Follow Your Food: Thai Vegetable Red Curry

Farming  is the oldest and most ubiquitous concepts to any proper human civilization. While other languages describe the concept with different words, the meaning is the same. In western Romance languages, the term to describe farming is Agriculture. Agriculture derives its roots from the latin agre, meaning the field, and cultura, meaning cultivation. As you can likely imagine, the literal combination of these roots describe the cultivation of fields, or humans culturing nature. There is, however another, less literal significance of agriculture, and that is the land culturing humans. Most historians would likely agree what humans were only able to develop standing civilizations and civil societies after first learning how to cultivate the land. Sure there may have been pre-agrarian neolithic civilizations prior to the dawn of  agriculture, but these were subsistence societies with no specialization. It was only once we learned to culture the land that humans learned how to culture themselves. After the early Mesopotamian societies began irrigating their fields of barley and wheat we see the first evidence of written language, complex scene art and legal codification. Ever since, human culture and agriculture have grown side by side, with different global regions creating their own definition of both. As a result, the global demograph is a rich mosaic of music genres, art styles and culinary palates.

Years of developing our understanding of the land and international exchange of knowledge allows modern farmers to use traditional techniques to grow crops one known as staples in another land. Consequently, we are granted the privilege to share in a cultural palates belonging to other nations. Once again this highlights the importance food has in culturing our appreciation for a wider world, and protect us from myopia .This week we had a rather amazing recipe tossed our way by Vanessa Niles who volunteers with us to help deliver orders to Madras. At first glance, I knew I was hooked. I love Thai red curry – it is honestly one of my favorite dishes. Usually I don’t get the chance to cook it on my own, as there is often times a scramble for all of the ingredients, however, this week was different, the family box contents happened to have most of the requisites that would normally send me to the store. The second hook for me, since I was tired after work and rather hungry, was the time. The 20 minutes advertised in the recipe link promised to get me fed before confounding ‘hangriness’ kicked in and sent me out to eat. Needless to say, the dish lived up to my expectations, and will assuredly become a staple in my kitchen quiver, when the season is right of course.

 

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 Garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp ginger (Tumalo Fish and Vegetable Farm) minced

1 Tbsp Turmeric (Tumalo Fish and Vegetable Farm) minced

2 Tbsp Curry Paste

1 Small Sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 hd Bok Choi or Baby Bok Choi (Radicle Roots and Windflower Farm), chopped into 1 inch strips

4 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth

13 oz can of Coconut Milk

1/2 Tbsp Fish Sauce

1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

3.5 oz rice vermicelli noodles

Garnishes (recipe says optional, I say essential)

1/2 red onion (Cinco Estrellas) sliced thin

1 lime

Handful of Fresh Cilantro (Cinco Estrellas)

Sriracha to taste

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Prepare the vegetables for the soup first so that they are ready when needed
  2. Add the cooking oil into a large soup pot (4-5 qt), along with the minced garlic, ginger, turmeric and Thai red curry paste. Saute the garlic, ginger, turmeric and curry paste over medium heat for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add the diced sweet potato and chopped Bok Choi stalks to the pot (save the leafy green ends of the choi for later), add broth right away and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 5-7 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  4. While the soup is simmering, bring a small pot of water to a boil for the vermicelli and boil 2-3 minutes or just until tender (I prefer rice noodles a little bit al dente). Drain the rice noodles in a strainer and set aside.
  5. Once the sweet potatoes are tender, add the coconut milk, fishsauce and brown sugar to the soup. Stir to taste and adjust the fish sauce or brown sugar if needed. Finally, add the bok choi greens and let them wilt in the hot soup (30 seconds)
  6. To serve, divide the rice noodle and ladle the soup over the bowls. Top the bowls with the fresh, thinly sliced red onion, the cilantro and a lime wedge. I them spiced my bowl up with some Sriracha and red pepper flakes because I am a spice junkie.
  7. Enjoy the fresh flavor!
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