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Make your own Thai curry at home

Julie Falsetti
For The York Dispatch

All of us have a cooking repertoire that serves us fine in ordinary times. Variety is provided with visits to our favorite restaurants. These are not ordinary times, however, so it is time to step outside our cooking comfort zones and try something different. If you are ready to scream if you see another meatloaf or frozen pizza, this is the chance to add more exotic fare to your menu.

Thai curry is a good place to start. With six Thai restaurants in the area, it’s a sure bet that Yorkers are fans of Thai food. Although takeout is possible, it takes planning and a trip to pick it up. With a few pantry staples, you can re-create the experience in your own kitchen.

Even if you don’t have lemongrass and galangal growing in your garden, fear not. Most people living in Bangkok don’t either. The answer to a quick Thai dinner lies in a jar of curry paste. Along with a can of coconut milk, you are more than halfway done preparing dinner. Add jasmine rice, and you are all set.

The Thai curry recipe below is plant-based, but feel free to swap out the tofu for sauteed chicken or shrimp. I chose the vegetables for their variety of texture and color, but if you want to use up what you have on hand, that will work too. The idea is to relax and go with the flow.

The amount of curry paste that you use depends on the heat level you prefer. Start out with the smaller amount and increase to taste.

Thai Curry

1 131/2-ounce can coconut milk

4 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons brown sugar

1-3 tablespoons Thai green curry paste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 zucchini, cut in 1-inch cubes

2 small sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes

1 broccoli crown separated into florets

A handful of sugar snap peas, strings removed

1 package baked tofu cut in 1-inch cubes

Juice of 1 small lime

8 basil leaves, cut into thin chiffonade

Mix the coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar and curry paste in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the vegetable oil. When hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add all of the vegetables and saute, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.

Add the coconut milk mixture and baked tofu. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Before serving, add the lime juice and basil chiffonade. Stir well, and serve over rice.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at julietrulie11@gmail.com.