Tag Archives: Coconut milk

Here’s To You, Tofu: Thai Green Curry with Tofu & Bok Choy

I know I’m not the only one eating less meat these days. I’m not a vegetarian (and probably never will be) but today I crossed a line. There’s no going back now. It’s rather embarrassing to admit, but this was my first time cooking with tofu. I KNOW. But wait! Before you hit “send” on that hate mail, please don’t get the wrong idea. I’ve never been a flag-waving member of the carnivorous denomination known to proudly and lustily consume animal flesh on a daily basis. Ok, so I did go through a wee bit of a steakhouse phase when I first moved to Chicago, but doesn’t that just go along with the whole locavore movement? Embracing the cornucopia of beef varieties native to the Midwest region as one might embrace, say, maple syrup in New England?

Back to my tofu story. I just never really saw the point in cooking with tofu. So obsessed am I with cooking with vegetables that I always felt that tofu was just… dead weight. Not to mention that all of life is a trade off, you choose this over that, don’t you? And so I felt that tofu would take up valuable recipe real estate. Tofu would, inevitably, replace far more deserving, flavorful ingredient candidates. I cringed to think that the vibrance of a sweet potato in the winter or the assertiveness of an eggplant in the summer would lose its rightful place in a dish to a spongy block of white stuff floating about in murky water, unappetizingly packaged in a plastic sarcophagus, and evoking traumatic childhood memories of Lunchables.
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Mark Bittman’s Vegan Coconut Pancakes

These are interesting. In a pleasantly anomalous way. When I think of coconut pancakes, I think of something sickly sweet. Something served on a cruise ship or at a really mortifying resort in Cancun. Negative connotations aside, these are substantial and hearty, humbly anchored in whole wheat flour, enlivened by the addition of nutmeg and allspice, and lightened by the presence of coconut milk and a delectable fruit compote. Consider them an eclectic way to sublimate your cravings for a syrupy stack of buttermilk pancakes into a veritable health food.
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Thai Curry Noodle Bowl with Sweet Potatoes & Chicken

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Thai Red Curry with Whole Grain Udon Noodles

Oh, Heidi. The 101 Cookbooks creator was instrumental in lighting my cooking fire a year and a half ago. Since stumbling across her blog I’ve come to see appreciate the beauty of seasonal cooking and off-the-beaten-path ingredients such as whole grain udon noodles, coconut oil, and shoyu sauce. All of which play a staring role in this delicious, slurp-tastic bowl of hearty, wholesome food. Part of the fun for me of cooking familiar dishes composed of unfamiliar ingredients is the the thrill of the hunt. Trolling the aisles of the MASSIVE Whole Foods here in Chicago and making a pilgrimage to the beloved Green Grocer for ingredients is all part of fun (NOTE: impatient boyfriends may not feel the same way.)

Thai Red Curry with Whole Grain Udon Noodles

3 tablespoons coconut oil
12 oz chicken breasts
fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz dried whole grain or whole wheat udon noodles
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 tablespoons shoyu sauce, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon cane sugar
14 oz can coconut milk
2 cups vegetable stock or water
Juice of 1 lime, plus more wedges for serving
1/3 cup slivered shallots
Large handful of peanuts
Large handful of cilantro, chopped

1.) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grab your dutch oven and heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil over medium-high heat until swirling and hot. Add chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes on one side without moving it until it is nicely browned and detaches from the bottom of the pan with minimal prodding. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more. Set aside. When cooled, break apart chicken into chunks with a fork. Wipe out the dutch oven with a paper towel but do not wash.

2.) Heat a pot of water until boiling. Salt generously and cook noodles until cooked but still quite firm; according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

3.) Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil over medium-high heat in your dutch oven. Add garlic, onion, and curry paste, using your wooden spoon to distribute the paste across the mixture. Cook for 2 minutes; until fragrant. Add chicken, turmeric, sugar, and shoyu sauce and and stir to coat. Add coconut milk and vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

4.) Remove from heat and stir in noodles and limes juice. Ladle into bowls and serve garnished with a sprinkling of shallots, peanuts, cilantro, and wedges of lime.

This recipe was adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson. Published by Celestial Arts, New York; 2007.

My Favorite Curry

Indian comfort food.  For a cold, snowy night when you just want something easy, hot, and unapologetically healthy.  Serve with whole wheat naan for a hearty meal.

Dhal Curry

3 tablespoons mild-flavored olive oil or ghee
3 onions, chopped
2 long, skinny carrots, quartered and chopped
7 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 3/4 teaspoons coriander
1 3/4 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 cups red lentils, thoroughly rinsed
14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups small cauliflower florets
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (I’ve used light coconut milk plenty of times, and honestly loved the results just as much)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1.) Heat the oil in your trusty Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onions, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add carrots, and cook for 10 minutes more, stirring frequently.

2.)  Add the ginger, garlic, and all of the spices.  Stir for a minute to blend.

3.)  Add the lentils and cauliflower, and quickly stir to coat with the oil and spices.

4.)  Add the stock, coconut milk, tomatoes, and salt.

5.)  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat until your curry is pleasantly simmering away.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6.)  Once the lentils have softened, remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice, season with more lemon juice or salt, if you think the flavors need to POP a little more, and serve over rice and/or with naan.  YUM!!