15 Minute Vegetarian Green Curry with Black Rice Noodle
This recipe is in the same vein as my 15 Minute Vegetarian Stir Fry recipe. These two easy, inexpensive, healthy and satisfying meals are something you can add to your weekly repertoire to replace unhealthy fast food alternatives.
There are some staples used here that I always like to have in my kitchen. Each of them can be found in the Asian section at any Western grocery store.
Time permitting, I really like making my own curry paste. I make it using a blend of toasted chilis, shallots, garlic, ginger, tumeric and lemongrass. It’s fun to make at home as you can adjust it to taste or preference.
Sometimes however, I either don’t have all the ingredients on hand, or I simply don’t feel like making a batch so I like to have a few jars of premade curry paste in my cabinet.
Most likely you’ll be able to find the Thai Kitchen brand in red and green curry paste locally. For this recipe, I’m using their green variety which is a blend of green chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, lime peel, salt and spices. How can you go wrong with that?
Another item I always have on hand is coconut milk. There are so many ways you can use it to make rich and creamy sauces that are lower in sugar than those using dairy milk. Coconut milk is full of electrolytes like potassium and phosphorus which help bones and teeth to be strong. It’s rich in the healthy kind of fat you need but contains less than 10 percent of the sugar as 2 % dairy milk. Coconut milk also fights bacterial and viral infections and is a high iron food that helps healthy red blood cell development which transports oxygen throughout your body.
As our salt component in this curry, we’re using fish sauce, an age old ingredient that you definitely should have on hand but that carries an unfounded stigma. Many are under the misconception that fish sauce is made with rotting fish. This is inaccurate.
The reality is that fish sauce is made from fermented fish. Good quality fish sauce uses small fish like anchovies which are packed in salt and water and the longer the fish ferments, the less fishy the flavor will be. The salt removes the impurities like if you were salt curing salmon or other fish before smoking it.
If done right, it takes around 12-18 months to ferment. The process turns the fish to liquid which is then strained. Cheaper versions of fish sauce will be watered down at this stage but good quality products will not.
This process is not to be confused with decomposition. In actuality, it is the process of preventing decomposition which would result in a product dangerous to consume as it may be accompanied by the growth of harmful bacteria.
Food needs salt. That’s just the reality of it, but fish sauce trumps salt in my opinion, not only because it contains less sodium chloride, but because it does so with more range in depth of flavor.
Last but not least in my pantry provision wheelhouse are dried noodles. I will often store a bounty of varieties for different applications under the premise that they have a long shelf life and are versatile. Just about anything you may consider eating with rice, would be just as well suited with a bowl of noodles.
For today’s curry, I’ll be using black rice noodles.
Aside from just looking cool and unique, black rice noodles also bring along some good nutritional content to the party. In fact, black rice is significantly more nutritious than white rice. It’s gluten free and high in iron, calcium, zinc and B vitamins. It helps the liver to detox the body as an antioxidant and it’s high in fiber.
When using noodles, follow the cooking instructions on the package. Some thinner rice noodles will just need to be soaked while thicker noodles, like the ones we’re using today, should be cooked more traditional in boiling water until tender.
- 1 package black rice noodles
- Tbsp grapeseed oil
- ½ onion – sliced
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- 2 inches ginger – peeled and minced
- 3 pounds assorted hearty vegetables cut into bit sized pieces (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, squash, onion)
- 2 Tbsp green curry paste
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 limes – juiced
- Cilantro leaves – for garnish
Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Rinse in cold water then toss in a bit of oil so they don’t clump together.
Use a large wok on high heat. Add the oil and then the onions. Cook for 3-4 minutes then add the ginger and garlic. Toss in all the vegetables and the curry paste and cook for about 3 minutes. It is very important to cook the curry paste in order to develop its flavor.
Add the coconut milk, bring to a light boil then reduce the heat to low/medium. If you have a lid, you can cover the wok, otherwise just cook until the vegetables are at your desired doneness. I really like crunch and texture to my vegetables, so I don’t cook it for too long, about 3-5 minutes.
The coconut milk will have reduced and thickened a bit. Add the lime juice and fish sauce. Taste the curry and adjust seasoning if needed. If you need more salt, add a bit more fish sauce.
From this point you have two options. You can fill your bowls with the noodles and spoon the curry on top or you can place the noodles in the wok with the curry to combine. If your curry is a bit thin, I suggest mixing with the noodles. The starch will help finish the job of thickening the dish.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and additional lime wedges.