Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Night Curry

I have had some barley sitting in my kitchen cabinet for about a year now and I decided last week that I was going to use it for something. I was thinking of maybe roasting some onions and carrots with a little balsamic vinegar, tossing some chickpeas in a skillet with a little oil and salt, then throwing everything over some barley, maybe topping it with some goat cheese - hopefully it would come out something like this. I never did find out though because I then opened my fridge and saw some leftover coconut milk which needed some immediate attention. I went to Recipezaar and entered coconut milk and chick peas and came up with this recipe for Creamy Chickpea Curry. It looked pretty good, was highly rated with some good user reviews, and I already had some red curry paste sitting in the fridge as well. The only thing I changed about this recipe was to add 1 pound of chicken tenders cut into bite size pieces. The recipe called for putting the curry over jasmine rice, but since this whole adventure began with me wanting to use barley, I used barley instead, and I couldn't imagine that it would have been better with the rice.

The recipe was so good that I made it again this week, minus the chicken, double the chickpeas, and subbing in lite coconut milk for the full fat variety (for calorie reasons). The resulting curry was tasty, but lacked that luxurious quality and silky texture that the regular coconut milk provides. I think I'll sacrifice the calories in the future and use the full fat version, which contains lauric acid, an ingredient found in breast milk that the body converts into a chemical that is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral agent. In short, it might make it harder for you to get sick.

Start by preparing the grain of your choice (try barley instead of rice) and prepping the other ingredients. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, toss in the onions and cook them until they just begin to brown.

Add the garlic and curry paste, stirring to combine, and cook a minute or two until the paste is pretty much dissolved into the onion mixture. Dump in the chickpeas, coconut milk, and soy sauce, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, brown sugar and lime juice. Simmer for another minute, and prepare some serving bowls by placing about a cup of barley in each.

Don't forget to stir in your fresh chopped herbs before adding the curry to the bowls. This is an extremely satisfying dinner all on its own. I'm definitely no expert on Thai food, and have no idea how authentic this dish is, but it tastes good to me. Give it a try.

And since it was Friday, and there were not already enough dirty dishes, I decided to make some cookies as well. I wanted my favorite oatmeal cookies, but alas, not enough brown sugar in the house. I settled on Martha Stewart's Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Thin, chewy, and chocolaty...

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