Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Eat to Live Cookbook Project: Thai Vegetable Curry

Like many of the recipes from the Eat to Live Cookbook, there is a good idea in there that could benefit from better execution. I'm not a trained chef, but I have been cooking for thirty years and have come to be a little picky as the years have passed. Perhaps it's the awareness of food that I now have as a food blogger, or the fact that my business partner has taught me to be a very critical (in a good, productive way) taster and cook. This dish falls into that category--good , but should be so much better.

Thai Vegetable Curry
from The Eat to Live Cookbook by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, p. 181

Did I like it? With the addition of salt I did.

Was it easy to make with readily available ingredients? This is one of the more labor and ingredient intensive recipes. In fact, there was one ingredient that I left out because I couldn't find it--bamboo shoots. I was also feeling a little cheap and didn't want to invest all of the money into the two cups of watercress leaves, so I just purchased enough for about 1 cup. That might have been a mistake.

I would also recommend the following if you decide to make this recipe:
(1) Roast your eggplant cubes first--for about 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees. If you fail to do this step, I honestly cannot imagine this dish coming out good at all. The eggplant would be very hard to cook properly and the rest of the vegetables would be very overcooked. Add the roasted eggplant right after the other vegetables are just cooked perfectly--you want those green beans to retain their bright green flavor and still have snap to them.
(2) Press your tofu and then roast the cubes before adding it to the curry. I even sprayed my tofu cubes with a bit of Bragg Liquid Aminos before putting them into the oven.

What specifically did I like about the recipe? I loved the choice of veggies for this curry--the shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, and green beans and I would have really enjoyed those bamboo shoots had I found them in time!

I was also pleasantly surprised about the use of carrot juice in this recipe. It was brilliant! Just when I was starting to think, "Carrot juice, again?" It all makes sense after you try it.

What specifically didn't I like about the recipe? I have to admit, I really missed salt on this one. I read somewhere that at the Dr. Fuhrman immersions, folks are allowed to spray Bragg Liquid Aminos onto their food if they need to. A few months ago I picked up one of these handy-dandy Bragg spray bottles and decided that this was the perfect time to use it. The saltiness dramatically effected the flavor of the dis. Without that, this would have been a loser of a dish for me.

I also felt that there wasn't nearly enough sauce on the dish for this amount of vegetables. I have eaten in countless Thai restaurants and I feel pretty confident in saying that this dish would have greatly benefited from twice the amount of sauce.

Did my husband like it? He felt the same way about it as I did.

Did my teenage daughter like it? My daughter agreed. It's okay, but not great.

Did my eight or five year old try it? N/A

Would I make it again? Probably not, but I'm keeping an open mind.

Is there anything I would do to improve on it if I made it again? I would double all of the ingredients that go into making the sauce--the garlic, ginger, basil, cilantro, carrot juice, red pepper flakes, curry powder (perhaps even more than double), and light coconut milk.

I would also consider putting a little lime juice into the dish right at the end. This will absolutely help with the salt situation and just might elevate the dish into something far more delicious.

Overall Grade (completely unscientific, I admit): B (with the addition of salt from Bragg Liquid Aminos); C- without salt

Have you made Dr. Fuhrman's Thai Vegetable Curry? What were your impressions? Leave a comment below.

Still don't have the book? What are you waiting for? These recipes have potential.

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