Wait, what? Hah, I decided to participate in Tight Ass Tuesday. (Definitely check out the link - we've got ourselves a pretty entertaining writer over there, in my opinion.)
This month's theme was spiiiicy! And when I think of hot food, curries are what hit my brain first. I did a sort of bastardized Indian/Thai eggplant red curry that is well... I've made better, but it works for today.
Pictures, you ask? Yeah, I took some pretty ones Tuesday night, all garnished with green onions, cilantro and crushed peanuts. But, I've been incredibly disorganized lately, and thus I cannot find my card reader. Whoops.
This can also be known as CSA Curry, or "Whatever is about to die" Curry, because if you like curry, you can pretty much put whatever vegetables you like in it. I was also going to add ground turkey (possibly eliminating the $5 price limit), but it turned into a zombie on me. Quite the bummer, considering it was money lost and carnivorous (poultrious?) cravings unsatistfied.
Kick-Your-Tight-Ass Eggplant Red Curry
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 inches ginger, grated or minced
1 pound eggplants, sliced or cubed, whatever
some carrots, sliced
1 tiny bell pepper (about 1/3 size of your typical grocery store pepper, in my case)
1 super hot serrano, or a few serranos, thai chiles, jalapenos, pick your poison
about 1/4 can (2 tbsp?) red curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk (I used light, but I know some people consider that blasphemous)
optional garnish stuff: 1 scallion, sliced thin, some cilantro, crushed peanuts
If you're a sane person, unlike myself (and if you're reading this from TNS), I recommend making rice to go with it, especially since it's vegetarian, and hot. You need some filler.
Now, do as I say, not as I did (that's why the curry wasn't... spectacular. My technique was off on Tuesday.)
Fry up the eggplant until soft in a bit of oil. If you have a big wok, please use that. Otherwise, just use whatever will hold the eggplant. You may have to cook in two batches, which I would normally never recommend, but I do. My eggplant was crowded and I think it steamed too much.
Anyway, sorry, I ramble. Fry up the eggplant, set aside. Throw the onion in the skillet and cook till a bit softened, maybe 5 minutes. I recommend adding the carrots 3 minutes in, and the bell pepper a minute after. Add the garlic, ginger, diced peppers, and curry paste and let them fry a bit, 30 seconds. You'll be able to smell when they're good. Turn the temperature down a bit and add the coconut milk. Mix everything up, and toss in the cooked eggplant. At this point, just let it cook up until the eggplant is the doneness you prefer, and that the flavors have sort of gotten into the eggplant.
This made a big potful, for me, but since it's vegetarian, I'm counting it as three (I lied before) servings. Most people can eat a lot, if they're not burning alive.
A note on ingredients, cost, etc:
The eggplant, carrots, bell pepper were all from my CSA box or my parents' garden. (some eggplant from them) So they were small, baby eggplants, baby carrots, and that's why the pepper was so teeny. It also made the meal incredibly cheap - I pay $225 for 20-22 weeks of vegetables, and the vegetables were probably a third of my weekly pick up.
The serrano (it maaay have been a jalapeno, it was also from my parents' garden) had turned from green to red, sitting out for at least a week and a half, accidentally. So the flavor was intense. Normally, I would use two peppers at least for a curry.
The curry paste is a small, tuna can size container that I get at a Thai restaurant in Chelsea Market. $0.85 for at LEAST four dishes worth of curry paste. I adore the red curry, and I own a can of the green curry paste but have yet to try it.
Because the CSA is so affordable, and I know not everyone uses that, I used the prices from Fresh Direct (which seem vastly overpriced) as recommended by the TNS blogger.
The final run-down on cost:
1 lb eggplant - $1.69
1 white onion - $0.45
carrots - $0.50
1 tiny bell pepper - $0.25?
1 super hot jalapeno - $0.25?
4 cloves garlic - pantry staple
2-3" piece of ginger - pantry staple
~1/4 can curry paste - $0.25
1/2 can coconut milk - $0.50
1 scallion, cilantro, peanuts - these are staples for me, and optional.
rice - $0.75 - optional
$3.89 or $4.64 with rice, aka $1.29 or $1.54 per person!
Pretty damn affordable, and quite a spicy eat! Hopefully pictures will appear in the future...