry jars or instructions on a can of coconut milk, I’ve not studied how to make a “proper” curry.
I do know SUBLIME curried foods are made in as diverse places as India, Thailand and Jamaica.
A special friend from India once showed me how she makes curry, using a unique tool to scrape coconut meat directly from freshly cracked coconuts.
She probably freshly ground her spices with mortar and pestle, too!
Uh…this curry recipe isn’t quite going to go there
Anybody happy now? Anybody? ANYBODY??
Good, well, somebody is, I can feel it.
These are the very BASIC ingredients
needed to make my style of curry:
1 large head of organic broccoli
2 onions – organic onions taste much better, to me
3 stalks of organic celery (high in natural sodium =)
4 organic carrots
1 lb of grass-fed or organic ground beef
1 can whole coconut milk – I paid an extra 20 cents for organic here. Just do not buy the “lite” version! You want all the good fats in coconut milk.
2-3 tsp Curry Powder OR 1-2 tsp Thai Green Curry Paste
2 TBSP Coconut Oil – for sauteing vegetables
1 can of flat Anchovies OR 1-2 TBSP Fish Sauce – ahem, Salty Foods are NOT Paleo
1 lime or lemon
Additional spices and herbs I very often use:
Turmeric – studies say turmeric inhibits tumor growth, is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, detoxifies the liver, and helps numerous other areas of the body, this is one GREAT reason to make curry!
Sea Salt – unrefined, unwashed
Dried Basil leaf
Garlic powder or the fresh version
Raw Ginger sometimes – 1-2 tsp, finely minced
Mustard Seed Powder
Garam Masala Powder
Vegetable Substitutions: Broccoli could as easily be Kale, Collards, Cabbage, Bok Choy, Chinese Cabbage, Diced Yams or Parsnip, etc. Or a combination of two or three veggies.
Some vegetables will soak up coconut milk, while others are more watery and add flavor and water to the sauce. Add a little water to the pot if the sauce gets too thick.
Meat Substitutions: Instead of using Ground Beef, you can make this equally delicious with ground turkey, or pre-cooked chicken pieces, or some white fish. Eggs also taste delicious curried!
Goat, Lamb or Beef stew meat would work too, just cook it before you add it to the vegetables.
A large pot
A cutting board
A large stirring spoon
After washing your hands, the counter, and all of the vegetables, peel the onion and take off both ends of the carrots and celery.
I chop the carrots and celery at an angle, in mouth-sized pieces – not as finely as I do for Swimmin’ Chick-n-Choy For Body and Soul like this:
The onions can be quickly cut in half length-wise, laid down and sliced across the narrower side, then cut across the opposite way two or three times to coarsely dice them.
Put 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil into your large cooking pot and turn it on medium high heat.
Dump the three vegetables you’ve cut up into that same cooking pot and saute them for about 10-15 minutes until they are softened.
While those vegetables are sauteing, rinse your ground beef under cold water.
Then cut up your head of broccoli into mouth-sized pieces.
Stir your sauteing vegetables every once in a while, and adjust the burner heat if needed. You don’t want the vegetables to burn, just saute.
The vegetables will continue to cook after you add coconut milk, so don’t worry if they are not completely soft before you add the other ingredients.
Wash off the top of the coconut milk can before opening it. Add the coconut milk to your pot and stir.
Then I add my spices and herbs directly to the pot, measuring them by eye. No two curries of mine ever taste exactly the same, because I don’t measure the spices exactly, but that’s the beauty of curry.
For super artistic folks, or to host an interesting dinner party, Curry comes in at least three different colors – Red, Green and Orangey-Yellow. Incidentally these are the three primary colors of electricity. So now you know. I only know this because I work with the visual primary colors of Red, BLUE and Yellow often.
I no longer monkey around with electricity after trying to replace a light bulb socket, while the lamp was still plugged in. Bad idea. Big flash ensued. I decided to let someone else fix electrical things…
But I digress. No rabbit trails, no rabbit trails! Back to business.
To simplify things immensely, if you just add 2-3 teaspoons of a yellow curry powder to your pot of coconut milk and vegetables, that would be fine and it will taste very good. You are now good to go in the spice department.
If you are more adventurous, try some other combinations of spices:
Cumin and Coriander are very strong, so only add a pinch or two of these unless you like their flavor. Then drop in about 2 tsp Curry Powder (you CAN overdo curry powder and ruin your meal, so be careful with it until you know how hot you like your curry), 1 TBSP Garlic Powder and 1 TBSP Paprika, 2 tsp Basil, 1 tsp Salt (not a Paleo ingredient) and 1 tsp Turmeric.
OR if you use Thai curry paste instead of Indian or Jamican curry powders, I would add 1-2 heaping teaspoons of a Thai curry paste now, with the Basil and non-paleo Salt.
Thai curry is strong, so go easy on it until you know how much heat you want. You can always taste the curry, and add a bit more if the curry flavor is not strong enough for your taste. I’ve heard the stronger your digestion, the hotter and spicier are the foods you can consume. I’ve also heard that in India, their mild curry tastes hot to Americans..
Red and Green Thai curry paste are available in most large grocery stores – check the International Foods aisle – and both are yummy. You’ll have to experiment to find the curry source or combination you like the most.
There is a particular pre-made Madras Curry Powder, from India, that is one of my favorites. I love it with eggs!!!
I plan to blog about a specific Fish Curry Recipe in the future.
Mix your choice of curry, extra herbs and spices into the pot and stir.
Turmeric makes the coconut mixture turn bright yellow.
Add your can of anchovies now, if you are using them. I began using anchovies, the main ingredient in fish sauce, because they were on hand. Paleo dieters are not supposed to eat “Salty Foods” so perhaps my favorite little salty fish are out-of-bounds for you. Insert skull & crossbones here?
Now add your ground beef to the pot.
Side Note: I’ve eaten raw, previously frozen beef so I’m not worried about bad bacteria or the need to pre-cook my meat because I am using very high-quality meat from a locally raised source I trust:
If you are not able to find a grass-fed or organic source of beef, you may want to saute the beef BEFORE adding it to your pot of vegetables. We will be cooking the meat at a high temperature once in the pot, but I’m just cautioning you.
Back to our HOT recipe – YOU’RE ALMOST AT THE FINISH LINE!!:
Mix in the meat and let this heat up and cook for 5 to 10 minutes.
Then add your broccoli. Cook the broccoli until tender and no longer crunchy. Another 5 to 10 minutes.
Add a squeeze of lime, or lemon.
Cow bells and whistles!!!
You have yourself a sublime meal!
I love to eat my curry using chop sticks =) Serve with extra wedges of lime or lemon.
This recipe feeds 2 or 3 people and leftovers the next day taste superb. Everything seems to taste better after the flavors have had time to meld.
Extra thoughts ~
I think of these FIVE flavors, taken from Auruvedic cooking, when I’m grocery shopping for curry ingredients:
● Salty ● Sour ● Sweet ● Pungent ● Bitter
Salty – Anchovies and/or a bit of unrefined sea salt
Sour – Lime or lemon juice
Sweet – Coconut milk is naturally sweet (at times I’ve added 1 tsp honey or 1 TBSP organic raisons – though both are questionable if you’re strictly on the Paleo diet. Sugar is NEVER needed.)
Pungent – Garlic
Bitter – Cumin and Curry
Curry is a warming food, very good for stressed digestive organs. I crave and eat it often, varying the vegetable combinations so I’m never bored.
Store-bought canned curry sauces almost always contain all sorts of additives, thickeners, etc. so it’s better to just learn what you can prepare at home.
If you are not strictly Paleo or having problems with gluten, this curry is really delicious over organic or good quality Buckwheat Soba. The Soba I usually use contains heirloom wheat, i.e. gluten.
But I enjoy beautiful vegetable and meat curries without soba or rice often – it is a wonderfully satisfying meal!!
May your curry be a hit
and bring you and your loved ones
good health and healing.
Readers from cultures who make good curry, thank you for your patience with my ignorance. Please do share a comment below this post and help educate the rest of us on how your culture makes curry!
For Sincere Sustenance, Elise
I hope color-blind folks can see all the colored words in this recipe!