Friday, October 8, 2010

But I thought I hated curry?

I must've had about four different tries with curry. Each time I'd get cajoled into going along with my friends to some unknown Indian restaurant, I'd order something that seemed to be the safest for a bland-paletted white boy and it'd come crusted in curry. I've read over and over that there are thousands of different curries, but this seemed to me to always be the same kind. Like there's only one Curry Depot in Minnesota and all Indian restaurants order from it.

I HATE that kind of curry flavor. The sauce is a type of bright yellow you don't find in nature and it's got an underlying pungency that tells you you're in for the kind of night where your toilet seat leaves a large red ridged ring around your ass.

Flash forward about 18 months since my last Big Wheel ride into Currytown. I found a recipe on the Whole9 site titled "Steal This Meal - A WokTastic Stir Fry." Link - I love stir fry. I love asian cuisine. I love everything that doesn't involve fish sauce (which means quite a bit of vietnamese cuisine doesn't appeal to me but I would knife fight a baby to get at some vietnamese spring rolls). In other words, right up my alley. Since I just linked to the recipe I'll let that do the talking and just describe what I did.

I went shopping at the Valley Natural store. This time it was way more expensive. Evidently making roast = cost effective. Making pork based stir fry with organic vegetables = $30. Gah. On top of that there was some other stuff I had to pick up since I found a follow up recipe I wanted to throw in the crock pot - pork carnitas. I also needed coconut oil, another chicken since I was there, and the thing that made the stir fry meal - Coconut Aminos.

I'll get to the Aminos in a minute. I'm not even sure I'm supposed to capitalize Coconut Aminos, but since it is probably going to singlehandedly make this Whole30 trip bearable, I will.

Took me about 15 minutes to wash and chop all of the veggies. I just chopped, moved the chopped stuff off to the side of the cutting board to make more room for chopping, and it turned out to look pretty cool when I was done. It wasn't intentional but it looked so awesome I took a picture. Yes, that's my Wusthof 12" Chef's knife up there. I feel like a food Jedi every time I hold it. It'll cut through everything except for another Wusthof.

After that, I cubed the pork chops. The $10 for 2 of them pork chops. Gah. Brought out the wok, dropped 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the bottom of the wok and I was off to the races. The recipe calls for garlic powder. Seriously? Garlic Powder? The whole point of this exercise is to make us eat good, whole, natural, super organic food and you're using garlic motherfucking POWDER?! A head of garlic is like a dollar. Chop that shit up and add it.

I added the pork and the garlic first to give them a head start. My cubes were a little larger than 1"x1" so I wanted to make sure they had time to cook through and not kill me. A couple minutes of stirring and frying and then I dumped the veggies in. Now I don't know where this guy who came up with the recipe buys his woks, but I could only get about half of the total veggies in there. I also probably should have only had one pork chop, but I'd already added all of the pork. If you have a wok that can double as a cauldron, you'll be okay. If not, chop everything, halve it, and then stick the remainder in the fridge because you're going to be jonesing for this around 3 AM. Then you'll have to get up and make it while watching Snuggie informercials.

I did use cayenne pepper to spice it up, but next time I think I'm going to see if I can't find a jalapeno or some other more asian-ey red pepper to chop and use fresh. It gave me heat but no flavor. I bought a tin of Watkins organic curry powder and didn't use any additional turmeric. The curry powder is pretty strong - I used maybe 1/2 tsp for the whole wok and it was very curry-ish. Not at all the same "MEGAHOMOGENIZEDCURRY" flavor I'm used to having my stomach turn at. It looked like I was about to make an actual curry. Then, my brain says, hey, you should throw some Aminos in that shit.

Thank you brain, you rock.

Here we go. Coconut Aminos. How you can get a soy sauce out of a fucking Coconut tree is beyond me. But they did it. In fact, I like its taste even more than I do my standby brewed Kikkoman. And Kikkoman is GOOD. It's not nearly as overpoweringly salty. I poured about a quarter cup of Aminos in it, and that woke everything up. The pepper, the curry, and the Aminos worked together to make a brilliant complex sauce. A bit indian, a bit asian. 100% WIN. Oh yeah, Aminos were mentioned on the Whole30 site so they're Paleo-acceptable.

I kept stirring and frying over medium high heat for about 8 minutes or so. I think next time I'll let it go on med high for another couple minutes to decrisp the veggies some - they were very crisp and it was hard to stab em with a fork. Then, I think I'll drop it to low and let some of the liquid reduce to make a much thicker sauce. With the onions and the tomatoes and all the other veggies, it was pretty thin after I turned the heat off. Thin, but full of flavor. Normally I'd just add a bit of corn starch to thicken it up but I think that's off limits for Whole30. Maybe not - I don't rightly know.

I ate 1/3 of it for dinner, while watching another episode of Law and Order. Then I ate another 1/3 of it for dinner. I was about to polish off the remaining 1/3 but forced myself to quit since I needed food for work tomorrow... Er... Today. It heats up well too. I poured a small dish of additional Aminos to dip the stir fry in as I ate it.

I think next time I'm going to get some fresh ginger and grate that in there too.

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