I do like strong and bold spices, and food that is full of flavors yet not overpowering. So I gravitate towards Indian cuisine as you may have been able to tell given that I’ve already shared my vegan take on Chicken Tikka Masala and Saag Paneer. Another style of food that I enjoy comes from Southeast Asia, and I’ve been experimenting with Thai and Vietnamese recipes in the past. Most of those recipes do involve some animal ingredients so I wanted to try my hand at testing out the idea that Thai can be vegan.
My first stop on this journey is this Red Curry. You can make your own curry paste but Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste is inexpensive, gluten free and vegan. It worked really well in this recipe so for now I am sticking with it!
In my view the secret to a great Red Curry is to go bold and diverse with your vegetables, and chop them in different ways so that your curry has some interesting color as well as texture. Here I use several different kinds of peppers, sweet potatoes and zucchini. You can use any kind of pepper you have handy. On this day in my kitchen I had a bag of mini sweet peppers that came in two colors, red and orange. I also got some shishito peppers that I’ve never used before but I figured it’s OK to be adventures. At the end, the shishitos turned out to be mild and did not overpower the flavors but I did remove all their seeds before using, which may have reduced any heat they would have brought in. If you do like your curry’s hot, you can use chili peppers, or other varieties with more heat.
Final tip that I think makes a big difference is cooking the sweet potatoes almost all the way through before adding them to the curry. I cooked mine, skin on in the microwave and they came out perfectly sweet and delicious. What also makes a huge difference is using fresh basil and adding it at the very end so that it has just enough time to release its aroma without getting cooked.
Vegan Red Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Zucchini
What you’ll need:
2 large sweet potatoes, skin on
2 large zucchini, unpeeled
6 mini peppers, orange
6 mini peppers, red
4 shishito peppers
1 13.5 oz (400 mL) can light coconut milk
3 tablespoons shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 tablespoons red curry paste (like Thai Kitchen)
10 basil leaves, fresh
What you’ll do:
- Wash the sweet potatoes and put them in a large, microwave safe dish with 1/2 cup of water. Put the lid on, but don’t close all the way. Cook on high in the microwave for 10 minutes. Let stand for 15-20 minutes. Make sure sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle before you peel them. Chop the potatoes into 1 in x 1 in (2.5 cm x 2.5 cm) cubes. Set aside.
- While sweet potatoes are cooking and resting, chop the zucchini and the peppers. You want zucchini chopped into small dice, and red and orange mini peppers into thin matchsticks. Clean the seeds out the shishito peppers and chop them very finely.
- Spray the bottom of a large pan with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Add all the peppers into the pan at once. Sauté for 10-15 minutes, until peppers are soft and their edges start to get brown.
- Add diced zucchini and sauté for another 5 minutes, until zucchini is cooked about half way through.
- Add curry paste, stir well and let sauté for another 5 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and coconut shreds, and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes. Mix well, lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn the heat off, add fresh basil, and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Serve with rice, like the Saffron Brown Basmati Rice, or without it!
Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017