Chef Michel Stroot’s Thai Vegetable Medley

Every year, Janice and I go to Rancho La Puerta for a week.  One year, we were lucky to have the acclaimed chef, Michel Stroot teaching some wonderful cooking classes.  In one of the sessions, he demonstrated how to make this delicious dish that uses autumn vegetables.  Try it… take my word, it’s worth it.

This curry dish is dedicated to Deborah Szekely, the founder of the Golden Door and my mentor and supporter who has guided me through many years of culinary adventures. Deborah loves bold flavorful dishes, and curry is one of her favorites.

The Golden Door Cooks Light and Easy : Michel Stroot

Thai Vegetable Medley with Coconut Milk and Cilantro

Serves 4

2 cups steamed fluffy brown rice (recipe below)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Neck of 1 butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium turnips, trimmed and cut into 8 wedges each
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 medium red or fingerling potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth, or more as needed (recipe to follow)
1 teaspoon red or yellow Thai curry paste, or more to taste
1 cup low-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Cook the brown rice and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan and set over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, onions and salt; cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions begin the soften. Reduce the heat to low and, in separate sections of the saucepan, add the butternut squash, turnips, carrots, potaotes and zucchini. Scatter the tomatoes over the other vegetables; simmer gently.

In a separate saucepan set over medium heat, whisk the hot broth with the curry paste until the paste dissolves. Pour just enough of the curried broth over the vegetables to cover them; simmer over medium heat, covered , for 20 to 25 minutes, or unitl the vegetables are tender but not overcooked.

In a separate pan set over medium-high heat, boil the coconut milk until it reduces in volume by half. Pour over the vegetables; simmer gently for 5 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, stir in the lime juice. Spoon equal portions of cooked brown rice into warmed bowls and top with the curry. Scatter cilantro leaves on top for garnish.

A note – we make this using extra virgin olive or coconut oil instead of the canola oil.

Steamed Fluffy Rice

Makes 2 cups

Learn this recipe and you’ll never need another. It works equally well with white or brown rice, jasmine or basmati. Just remember that brown rice takes longer to cook than white, so time your rice accordingly. Of the brown rice varieties, long-grain brown rice is easier to cook. The short-grain brown rice, also called California brown rice, has a tasty nutty flavor and a somewhat chewy texture as well as a longer cooking time: 30 minutes.

3/4 cup brown, jasmine, or basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 bay leaf

Combine the rice, broth or water, and bay leaf in a medium-size pot set over medium heat; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes for white jasmine rice, 25 minutes for brown basmati rice, 25-30 minutes for long-grain brown rice or brown jasmine rice, or 30 minutes for short-grain brown (California) rice-or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and fluff with a fork; keep warm until ready to serve.

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