M is working tonight, y’all. Know what that means? It means my usual two-person meals are useless here (unless I want to eat both servings…which, sometimes, I do.) So, what’s a gal to do on lonely nights when she’s got no one to feed but herself? Cereal? Take out? Toaster waffles?
“Hell no.” Pheasant said sharply. “You march into that kitchen and make yourself a meal to be proud of!”
And, pheasants, that’s exactly what I did. So now that you know that, I’ll talk to you a moment about my love affair with curry, shall I?
At the tender age of between 14 and 17 (I can’t remember exactly when…but we’ll pretend I stayed tender for a long, long time) I decided one night that curry was what I wanted to eat, and any other would not satisfy me as a proper curry could.
I’d never actually eaten curry before then, nor did I know how to make it.
My father showed me the curry bricks in the cabinet, pointed to a hunk of meat in the fridge, and told me to go at it, although most everyone (including him) wondered what my intense need for curry was all about. To this day, I don’t know why I had the urge, but I thank every particle of my being that I did. It was glorious: smooth, spicy and rich, with hunks of meltingly-soft potato and beef, slices of carrot, and slivers of sweet, sharp onion…it was like heaven in my mouth. We ate it over rice, and I’m pretty sure that I alone ate two or three bowls of it myself. And the next morning, I had it for breakfast. My curry lust, however, had not been sated.
For the next five months or so, I made curry at every available moment, scarfing it down. I made it spicy, sweet, mild; I made curry in red, green, gold and purple with pink polka dots. We had lamb curries, beef curries, chicken, shrimp, and fish curries…but alas, one day, my family grew tired of my near-East love affair, and they told me, no more curry. So for months, I kissed new dishes and dated new foods, but my one true love, curry, was never far from my mind.
Now that I’ve moved out, I can technically make curry whenever I like, but M isn’t as big a fan of it as I am, so it’s not an often occurrence. Tonight, however, I rolled myself up some chicken meatballs, broke out the curry bricks, and made myself some beautiful, tasty, exceedingly healthy lonely night curry. It’s definitely a dish to be proud of. If you’d like to make it entirely vegan, find yourself some vegan curry blocks and cut out the chicken meatballs (I’d suggest using mushrooms to “beef” up the dish, though.)
4 ounces ground chicken
1 red chile, chopped (optional…if you like it spicy like I do, go for it!)
1/4 c plus 2 tbsp sliced onion
1/2 a carrot, sliced into coins
frozen mixed vegetables (or use your favorite)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
cayenne pepper (optional)
3 tbsp quinoa (optional)
1 3/4 c water, divided
1 curry brick (I prefer Golden House brand, because they thicken well)
Combine the chicken, 2 tbsp onion, one garlic clove, curry powder, garlic powder and cayenne in a bowl. Form into meatballs and set aside. In a pan, saute the carrots, onion, garlic and chile together until softened and fragrant; transfer them out of the pan. Add in the meatballs and sear well, then place the sauteed vegetables, frozen veggies, and 1 1/2 cups of the water into the pan, along with the curry brick, quinoa and extra curry powder, if you like. Bring it all to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover it, set a timer for 13 minutes, and let it go. Check every five minutes or so to make sure the water isn’t evaporating too quickly.
Once the quinoa is cooked through, add in the last quarter cup of water, stir it around to mix, and let it simmer for a moment. Then, take it off the heat, let it cool a bit, and dig in.
I really loved how the little bits of quinoa soaked up curry flavor and turned into little spice bombs…it was delicious. And, with the chopped chile (seeds and all!) and the cayenne, it had just enough of a kick to keep me coming back for more. This meal is definitely something to curl up with on a cold, winter night.
Is there any food you absolutely cannot live without?