Day 60 – Recipe: Jackfruit Thai Curry with Bell Peppers and Cashews (vegan, gluten-free, corn-free)

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The first (and only time) I’ve ever had Jackfruit was at a little vegan restaurant in Los Angeles called Pure Luck. I read on Yelp that it is now closed, which is unfortunate because that place was such a find. Their entire menu was built around jackfruit, they didn’t have any soy or fake meats, just jackfruit (Just Jack! fruit LOL). I think I had some kind of BBQ jackfruit sandwich… I don’t remember exactly what it was but I know it was delicious.

I started looking for Jackfruit recipes online last week because I’d remembered seeing cans of it at the Asian market. The first recipe to catch my eye came up on about.com, Jackfruit Curry with Bell Peppers, Cashews and Lime Leaf, by Darlene Schmidt. Even though I’m not a huge fan of bell peppers I decided to go for it. I’ve made a few of Darlene’s recipes before and they were all amazing, I figured this one would be too.

So I went to Lee Lee’s Market looking for cans of “jackfuit in water or brine” (which I really thought I’d seen there) and all I could find was “jackfruit in syrup”, which wasn’t the right kind. So I went to the frozen section and after 10 minutes of looking I finally found frozen jackfruit (why is it so difficult to find anything at Asian markets?!). But I found both green jackfuit and ripe jackfruit, and unfortunately had a brain fart and couldn’t remember which one I was supposed to buy so I grabbed the ripe jackfruit. Wrong one. This is why I ended up at the store again the next day, to return the ripe jackfruit and get the correct one. This is what I finally ended up with:

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Completely frozen solid. I put it in hot water to defrost and it was fine after 30 minutes. I ended up using 2 packages because it didn’t seem like there was much fruit in one package. So here is the recipe I followed, it is slightly different from Darlene’s only because I couldn’t find vegetarian fish sauce, but nevertheless it turned out absolutely delicious. I will definitely make this again. I don’t know if it was the brand of jackfuit I used or what but it was different than I’d remembered. This time the texture was more like a canned artichoke heart or hearts of palm, and kind of tasted like that too… but it was still really good.

Jackfruit Curry with Bell Peppers and Cashews

  • 2 packages frozen jackfruit, preferably unripe/green, OR 2 cans prepared jackfruit in water or brine (not syrup), drained

  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 12 wedges

  • 1 large green bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped/sliced

  • 1 large red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped/sliced

  • 5 dried black mushrooms, soaked in water for 2 hours to rehydrate then drained, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup dry roasted (unsalted) cashews

  • 1 can coconut milk

  • generous handful of fresh basil for garnish

  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil for stir-frying

  • white wine (or white cooking wine) for stir-frying

PASTE:

  • 3 large green onions (or 6 small), sliced thin

  • 2 fresh red chilies (or more if you want it ultra spicy), sliced thin

  • 8 whole lime leaves, fresh or frozen, snipped into tiny strips

  • 8 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 Tbsp lime juice

  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos

  • 1 Tbsp dulse, snipped into flakes

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

  • 4 Tbsp tamari sauce

  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar

PREPARATION

  1. First, prepare the curry paste. Place all paste ingredients together in a food processor or mini-chopper and process well. Lime Leaf Tip: Prepare the lime leaves using kitchen scissors to cut out (and discard) the hard central stem. If lime leaves are frozen, you can quickly thaw them by running under some hot water. Set paste aside.

  2. Cut jackfruit into desired bite size pieces, either in strips or cubes/chunks (as you would with chicken). Set aside.

  3. Place 2 Tbsp. oil in a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add a little of the wine (1/2 to 1 Tbsp. at a time) instead of more oil whenever wok/pan becomes dry.

  4. Add the bell peppers. Continue stir-frying another 3 minutes, or until peppers have softened and turned bright in color. Again, add a little wine when wok/pan becomes dry to keep ingredients frying nicely.

  5. Add the green jackfuit and black mushrooms. Stir-fry another 3 minutes and add wine for stir-frying if needed.

  6. Add the paste you made earlier, plus the coconut milk. Stir well to combine.

  7. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, allowing curry to gently simmer 2-3 minutes, or until ingredients are nicely cooked, but not overcooked. Tip: Try not to overcook this curry, or you will lose the fragrance and taste of the paste.

  8. Just before serving, add the cashews, gently stirring them in. Now do a taste-test, looking for a balance of salty, sour, sweet and spicy. If not salty enough, add more tamari, or a little salt. If too salty for your taste, add another squeeze of lime/lemon juice. If not spicy enough, add more fresh chili. If too spicy, add a little more coconut milk. Add a little more sugar if too sour.

  9. To serve, either portion out in bowls or on plates, or ladle the curry into a serving dish. Sprinkle with generous amounts of fresh basil, and serve with brown rice or quinoa. ENJOY!

Serves 4 – 6, depending on how much they like curry!

 

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Day 36 – Recipe: Thai Spiced Roasted Potatoes

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Since I’m (thankfully) allowed to eat potatoes, I’m constantly trying to figure out how to keep them interesting. I had some Thai red curry powder in my cabinet and thought I’d try and attempt to roast some potatoes with Thai spices. I really liked the way the Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes turned out so I adapted that recipe and came up with this. It turned out really good! Similar to the Aloo Gobi but different. And it only took me 30 minutes. I will definitely be making this again.

Thai Spiced Roasted Potatoes***

  • 1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/4 lb (about 5 medium) red new potatoes cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I left the skin on)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1.5 teaspoons Thai red curry powder
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

Put oven rack in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss yam and new potatoes together in a bowl with 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread onto a shallow baking pan (covered in parchment paper for easy clean-up) and roast, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are just tender, about 25 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, lemongrass, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add red curry powder and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted potatoes. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

***Adapted from Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes at Epicurious.com

This will serve 4 as a side dish but my hungry mouth ate 3/4 of the pan in one sitting. Woops.

Day 32 – Recipe: Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes (Aloo Gobi)

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It’s official, I’ve made it through an entire month of my vegan, gluten-free, corn-free and (mostly) soy-free diet. There have been a few occasions where I’ve mistakenly eaten corn, gluten and soy but for the most part I think I’ve done really well.

Some people have asked me if I am feeling better yet and the truth is that I haven’t seen much improvement. My body temperature is running hot, I still get overheated, sometimes I get randomly nauseous, my energy is pretty low… I don’t feel as terrible as I have in the past but I don’t really feel that great right now. From what I understand it is going to be between 3 and 6 months before I really start feeling the effects of the diet. At least I’ve got one month down, just a few more to go.

The good news is though that I FINALLY was able to make an Indian dish that tasted good, really good. So good that I practically ate the entire pan. And it only took 30 minutes – a miracle! Once again, this recipe is NOT mine, I found it on epicurious.com and you can view it here, Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes. I don’t even think I changed anything, I made some small substitutions (like using red potatoes cause they were on sale) and I left the skin on the potatoes because I felt like it. The only thing I would do differently next time would be to use parchment paper instead of foil on the baking sheet because the potatoes stuck to the foil like glue. But this recipe is super good, go make it now!

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

  • 1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets
  • 1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used red new potatoes and left the skin on)
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup water

Put oven rack in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 475°F.

Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread onto a shallow baking pan (covered in parchment paper for easy clean-up) and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

I used more potatoes than cauliflower but I weighed everything out to equal 3 lbs. I also used 1/4 tsp less salt than original recipe calls for.

This recipe has just the right amount of spice to it. I will definitely be making this again.