Well, I was a little sore after Sunday’s 5k, but nothing too bad. I’m back at it today with a track workout this evening, weather permitting. And then next week, my 16-week marathon training program begins! 16 weeks seems like such a short time, but when I realize that this blog isn’t yet 11 weeks old, it seems a long way off. I’m so excited about my recent race times that I kind of wish the marathon were even sooner. Not that I think I’m in any kind of shape to qualify for Boston yet; I just want that day to be here.
Killer No-Meat Curry
Yesterday I made this sweet potato curry from a new cookbook I got on sale at Barnes & Noble over the weekend, Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Vegetarian. You might recall that I made a cauliflower curry a few weeks ago and used tandoori powder. Though I liked it a lot, I was a little disappointed because it didn’t have that deep, traditional, restaurant curry flavor that I love so much. So I used regular old McCormick curry powder in this one, and it was great! Plus, it’s cooked in a dutch oven, and boy do I love using my dutch oven. And not just because “dutch oven” makes me chuckle every time I say it to myself. Dutch oven.
I have this anal-retentive friend, let’s just call him Drat, who runs the blog So Neat Mathlete. He has a strange obsession with neat, uniform things, so he coerced me into posting a few photos of the ingredients after I diced them all so nicely. Until I learned a few basic knife skills, my ingredients often turned to mush because I had to chop them so much to get the largest pieces down to size. But now that I’m in the know, chopping is faster, neater and even a little bit fun (for Drat, that is). So one of these days I’ll add a chopping section to the new How to Follow Recipes page.
Anyway, the curry turned out really well. It was the best curry I’ve ever made (but I haven’t made many), and the whole thing only took about half an hour, most of which was just simmering time. I’ve determined that coconut milk is the key to making good curry at home. I used to just sprinkle curry powder on a piece of chicken or some vegetables and wonder why it didn’t have the depth of flavor that I associate with curry. Coconut milk is a way to get that depth quickly. Plus, coconut is so good for you once in a while; get over your 1980’s and early-90’s saturated fat hangup, Zack Morris.
All in all, a great meal. I give it 4 cows for taste, 4.5 for the total package of taste, ease of preparation, and nutrition. Very substantial and filling, with complex carbohydrates (brown rice) and lots of protein, if that’s your thing. Definitely NMA-approved fuel for no-meat marathoner. Here’s my ever-so-slightly adapted recipe. Make it.
Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry Recipe
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- Cooked brown rice, however you like it (we used 2 boil-in-bags this time)
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 Tbsp curry powder
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 15-oz can chickpeas
- 15-oz can coconut milk, solid and liquid parts mixed (just shake the can)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
In a heavy saucepan (Dutch oven if you have it!), heat the oil over medium-low heat. After the pan has heated up for a few minutes, add the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Cook for about 5 minutes until everything is softened. Add the curry powder and stir for 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper (I added a lot of salt, almost a tablespoon).
Add the sweet potato, chickpeas, coconut milk, and water to the pan. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sweet potato is tender. It took about 15 minutes for me. Add the peas and tomatoes; stir occasionally until they’re heated through, about 4 more minutes. Serve over brown rice.