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Mar 25, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘curry’

Extra Sauce: Rex Hale’s Yellow Curry Paste and Roti

Monday, October 6th, 2014



Local chefs showed us how to add extra crunch to our favorite dishes this month with crispy grains like quinoa, amaranth, kamut and more. The Restaurant at The Cheshire‘s chef Rex Hale shared his recipe for Squash Curry with Crispy Quinoa in print, and if you really want to go the extra mile, try your hand at Hale’s own curry paste and roti, too.

Yellow Curry Paste
Courtesy of The Restaurant at The Cheshire’s Rex Hale
Makes 2 cups

4 Tbsp. fresh turmeric root*, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, peeled, trimmed and quartered
3 Tbsp. chopped ginger root
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander root or cilantro stems
3 Tbsp. chopped garlic
3 Tbsp. sliced lemongrass
2 to 3 Tbsp. fresh Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped and seeded (or habanero, bird’s eye or serrano peppers)
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
3 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. course ground black peppercorns
2 tsp. sea salt
½ cup vegetable oil

• Add chopped turmeric root, onion, ginger, coriander roots, garlic and lemon grass to a blender. Blend to a rough, dry consistency.
• Add the chiles and lime juice to the blender and puree. Add in coriander, cumin, peppercorns and salt and blend again.
• Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over low heat. Fry the paste, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool. Curry paste will keep, refrigerated, up to 1 month.

*Fresh tumeric root is available at most international grocery stores.

Courtesy of The Restaurant at The Cheshire’s Rex Hale
8 rotis

8 oz. whole-wheat flour
8 oz. quinoa flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
5 oz. cold butter, diced
4 oz. cold water
About ½ cup olive oil, divided

• In a large bowl, sift together the whole-wheat flour, quinoa flour, baking powder and salt. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Slowly add the water and mix together with your hands to form a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface 2 or 3 minutes, then place it in a bowl, cover with a towel and let it rest 30 minutes.
• Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead again for 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the dough in 8 equal portions and roll into balls. Flour the work surface and a rolling pin and roll out a ball into a disc as thin as a tortilla. Stack the rotis, flouring well between each so they do not stick together.
• In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil and griddle the rotis 1 to 2 minutes, until the underside is slightly brown. Flip, brushing the pan with oil between each side, and cook another 1 to 2 minutes, until the surface bubbles up and browns slightly. Repeat with the remaining roti discs. Cover the cooked rotis with a towel while cooking the next one. Serve immediately. Rotis will keep, refrigerated, for up to 24 hours.


-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Navratan Korma

Monday, August 25th, 2014



This delicious Mughlai dish gets the name navratan, meaning “nine gems,” from its nine different veggies, fruit and nuts. Potatoes, French beans, carrots, green peas, cauliflower and bell pepper are parboiled to hold their texture and  crunchy cashews fried for a deep nutty flavor. But this dish really starts to sing when you toast the spices, perfuming your kitchen with heavenly aromas of garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, red chile powder and garam masala. The whole dish comes together with a few tablespoons of rich cream and sweet, plump raisins. Serve with warm naan or basmati rice for a hearty, veg-filled Meatless Monday. Get the recipe here, and learn more about curries here.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Just Five: Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes

Thursday, October 17th, 2013



Teenage girl + vegetarianism = a lot of pasta and salads. I worry my kid is not eating a balanced diet, but the rest of the family is happy to gnaw on any animal-based protein that doesn’t move, and as Momma always said, “I’m not running a cafe here!”

Also, because she is a teenage girl, she is particular about which beans are acceptable to eat. Hummus is OK, but garbanzo beans are not (Don’t try to reason with her – you won’t win.); black beans are good, but refried beans are gross.

Enter the lentil. Lentils are great because they are small enough not to be “pasty” the way some beans can be. They are mild and, frankly, just adorable. Like little berets for hip grasshoppers! And thankfully we all love curry, especially if there’s a sweet edge to it.

This recipe was truly a weeknight, “throw a few things together and see how it turns out” experiment. And it was a huge success. She had something she could happily eat for a couple days, served with coconut rice or scooped on naan, and the rest of us had a delicious side dish to enjoy. Now if I could just get her to eat kale…

Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes
4 servings as a main dish
6 to 8 servings as a side

2 Tbsp. vegetable or coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tbsp. curry powder
3 to 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 sweet potato, diced
1 ½ cup dried lentils, rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• In a 2-quart pot, add the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and curry powder for 2 minutes.
• Add 1 cup vegetable broth and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the sweet potatoes and stir in the lentils and additional broth.
• Bring to a low boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



Just Five: Grilled Mussels with Curry Butter

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013



It’s that time of year again. The mosquitoes are bitin’, the air is almost too thick to breathe, and your day is probably filled with driving camp carpools or working in a somewhat climate-controlled office. If you’re lucky, you’re baking at the pool, but even sitting poolside can sap your energy in this weather. It’s ridiculous to turn on an oven and heat up your house. It’s grill time.

This recipe is embarrassingly easy. I actually felt a bit guilty asking my husband to light the grill because it took longer to get the coals hot than it took me to assemble and cook this dish. This is a year-round option, too, as these mussels cook fine in a 400-degree oven or even in the coals of a campfire. So tell the neighbors to bring over cold beer and a salad, and you’ll provide the entree.

Grilled Mussels with Curry Butter

Inspired by Saveur Magazine
Serves 4

3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. curry powder
2 lbs. mussels, cleaned and de-bearded (Frozen mussels also work fine.)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 limes, 1 sliced in 8 thin rounds, 1 cut into 4 wedges
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

• Prepare your grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
• In a small bowl, mix the softened butter, curry powder and salt. Set aside.
• Divide the mussels evenly into 4 portions on 4 large pieces of heavy-duty foil. Divide the butter mixture and shallots evenly among the mussels. Then top each serving with 2 lime slices.
• Tightly close the foil packets and place them on the grill over direct heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mussels have opened. Remove the packets from the heat. Discard any mussels that stay closed.
• Transfer the mussels to small bowls and garnish with the cilantro and a lime wedge.



Short List: Thai Green Curry

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

With the laundry list of ingredients and imprecise quantities that go into green curry, it’s easy to see how Thai cooking is often considered art, not science. But while curry might be a forgiving recipe, consider me the princess and the pea. To distill curries’ true virtues, I kept two controls for my venture: a medium heat level and shrimp as my star. Yet not even these constants were free from criticism, with cocktail-sized crustaceans and pathetically weak or ulcer-inducing heat landing otherwise suitable suitors firmly on the “no” list. A faultless curry, not so thin as broth but not so creamy as buttermilk, must master the delicate balance of savory and sweet. There should also be an abundance and variety of good vegetables, but not too many – this isn’t a stir-fry – and not too few – a fork should still be required. And the color? Lima bean green. Here now, the swans.

— photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Quick Curry

Monday, February 18th, 2013

During the winter months, it’s easy to get into a pattern of making soups and stews. Root vegetables abound, and there’s just something about a bowl of steaming, savory eats, a comfy couch, a warm blanket and your favorite TV show that makes chilly nights more than welcome.

This recipe — which I call “quick curry” in my house — spices things up a bit by using a combination of freshly ground seeds, turmeric and a bit of curry powder to season whatever veggies I have on hand. Make sure you have a separate grinder from the one you use for coffee, though, or you might be drinking a turmeric-laced cup of Joe the next morning.

Quick Curry
4 servings

½ Tbsp. coriander seeds
½ tsp. fennel seeds
½ tsp. cardamom seeds
7 whole cloves
1 tsp. half-cracked peppercorns
½ Tbsp. ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1½ Tbsp. olive oil
1½ Tbsp. peanut oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
½ red bell pepper, sliced
½ yellow bell pepper, sliced
5 cloves garlic, smashed
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup water
3 russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ pint cream

• Place the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom seeds, cloves and pepper in a spice grinder. Grind until fine. Add the ground turmeric, bay leaf and curry powder to the mix. Grind again until the mixture is fine.
• In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the oils over medium-high heat. Add the spice mixture and saute for 1 minute. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and saute for 1 minute longer.
• Add the water and potatoes to the pot, and increase the heat so the mixture comes to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pot with a lid until the potatoes become soft. Add the cream and stir to combine. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.

Meatless Monday: Enjoying the harvest at Schlafly Bottleworks

Monday, October 29th, 2012

While the drought certainly put a damper on summer favorites like tomatoes (and my front lawn), with sunny days and an adequate amount of rain during September and October, the fall harvest is in full bloom. If you’re craving some locally grown veggies but you don’t have a garden, don’t worry. Schlafly Bottleworks has its own garden and a menu tailored to showcase the produce. That’s right; the people at Bottleworks are kicking backyard farming up a notch with Gardenworks, a seventh of an acre urban farm right next to the microbrewery. Next time you head to Bottleworks, before you sit down for your meal, take a self-guided tour and check out the beds where thousands of pounds of produce are grown and used in menu items for both Bottleworks and the Schlafly Tap Room.

After touring this verdant garden before my Meatless Monday meal, I knew I had to have a high concentration of those freshly grown greens on my plate. Couple the fruits of Schlafly’s labor (I’m talkin’ veggies, though the brews qualify, too.) with wholesome grains, and you’ve got yourself a salad that you can be proud to call dinner. In the Quinoa and Greenwheat Freekah Salad (pictured), protein-packed white quinoa and greenwheat freekah (a roasted green grain) get lightly dressed and studded with black beans, juicy tomatoes and crisp cucumbers. Herbs fresh from the garden brighten up the flavor of this grain salad that is piled atop leafy greens.

Can’t make it to Bottleworks for the harvest before the nighttime frosts begin? No worries; enjoying the Vegetarian Thai Curry made with root vegetables grown under the heaters on the patio, will do just fine, too.

By the Book: The Meat Free Monday Cookbook’s Thai Vegetable Curry

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

The more I cook, the more respect I have for the ingredients I’m working with. These days, I want my produce fresh, my dairy organic and my meat, well, I want less and less of it. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy a juicy rib-eye as much as the next carnivorous culinarian, but it’s more of a twice-a-year thing for me than twice a week. I want to know what the cow ate, that he was treated well and that he was killed in the most painless way possible. Same goes for my poultry and pigs. This feeling of accountability has shined a new light on all that vegetables can be. My boyfriend and I have even come to challenge ourselves to eat meat-free Monday through Friday. And much to our surprise, it’s been an extremely easy adjustment.

So I was ecstatic to see that former Beatle Paul McCartney and his family had teamed up with the Meat Free Monday campaign to release The Meat Free Monday Cookbook. Meatless Mondays is a movement that’s taken flight across the nation to alert people to the health and environmental benefits of focusing on vegetables a little more and meat a little less. (Sauce has even taken part in the movement, showing St. Louisans how easy it is to go sans meat one day a week.) For this book, I knew I wanted to make something hearty, the kind of dish that would show readers that sacrificing meat (no pun intended) doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor or, most importantly, that sense of satisfaction we all seek in a great meal.

Thai vegetable curry seemed like the perfect choice. The sweet lemongrass. The fiery chiles. The flurry of fresh vegetables. The things that make Thai food great are exactly what going meatless is all about.

And most of that held true as I worked my way through the recipe. Most Thai dishes start with some sort of curry paste. It’s a base for all those strong, wonderful flavors. This recipe called for making your own paste – a step I hadn’t seen before and was excited to try my hand at. The technique was simple: rinse, peel, chop, mince and pulse. There was no liquid, so the “paste” was more of a finely minced mixture, but the aroma was pungent and sharp.

The rest of the recipe was mostly a matter of mise en place – ie. much more mincing and chopping than actual cooking. Fine by me. Once I got to the cooking, however, I realized that the timing was a little off. Sauteeing thick chunks of eggplant, mushrooms and red peppers for 1 minute isn’t enough time to allow them to begin to become tender. They needed more like 5 minutes. The same should be said for the rest of the vegetables, added after the coconut milk is brought to a boil. Raw okra needs more than 5 minutes to simmer away in a bubbling broth to truly be its best. I gave it more like 7 or 8 minutes.

Once the sauteeing was over and the vegetables were indeed tender, the recipe finally called for seasoning – as the final step. It instructed to taste and add a dash of soy sauce or a teaspoon of brown sugar to taste. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to cut it. The broth was crying for more salt and more sweetness. Seven or eight dashes and three pinches of brown sugar later, and the broth was sweet and flavorful, with a touch of fire from the chiles. It was a wonderful way to enjoy vegetables. And as the new season brings with it cooler breezes and chillier nights, it’s sure to hit my dinner table again this fall somewhere between Monday and Friday.

Thai Vegetable Curry

For the Curry Paste:
2 shallots, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
1 stick lemongrass, finely chopped
2 green chiles, seeded and chopped
Zest of 1 lime
Small fresh bunch cilantro

1 Tbsp. sunflower oil
1 small eggplant, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
8 baby bella mushrooms, halved (or quartered if large)
14-oz. can coconut milk
6 okra, cut on the diagonal into 3 pieces
8 baby corn, cut on the diagonal into 3 pieces
5- to 6-oz. can bamboo shoots, drained
Handful sugar snap peas, cut in half on the diagonal
2 handfuls bean sprouts
Soy sauce
Soft light brown sugar to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves
Jasmine rice
Lime wedges

• Prepare the curry paste first. Place the shallots, garlic and ginger in a food processor. Add the lemongrass, chiles, lime zest and cilantro stalks (reserving the leaves) and pulse the mixture until finely chopped. You can also make this paste using a mortar and pestle if you prefer.
• Heat the sunflower oil in a large saute pan. Add the curry paste and cook over medium heat for 1 minute until the mixture smells fragrant.
• Add the eggplant, red pepper and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently until starting to become tender.
• Add the coconut milk to the pan with ½ cup of water and bring to a boil.
• Add the okra, baby corn and bamboo shoots and continue to cook for 5 minutes or so until the veggies are tender.
• Finally add the sugar snap peas and bean sprouts and cook for another 30 seconds.
• Taste and add a dash of soy sauce or teaspoon of sugar if needed.
• Serve the curry in bowls garnished with cilantro leaves with jasmine rice and lime wedges.

Reprinted with permission from Kyle Books.

What’s your favorite meatless meal to put on the dinner table? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of The Meat Free Monday Cookbook. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now we’d like to congratulate Frances whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner by Lisa Caponigri. We’d also like to congratulate Earen, whose comment on an earlier By the Book column has won him/her a copy of Cooking Without Borders by Anita Lo. Frances and Earen, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

Meatless Monday: Curry in the most unlikely of places

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I know you may be weary of me right now … Thai curry at an American brewpub? But trust me, the coconut creaminess of Schlafly Bottleworks’ bowl o’ curry will transcend you to the streets of Thailand, and you won’t wanna come back. So grab your passport and head to, well, Maplewood.

Piled on the plate is a mound of all those veggies we love – broccoli, cauliflower, onions and carrots – stewed to perfect curry-consistency: not too soft to lose their natural flavor, but just soft enough to sop up the vibrant yellow sauce. And for all those who think going meatless is about forgoing protein, this dish is packed with a plethora of plant-based protein sources: Tender lentils dot the soft jasmine rice, crunchy cashews provide a chunky bite and silky Mofu (local Missouri soy bean tofu) steals the show.

While packed with flavors of sharp-and-spicy ginger, sweet lemongrass, smoky cumin and that gold-hued turmeric, this dish is subtle – a great gateway into the world of curries for tepid Thai food novices. I like this curry the way it is – just enough spice for me to tolerate – but if you’re the type that wants those beads of sweat rolling down the side of your face, ask your server to kick things up a notch. Just be sure to have a cool Schlafly Summer Lager nearby, ready to soothe those screaming taste buds.

When I used to think of Schlafly, my stomach would growl with thoughts of my former one and only: the Tap Room (as explained here). But now I know better: Bottleworks is actually a mecca for us meatless folk, with a menu that boasts 17 vegetarian appetizers and entrees (not including specials and desserts). It shouldn’t have surprised me that Bottleworks caters so well to us herbivores: Any restaurant that hosts a farmers market in its parking lot certainly has the leaner-and-greener-plate concept down. And trust me, everything on that plate is good to the last bite.

Meatless Mondays: When a home-cooked meal just isn’t happening

Monday, December 19th, 2011

121611_curryWe know what you’re thinking – another vegetarian column, really? Just give us a minute. Meatless Mondays is a movement that’s building across the country, one built not around a hatred of meat or a stance against the way animals are treated but rather a love for vegetables – and the health benefits that come along with them. While the Meatless Monday concept hasn’t quite picked up in St. Louis yet, we’re here to show you just how easily it could. From meat-free recipes to make at home to dishes around town that let the veggies truly shine – welcome to Meatless Mondays, a new weekly online column.

I love a home-cooked meal as much as the next food-obsessed gal. Conceptualizing what I’ll cook, making the grocery list, walking to my local market and whipping up something that excites my taste buds – it’s a luxury I look forward to day in and day out. But on a dreary, rainy Monday after what seems like an endless workday when the sun has set long before I’ve even left the office? Call me lazy, but the allure of creating an exciting new dish from scratch is going, going … gone.

Thankfully, just a five-minute walk from my downtown office is Sen Thai Asian Bistro (aka the perfect Monday refuge). Sen’s silky smooth Kao-Soi curry with vegetables is my go-to item at this oft-visited eatery. The broth-style noodle bowl immediately warms me up, from the piping hot dish to the rich aromas that fill the table as soon it arrives. This is my kind of curry: filling an oversized bowl with a high sauce-to-stuff ratio.

The sauce is a yellow curry-coconut milk broth that’s sweet yet very savory. If you’re the type of person who likes to dump loads of red chile paste into your curry (like my boyfriend, who then sweats awkwardly across the table), go for it; I won’t judge you. But I won’t join you either – I think this curry is perfect all on its own, with an intoxicating blend of spices that leaves a kick on your tongue (the kind we all hope for in a Thai curry).

Don’t overlook the stuff in the bowl, either. Crispy egg noodles sit atop a mound of carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and baby corn. Stir up the dish before you dig into the veggies and let them soak up the luscious broth. Sure, the egg noodles sitting at the bottom of the bowl provide a little sustenance – but in my eyes (and stomach), they’re just another vehicle with which to sop up that succulent sauce.

At $12, this dish is not only a steal for the generous portion but the perfect medication for the Monday blues – no matter how low those temperatures dip.

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