One of the challenges of having a full-time job is figuring out what to bring for damn lunch. Lunch! Lunch has always been my least favorite meal. I never know what I want. I’m not much of a sandwich person and I get really sick of salads. Mostly because I tend to be lazy in my dressing choice, which ends up being balsamic vinegar (too much) and some olive oil. Recently, I’ve been trying to make a big batch of something on Sunday that makes for really good leftovers: a one stop shop for the work week lunch. Last week, this Thai Green Curry was my solution. It’s simple, healthy, satisfying and extremely forgiving. Add any vegetables you have on hand, throw in a protein (chicken, shrimp, tofu, tempeh, etc.), maybe some rice or quinoa and you’re good to go. Lunch for the week: done.
WHY IT’S HEALTHY// Ginger root is great for digestion and can help alleviate many stomach issues. It also has a very high level of antioxidants (higher than berries!) and has been shown to have anti-cancer effects. Ginger is also extremely anti-inflammatory; it has been shown to relieve arthritis pain as well as general muscle soreness. Lemongrass has essential oils which kill bacteria and may have anti-inflammatory properties. Lemongrass also contains iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. It also contains a flavonoid called luteolin, which acts as an antioxidant and has extreme anti-inflammatory properties. Chilies are high in vitamin C and vitamin A. They also contain capsaicin, which is anti-inflammatory and promotes healthy blood flow. This Thai Green Curry paste is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse; strong in flavor and health benefits!//
Lemongrass can be a tricky ingredient to use. I found Melissa Clark’s video from the New York Times on “Preparing Lemongrass,” very helpful. Be sure to remove all of the rough layers or else you’ll end up with stringy curry.
- FOR THE CURRY PASTE// 4 stalks lemongrass, trimmed
- 1 bunch scallions (about 10), ends trimmed
- 4 green chilies, seeds removed
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch piece of ginger root, peeled
- large bunch of fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ cup tamari or soy sauce (or coconut aminos, for paleo)
- FOR THE CURRY DISH// 3 pounds veggies of your choice (I used 1½ lbs of asparagus and 1½ lbs of broccoli)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 14 oz cans of coconut milk
- 1 lime
- 1 red chile (optional)
- protein (optional: cooked chicken, shrimp, tofu, etc.)
- Make the curry paste: set aside a couple springs of cilantro and then add the trimmed lemongrass, scallions, chilies, garlic, ginger, cilantro, coriander and soy sauce in a food processor or high speed blender (I used my Vitamix)
- Process until everything is finely chopped.
- In a large frying pan or wok over high heat, add the coconut oil and sesame oil and stir fry your vegetables for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the curry paste and fry about 30 seconds more before adding the coconut milk.
- Stir well and bring to a boil to cook for a few minutes more.
- Add cooked protein, if using and remove from heat.
- Garnish with red chili (if using), chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime and a bit more soy sauce if desired.