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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making something from nothing - Penang curry

I would like to think that I was some kind of Martha Stewart type who comes home from work every day to a pre-planned menu and a fridge full of fresh ingredients with the time and energy to make everything from scratch. But that's just not me.

A quick scout of fridge unearthed: one porterhouse steak, half a zucchini, half an eggplant, one tomato and about 100 grams of baby spinach. In the back of the fridge was a jar of Penang curry paste, and in the cupboard, one tiny can of coconut milk.

Oh yes, what's that you say? How could I ever dream of using curry paste from a JAR? Yeah well, get over it. I am tired, I am busy. And curry paste from a jar is no where near as bad as take-away. And besides, worse food stuffs come in jars. Pesto from a jar? Eww.

And have you ever tried to make your own curry paste? It's rewarding, but it takes absolutely forever. I just don't have the upper body strength today. I promised myself ages ago that I would make big batches of curry paste and freeze it, I just haven't quite got that far yet. Next weekend for sure.

I really like Penang curry. It is like red curry, just with peanuts in it (sorry, that really is over simplifying). Penang curry likes shallots, limes, fresh and dried chillies, garlic and coriander. Luckily I have these ingredients in the house at almost all times, just in case of Asian food emergency. Add extra fish sauce, and presto, quick semi-authentic (kind of) Thai dinner. Pre-packaged curry pastes only need a little extra love.

And lay-off alright. It's tasty, it has vegetables, and it's not Lean Cuisine (shudder). Although I did stuff around taking the photograph for so long it was kind of cold by the time I ate it. Oh well. And I forgot to put the spinach in. I must be tired.


stephen said...

Looks fab Maggie. We had a quick meal at a Food Tourist's. Home made gougeres with warm fresh cooked ricotta and Ortiz anchovies and lamb chops cooked over the fire with roast celeriac and fennel and silver beet with onion - roquefort and ciabbata and one of Andy Ambromowich's choccies. Nothing really!
Your photo was worth the cold curry. My mouth is watering!

Teashop Girl said...

Looks great...and healthy. Mmm, curry. Now I'm hungry.

Victor said...

Hey Nola - asbolutely nothing wrong to make a quick meal from curry paste. It is definitely better than a microwave TV dinner! At least, you went through the effort of chopping up some ingredients. I do the same too occasionally when I feel tired after a hard day work.

As a Penang born, I will be extra careful of putting the label "Penang" curry. You will have Penang bloggers knocking down your door. There is no such thing as a standard Penang curry paste. The jar used the name "Penang" because Penang is famous for her food and culture, so much so that majority of Malaysian will tell you that Penang has the best food! So the supermarket curry jar selling what the so called "Penang curry" paste creates a false image of Penang food culture. :-)

Lisa said...

Damn that looks good. And I agree wholeheartedly that there is nothing wrong with curry paste from a jar. I have and Indian curry sauce in a jar that I rely on because I don't always want to do the work nor can I find the ingredients. Plus, it's fairly cheap when you consider how far you can stretch it.

That looks so good. You really had me at steak, though.

reb said...

Making something from a jar is to be commended. The other option is to do, well, the other option. (mind you I just whipped up dinner from a packet! Who am I to judge!)