I am a fan of ready-made pastes, homemade or otherwise. They are lifesavers whenever a meal has to be whipped up quickly. As some of you may already know, I always have a jar of rempah in my fridge.
Here's a Vegetable Curry dish - a no-brainer, really - which I make using the rempah. I never thought of adding corn until I dined at a Thai restaurant in Katoomba. I was on a family vacation in Sydney and spent 2 days visiting the Blue Mountains.
Being tropical islanders, we were always in need of extra warmth (it was winter) despite being bundled in thick clothing. That came in the form of hot spicy food. This particular restaurant served really good vegetarian fare. Their curry, in particular, was aromatic and very delicious. I instantly noted the subtle sweetness the corn contributed to the gravy.
Come to think of it, that trip was about, what, seven years ago! Time for a re-visit, don't you think?!
Use any combination of vegetables you like. My usual suspects are:
- Round cabbage
- Brinjal (eggplant)
- Long beans
- Firm potatoes
- Tau kwa (firm tofu), cut into cubes and fried beforehand
- Hard boiled eggs
- 2 Tbsp rempah
- 1/2 packet coconut milk (I usually use Kara)
- Kaffir lime leaves or lemongrass stalks
1. In a large pot, heat some oil. Fry the rempah briefly.
2. Add in the vegetables except the tau kwa and hard boiled eggs. Mix and toss so that the rempah is mixed evenly.
3. Add some water so that the veggies don't burn. You don't need the veggies to be totally submerged - that would be too much water! For a start, add 2 rice bowls of water and take a look when it starts bubbling. It's best to keep your heat medium once you have reached a rolling boil. As long as the gravy is gently bubbling, it's good enough. Remember that as the cabbages soften, they also contribute water content to the gravy, so go easy on the water.
4. When the cabbages have wilted, add some coconut milk. Don't pour in all at once - add them in 2 or 3 instalments, so that the flavour is absorbed as the veggies cook. If it still looks dry, add a bit more water. Cover pot and allow curry to simmer.
5. Every now and then, give the curry a gentle stir and add more coconut milk. Throw in fried tau kwa cubes, hard boiled eggs and salt (to taste) about 5 mins before turning off the flame. The curry should be ready in approximately 30 mins.
It's a fallacy that meatless = bland. I can assure you that this dish certainly is anything but. Don't take my word though. Try it!