Friday, September 18, 2015

Lychees are not just for dessert!.....Vegan Coconut-Lychee Curry!

I have been a bad bad blogger lately.  For the last few months, my focus has shifted to mommy mode and nesting.  Unfortunately, this put my cooking creativity on the back burner.   Now that we are well into the third trimester, I am ready for my precious to arrive!  I'm little Ms. Antsy-Pantsy over here!  Clearly I need to keep busy these next 5-6 weeks or I may lose it!

People don't lie when they say pregnant women get heartburn.  And, this heartburn does NOT mess around!  My new remedy for the most nauseating heartburn is raw apple cider vinegar.  Without it, I would not be able to enjoy this delectable lychee-coconut curry!  Not to say that this dish is overly is actually quite mild for my taste buds.  Though, sadly enough, my esophagus does not agree!!!  That is definitely one thing that I will not miss after the arrival of my baby girl!

With all of that said, my taste has shifted a bit over the course of my pregnancy.  While typically I am a savory person, the sweet side has arisen and spoken with a vengeance.  It has been unseasonable cool here for the last few days, so I thought to run with it and make a nice, warming curry.

 I have had this over-sized can of lychees taking up prime real estate in my cupboard that just stares at me every time I reach for something else.  I thought, we wouldn't lychees and a bit of lychee juice work in a coconut curry?  Heck, pineapple is added all the time!  And, guess what?  It was fan-flipping-tastic!  Add in some veggie protein and a bunch of veggies, and you are all set!

 Now, what makes this recipe easy (or much easier than most of my curries) is that I am using a blend of dried spices for the curry, instead of making my own curry paste.  This is a great option if you are pressed on time or do not have access to international markets to grab specific items!

Vegan Coconut-Lychee Curry! 
1 can coconut milk
3-4 c vegetable broth or vegan chicken broth
1 can lychee, drained and sliced (reserving the liquid)
1 block tofu, cubed
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 handful snow peas
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and sliced
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 tbsp minced galangal or ginger
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tbsp - 1 tbsp sambal (or your preferred hot chili paste)
 1 tbsp sesame oil

Drain tofu, cut into slices and press each slice with paper towels.  To remove more excess liquid, wrap the tofu in multiple paper towels, place a heave book or pot on top, and let sit for at least an hour.  For me, I like a nice firm piece of tofu, so I tend to let the tofu sit for a few hours to remove as much liquid as possible.

After you have removed desired amount of liquid from the tofu, cut into cubes and set aside.  In a large pot, heat sesame oil over medium heat, and add in minced garlic and galangal and the sliced jalapenos and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add in broth, coconut milk, chili paste and about 1/4 c of the lychee liquid.  Bring to a boil, turn down, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Once all of the flavors have developed, add in the remainder of the ingredients, stir and cover for an additional 10 minutes.  Adjust flavor and heat level to your taste preference and serve with steamed rice.  Enjoy!

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