Thursday, May 31, 2012

A tale of two curries

Today I’m here two tell you a tale of two curries: One cold, one hot.
   Luckily, with both of them, there is no worst of times. Both are excellent!
   Cold-Curry Peanut Noodles from Food Network Magazine is a cold dish, while Bell Pepper & Beef Curry from Eating Well magazine is a warm dish.
   Both dishes have one ingredient in common: Red curry paste, readily available in well-stocked supermarkets.
   The beauty of red curry paste is you can cut back on how much is used if you’re a heat fraidy-cat like me (or increase it if you like things very hot).
   But the recommended amount in both recipes is just about perfect – I could handle both without feeling like my mouth was burning out of my head.
   Both recipes are a cinch to make.

Cold Curry Peanut Noodles (click for the recipe), lovely for these days when it is really starting to heat up outside, starts with spaghetti being boiled (the recipe calls for whole-wheat spaghetti; I used Catelli Smart instead), then being drained and rinsed under cold water.
   Peanut butter, red curry paste, rice wine vinegar, cilantro (ick, we skipped it!), water and salt are pureed in a blender or food processor until smooth.
   The spaghetti is tossed with the resulting peanut sauce, thinly-sliced scallions (green or spring onions), thinly-sliced cucumber and grated carrot.
   The noodles are served. We didn’t bother sprinkling them with red pepper flakes.

Bell Pepper & Beef Curry (click for the recipe), which is perfect served with jasmine rice, starts out with a thinly-sliced beef sirloin or strip steak being sprinkled with salt and pepper, then cooked in a large skillet in heated canola oil. The steak is transferred to a plate, and the skillet drained.
   The heat is reduced to medium, more canola oil is put in the skillet, and cut green beans and red bell peppers are added and cooked.
   Lite coconut milk and red curry paste are combined and poured into the pan, and the mixture is simmered. The beef is returned to the skillet along with chunks of mango (I used canned mango), and is stirred in.

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