Friday, March 2, 2012

Zucchini, Mushroom and Peanut Curry with Spiced Basmati Rice

Welcome Spring!  Yesterday was March 1st and we had an amazingly beautiful day.  Sunny and 80 degrees!  If this is global warming, I like it (for now... wait and see how I feel about it come July!)

Since we have been eating rather heavily this week, Mary (our "adopted" daughter) suggested we have something light for dinner. Since Mary is a vegetarian we decided to not use bacon! Sacrilege I know, but some things are so delicious on their own, they actually don't need bacon (I can't believe I am writing this!).

That's where this simple and quick curry comes in.  Very basic and very light and very, very delicious.  The zucchini retains its crunch and the mushrooms are earthy and meaty, balanced by a very light curry sauce.  Add some peanuts for crunch and you have a party on your plate.

I like to serve this with a simple spiced basmati rice for extra flavor and fragrance.  Don't be intimidated by the spices. Yes they are unusual and can only be found at an Asian market, but they are inexpensive and will keep for a long time in your pantry.  I like to saute green cardamom, black mustard seed and cinnamon stick in butter to infuse the fat with the spice before adding the basmati rice.  The result is an exotically fragrant rice that is delicious on its own and even better with this curry.

This is a very quick dish to prepare.  Emma and Mary shopped at the Asian market while I was at work, and we prepared this meal when I returned home.  I recommend making the spiced basmati rice before starting the curry, that way the entire dish can be prepared in about 25 minutes!

Zucchini, Mushroom and Peanut Curry with Spiced Basmati Rice
Serves 6-8

8 Tbsp butter
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 lb zucchini, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 lb mushrooms sliced (I used oyster mushrooms and white beech mushrooms)
8 scallions, white and green parts chopped
2 cups bean sprouts
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Thai fish sauce
1 tsp curry powder
1 1/4 cups salted peanuts.

Melt butter over high heat in large skillet.  Add jalapeno, garlic and ginger and saute 1 minute.  Add zucchini and mushrooms and stir fry over high heat until mushrooms sweat and zucchini turns a bright green color (about 5 minutes).  Add scallions and bean sprouts and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes.

In a small bowl combine soy sauce, Thai fish sauce and curry powder.  Pour sauce into pan and stir fry for 2 more minutes.  Add peanuts, stir and serve hot with spiced basmati rice.

Spiced Basmati Rice:
3 Tbsp butter
6 whole green cardamom seeds
1 cinnamon stick broken in half
1 Tbsp black mustard seed
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter in a medium saucepan with a lid.  Add spices and saute over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add rice and toss to coat with butter.  Add water and salt and bring to a boil.  Boil 1 minute uncovered.  Remove from heat and cover with lid and allow to steam for 25 minutes.  Remove cardamom seeds and cinnamon from top of rice, before fluffing with a fork.

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