It's THAT time of year again. The time where you're being pulled in 1,000 different directions - buying gifts, working holiday hours, decorating the house, posing awkwardly for Christmas cards - you know what I mean. This year is going to be the first year that Lewis and I will be away from family. Normally around this time, I would be helping my mom make enough Christmas cookies to sustain a small country so as you can imagine it's going to be quite the adjustment for me to scale down and only cook/bake for two this year.
While I do have plans to keep the tradition going and make some cookies this year, unfortunately making more practical things like dinner takes priority (although now I just envisioned having cookies for dinner and now I'm slightly disappointed). Curries or a stir fry are always my go-to emergency dinner. They pretty much use the same spices and flavorings and are always on the healthy side.
This is one of those "clean out the fridge" meals that with all the leftover and forgotten items combined, it somehow turns into the most delicious meal of the week. You could easily sub rice for noodles, broccoli and asparagus for peppers and zucchini, or chicken for tofu - whatever you prefer!
For the Coconut Curry Sauce:
1 TBS oil
1 medium sized onion, sliced thin
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 TBS yellow curry paste
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 14-ounce can regular coconut milk
½ cup reduced sodium chicken or veggie broth (more or less depending on how thick you want your sauce)
3 TBS sugar
1 TBS hot chili paste (more or less depending on heat preference)
2 tsp fish sauce (if you don't have fish sauce you can just add an additional Tablespoon of soy sauce)
2 tsp sesame oil
2 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS chopped fresh basil
1 TBS of dried lemon grass
For the Bowls:
4 ounces Pad Thai noodles
1 tablespoon oil
half an onion, chopped
1 medium sized red pepper, sliced thin
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 block of tofu, cubed
squeeze of fresh lime
a handful of fresh basil for serving
Tofu: I always cut and press my tofu before cooking. Place on a greased cooking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F until slightly brown and firm to the touch (about 20-30 min).
Noodles: Place a pan of water on medium heat, bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook 4-5 min. Place cooked noodles in ice water until ready to use (this will prevent them from sticking together).
Sauce: Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, peppers, and zucchini. Cook for 10 min. then add spices (curry, ginger, cinnamon) as well as sesame oil and soy sauce - stir fry for 3-5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, sugar, chicken broth (start with 1/4 cup), chili paste and fish sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes or so while you prep the rest of the ingredients - it should thicken slightly.
Assembly: When the curry has thickened add the noodles and tofu. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime and fresh basil garnish.