Monday, August 9, 2010

Get Better in a Curry - I Mean Hurry!


I don't know what's up with my immune system lately. My stomach has had good days and bad days over the past month, and now I'm stuck with a winter-style head cold. WTF?

Wednesday I went to Bikram yoga to work out the stomach issues. Thursday I was achy, and I thought it was from yoga. Or my lack of eating, due to said stomach ills. Friday I had a sore throat, and that totally didn't make sense - maybe the air conditioning? Nope. By Friday night I was all aches, and Saturday I woke up all spacey and stuffed up. Seriously, WTF!?

Saturday afternoon I pushed myself to Bikram class again, which really did help open my sinuses up. It was actually a pretty good class, possibly because I wasn't distracted by the usual wandering thoughts. There wasn't much room for thoughts in my head,  since my cold is eating my brain.

Last night, in further efforts to get well, and minimize time spent standing in the kitchen, I decided to throw a bunch of stuff in the slow cooker. I thought a spice-rich coconut curry might be just what we needed. The coconut, lime and mint make it refreshing for a hot day, and I had plenty of fresh summer vegetables to throw in. I'm feeling so much better today - and looking forward to lunching on my leftovers!

Curry ingredients actually have a boatload of health benefits:
-Turmeric: Healing & Antiseptic
-Coriander: Relieves Anxiety & Insomnia
-Black Pepper: Antibacterial & Antioxidant (to name only a couple benefits)
-Allspice: Relief of headaches and Digestive problems
-Chili Peppers: contain multiple Vitamins that boost the immune system
-Cumin: Boosts immune system, good for asthma
-Cinnamon: Antioxidant
-Onions: Antibacterial, among many other benefits
-Coconut: Kills influenza and other viruses and bacteria
-Cashews & Eggplant: both Antioxidants

Slow Cooker Coconut Eggplant Curry
(6-8 servings)
1 C Green Beans, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
1 Large Carrot, peeled and sliced
1 Medium White or Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Small or 1/2 Large Italian Eggplant, cut into 1” cubes
2 C Vegetable Stock
1T to 2T Curry Powder
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1/8 tsp Cayenne powder
1 Cinnamon stick

1 C Raw Cashews + more for serving
1 14oz can Coconut Milk
2 T fresh Lime Juice + wedges for serving
1 tsp fresh chopped Mint (spearmint) per serving

Brown Jasmine Rice, cooked following package directions (allow 1 hour for cooking)

1. Add first 10 ingredients to crock pot or slow cooker (do not preheat). Set to Low and leave for 4 hours. Stir occasionally to cook evenly.

2.  Soak 1C cashews in coconut milk while the vegetables cook.

3. After about 2 hours, remove the cinnamon stick so it does not overpower the flavor.
*By 4 hours, the eggplant should be broken down - this is OK - it will become part of the sauce.

4. After at least 4 hours cooking, puree the cashews and coconut milk in a blender. Remember to cook the rice.
*You may need to heat the coconut mixture gently to in the microwave if you've refrigerated it.

5. Add the cashew coconut milk to the cooker and mix together. Check seasoning and add more curry powder, salt or cayenne if needed. Add the cinnamon stick back in if desired.

6. Return the curry to a simmer by increasing the slow cooker temperature. This may take from 10 minute to 30 depending on the cooker. When the curry is heated through, add lime juice to taste.

7. Serve topped with chopped fresh mint, lime wedges, a pinch of cayenne if desired, and rice.

*I always add nuts to coconut curries - but I found a Tyler Florence recipe where he blended them in. I've been making cashew cream lately for vegan recipes, and thought this would be a great way to add protein and texture to this curry. It worked out great.

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