It finally got cozy around here, despite my California soul denying the presence of winter and embracing all of the raw veggies and juices (which I am still keeping in the rotation). It took a three day snow storm to lure me into a warm simmering-something on the stove, and I’m okay with that. I like to wait for things to pull me in, rather than force them upon myself in order to “fit the mold”. Its halfway through winter, the groundhog predicted an early spring (whatever that means, but he’s cute and I like spring so I’m in), and I’m finally bringing you a cozy meal that I am rather smitten with at the moment. In response to your wonderful suggestions for the new year here on the blog, I’ve created a super simple weeknight meal. It only takes two pots on the stove to make, a blender does all of the sauce work (meaning: no slaving over a chopping board, just throw it in and press “puree”), and it comes together within thirty minutes. Can I get a HOO-RAY?
I have the lovely people over at The Protein Bar to thank for my recipe inspiration today. They are celebrating spices this month and their unique health benefits as well as tasty uses in everyday meals. One of the spices they are wishing to highlight is Thai ginger, something I had never hear of before, and immediately wanted to plunge into the “discovery” stage with this new-to-me ingredient. This is something I cherish, discovery. When it comes to food there seems to be an endless list of ingredients I have either never heard of or never given a thought to try. Even after years of buying up all the weird looking produce I can’t pronounce, and ordering packages of superfoods from all over the world, I still find something weekly that makes me go “huh?”. Last week it was Thai ginger. So I plunged into research mode, and came up with some details below for you to peruse (if you are like me and now must know). It’s a spice I will no longer look over, but include in my repertoire of Thai food recipes from here on out – and I hope you fall in love with it’s flavorful magic too!
WHAT IS THAI GINGER
It’s easy to get ginger and Thai ginger confused. They both have a pale, silvery tan skin and are a type of rhizome. Unlike roots, rhizomes actually are stems that grow underground. Above ground, the stems lead to a tall, green herb plant. Of the two varieties here, ginger is more pungent. Whereas Thai ginger still has notes of ginger, but also citrus, mustard, pepper, and floral tones too. They share the same medicinal properties, however, such as being anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and can help treat nausea. Both are wonderful, used in their own way. But to emulate authentic Thai flavors in your cooking, you will need to make a trip to your local Asian market to pick up a piece of the Thai variety – and it is well worth the effort, I promise.
HOW TO USE THAI GINGER
Thai ginger is tough and woodier in texture than ginger when you slice into a knob. Using a vegetable peeler to remove the skin works well, and then grating on a microplane yields the best consistency when adding it to sauces and baked goods. If you are wishing to infuse a broth, you can simply slice the amount of Thai ginger you’d like into 1/2 inch pieces using a sharp knife, and simmer it directly in the pot on the stove. Just remember to remove it before serving to make sure no one tries to eat it – that would be a tough bite!
ABOUT THE RECIPE
I can’t decide which I love more about this dish, the textures or the flavors. Lets start with the textures. A chewy brown rice jazzed up with the fragrant Thai ginger, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. I could simply eat spoonfuls of this rice alone, and it can be used as a side for a number of dishes. But pair it with a cooked veggie (enter: cauliflower) that has been simmering in a rich and spicy red Thai curry sauce, and I think this combo “wins”. This sauce. Its simple yet bursting with flavors that make your mouth dance. A creamy, sweet coconut milk that is settled down with a bit of vegetable stock. Blended with shallots, garlic, and red Thai curry paste. This sauce was screaming for the mellow flavor and fibrous texture of cauliflower. The rice and this saucy cauliflower nestled up against one another is warming, invigorating, cozy, and bright – all at the same time. I took one bite and immediately felt more at ease. Sunk a little lower into my chair. And smiled. Yum.
This post was sponsored by The Protein Bar. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my work here on Faring Well by supporting my lovely sponsors!
THAI GINGER CILANTRO RICE + CAULIFLOWER CURRY
Makes 4 servings.
Thai Ginger Cilantro Rice
1 cup brown rice, soaked for 12 to 24 hours
2 cups filtered water
2 to 3 teaspoons grated Thai ginger root
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste
Thai Red Curry Cauliflower
1 can (2 cups) light coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 cloves of garlic
salt to taste
3 to 3 1/2 cups cauliflower florets, small chop
Begin by draining and rinsing the brown rice. Add the rice and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until all of the water is absorbed (about 25 minutes). Remove from the heat and let the pot sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Make sure to peel the Thai ginger root before grating (I used a microplane, it works wonderfully). Serve warm, and store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
While the brown rice is cooking, combine the ingredients for the red curry sauce in a blender (except for the cauliflower) and puree until smooth. Add the sauce with the chopped cauliflower to a medium saucepan on the stove. Make sure all of the cauliflower is submerged in the sauce. Leave out any that wont fit and save for another meal during the week.
Bring the pot of sauce and cauliflower to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Let cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft. Divide the rice mixture and cauliflower curry into four bowls, nestled up against one another, and serve.
Seen in this post: sauce pot / bowls / flatware / towel / microplane