Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thai-Spiced Stew

Given my somewhat neurotic love for all things Thai and all things soup, when I came across this recipe I was happier than a pig in...Well...You know where I'm going with this.

First off, preparing this was not only simple, it was delightful. The beautiful colors of the fresh vegetables all combined in the soup pot were picture-perfect. I wish I would have taken a photo while the ingredients were in their raw state, but the fact is, I couldn't wait to taste the finished product.


I modified the ingredients to my taste, adding a little more curry paste than the original recipe called for, and also adding the red chile paste that gave it a little heat. I also substituted the sugar with agave nectar. Agave nectar is low glycemic and a healthier option for those who are sugar sensitive.

If you'd like to get fancy, you can add a little more by topping with diced avocado and a squeeze of fresh lime juice, both go great with the coconutty, curry flavors famous in Thai cooking.


Thai-Spiced Stew
By Nava Atlas & Kristen Haney
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly slices
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1-1⁄2 pounds), peeled and diced
3 cups water
1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into narrow strips
1-1⁄2 cups frozen green beans
1 teaspoon red or green curry paste, more or less to taste
1/4 teaspoon red chile paste
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or sugar)
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
2 stalks lemongrass (optional)
One 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
Salt to taste
One 8-ounce package Thai peanut-flavored baked tofu, diced (optional)
Cilantro leaves for garnish

In a soup pot over medium-low heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both are golden.
Add the sweet potatoes and water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are about half done.
Add the bell pepper, green beans, curry paste, sugar, and ginger. If using lemongrass, cut each stalk into 3 or 4 pieces, and bruise by making long cuts throughout with a sharp knife. Stir into the soup pot. Simmer the stew for 10 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk, peanut butter, salt, and tofu. Return to a simmer, then cook over very low heat for another 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender and the flavors are well integrated.
Remove lemongrass pieces. Taste to adjust seasonings, particularly the curry paste if you'd like a spicier stew, as well as the salt, sugar, and ginger. Serve at once, topping each serving with a few cilantro leaves.

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