Friday, April 22, 2011

Simple Thai

Have you ever noticed the absurd amount of restaurants in Burlington? I mean like, actually realized how many options there are?

With such a mind blowing variety, you'd almost mistake this whistle-stop for being culturally diverse. We can thank them for broadening our dining horizons. I, for one, don't know what I'd do without La Fiesta, La Cocina, Mar Y Sol, Pancheros, Moe's, Qdoba, Cancun or even Taco Bell.

And thank goodness that whenever I'm cravin' asian, I can choose between Red Bowl, China Gate, Simply Thai, Hibachi, Hong Kong, Anna's Thai Sushi, Panda Express, China Inn Buffet, Harusaki or Tokyo Express.

Nowadays, that tiny drawer I once chose to store menus has become so stuffed, it barely even closes. I'm lookin' at you, China Gate. Slipping six copies of your menu under my door still doesn't make me like you.

Ordering take-out around here quickly goes from being the perfect lazyman's solution, to being the most complicated decision process of the day. Kind of counteracts the whole reason why you're ordering take-out in the first place...

Unfortunately we know, it's inescapably necessary-- there's nothing worse than diner's remorse. Or as my roommate Danielle calls it, food regret. And no, I'm not talking about the side order of guilt that comes free with your hush puppies. Food regret occurs when you don't take adequate time to consider each option, and suddenly your Greek salad with chicken looks pitiful next to your friend's pepperoni calzone. Shit.

So, in the 30 minutes (or hour if it's Mike's Deli) that it usually takes for the delivery guy to track down your address, you can make this delicious rice dish and save yourself the $8.74 plus tip. I guarantee, it's a whole lot better than the stuff you get in styrofoam.

Thai Coconut Curry Sauce with Brown Basmati Rice
Makes 1.5 cups of sauce or about 6 servings 
*For serving, use 1/4 cup of sauce for every 2 cups of cooked rice

Organic Brown Basmati Rice
[1] tsp canola oil
[1/2] tbsp minced garlic
[1] small red chili pepper, minced
[1] tbsp minced ginger
[1] can organic light coconut milk (13.5 fl oz)
[1/2] tsp curry powder
Dash of cayenne pepper
[1/2] tbsp soy sauce
[1] tbsp chopped basil
Juice of 1 lime
Black sesame seeds
[1] tbsp chopped scallions for garnish

Start by heating a small sauce pan to medium/low heat. Drizzle in 1 teaspoon of canola oil and heat for about a minute. Drop in the garlic and saut√© until it just starts to tan. Then bring the ginger and red chili pepper to the party, turn up the heat to medium, and cook for about 3 minutes. 

Next, stir in the coconut milk. Add the curry powder, soy sauce, and as much cayenne pepper as you can handle and whisk it all together. Turn up the heat to medium and let it cook until simmering. 

When the sauce is bubbling, take off the heat and stir in lime juice and chopped basil. 

Cook rice according to package instructions. I actually used a 90 second rice-in-a-bag because I couldn't find a boxed rice that I liked, so this step took no time at all. It made 2 servings (1 cup each). 

Finally, combine the rice, sauce, and black sesame seeds in a bowl. The hot rice will absorb the creamy, zesty sauce. For garnish, top each serving with a bundle of chopped scallions. 

So, the next time you're looking for a fast and easy dinner solution, put away your take-out menus and consider making this savory version of a thai classic. 

*This recipe obviously makes a lot of sauce, so either cook a lot of rice reserve the rest for later! Click here to find out what I did with the leftovers!

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