After a month in Norway, I am relaxed, refreshed, and craving Asian food.
Audun and I are spoiled here in Los Angeles with incredible authentic food from Burma, Thailand, India, China and Japan all close to our house. The flavors and spices can really put Western dishes to shame. The 5th of every month we celebrate our monthly anniversary by going to Shojin in Little Tokyo — a vegan, macrobiotic Japanese restaurant that we can’t get enough of! If you want any recommendations of what to order, just email me and I’ll be happy to tell you our favorite dishes.
We’re on the road again this week for a conference, so it can be challenging to cook when we try to empty our fridge for every trip. The answer? The freezer!
Freezer meals are super convenient when you travel or when you don’t want your life to revolve around grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. Now we can have a taste of Thailand whenever we want. Just heat and eat!
In general, dishes that have a lot of liquid freeze well. Think soups, stews and curries. Tofu can change it’s texture when frozen, but it actually is a benefit since it becomes more porous and soaks up more of the liquid and hence the flavor. Herbs are fragile and will discolor which is why they are added right before serving.
If you plan on making this recipe to freeze, start by choosing your containers. You can use ziploc bags which you can freeze flat. Multiple small glass containers are excellent for the microwave and make easy single portion lunches. Aluminum trays are best if you want to reheat the entire recipe at once using the oven.
You can wait to purchase the toppings until you know you’re going to serve it. It is of course excellent without them if you want this to be a really quick meal, but the extra flavors and textures really elevate this dish.
Lemongrass is an essential ingredient in this and many other Asian recipes. We grow it in our garden, which is an especially good option if you don’t have a market that carries it nearby. My favorite way to use it is to trip the top and bottom, peel off the outer layers and then cut vertically into the stalk 3-4 inches up but leaving the top of the stalk intact. This way, the flavor can leave the lemongrass and enter your coconut milk, tea, or soup while being really easy to remove.
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
6 Tbsp red curry paste (or to taste)
1 13.5oz can full-fat coconut milk
1 13.5oz can light coconut milk
3 stalks lemongrass, ends trimmed and 2 vertical cuts made into bottom of stalk
1 small sweet potato (about 5-6oz), peeled and cubed
2 cups cauliflower florets, bite-sized
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 can baby corn, drained and rinsed
1 14oz firm tofu, water-packed
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
Juice from 1 lime
Basil, cilantro, cashews and coconut flakes for topping
In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes or until soft. Add curry paste and mix well. Allow to heat for 1 minute.
Add the coconut milk and lemongrass. Push the stalks down and open so that they can infuse into the liquid. Bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and add the sweet potato and cauliflower. Cook for 7 minutes.
Add the bell pepper, baby corn and tofu. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until all vegetables can be pierced with a fork.
Stir in the coconut sugar and lime juice. Remove the lemongrass stalks and discard.
At this point, the recipe can be divided into freezer-safe containers and frozen. Reheating can be done in the microwave, oven or stovetop.
Right before serving, top with cilantro, basil, cashews and coconut flakes.