From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT}borderstan.com
When it comes to exotic dishes, I love getting carried away with heat, the kind of spiciness that has you chugging water and asking the waiter for extra napkins to blow your nose. It’s one of the most cleansing experiences I think one can have with food and is actually proven to cool your body temperature (perfect for muggy summer weather).
Hot peppers are a wonderful this time of year and vary in heat, color, and flavor. Beautiful shades of red, green, and yellow hot peppers can be a great addition to an Arrabbiata pasta dish or vegetable roast. Personally, I love mixing hot peppers with market vegetable bounty in a wok to make curry fried rice.
The Hana Japanese Market at 17th and U NW carries all kinds of curry pastes and spices and I love this brand of red and green curry paste (photo). They also import tons of Asian brands that can be incredibly fun to experiment with at very reasonable prices. If you’re at all concerned about sodium or sugar intake, make sure you check the labels, as many of these prepackaged goods contain high levels of both ingredients.
I love throwing in lots of different vegetables for these curries, but you can add anything in addition to the base formula: mushrooms, meat, seafood, or whatever else you pick up from the market! Using a wok for a larger quantity dish also allows for the opportunity to use hot peppers without accidentally using too many. Feel free to try out different kinds of peppers, but be careful to remove the seeds and wash your hands thoroughly after you chop them! And the best part: it makes for great leftovers cold the next day.
- 1 tsp. Peanut or Sesame Oil
- 2-3 tsp. Curry Paste (to your taste)
- One large clove of garlic
- One sweet onion chopped
- Grated ginger
- Half cup of rice (preferably leftover, as the drier rice add less liquid to the dish)
- Hot peppers
- Crushed Peanuts
- Cilantro or Basil
- Heat the oil and curry paste in a wok on medium high heat.
- The oil will heat quickly and begin to pop so be careful not to burn yourself.
- As soon as the oil begins to crackle, add the garlic, onion, ginger and hot peppers.
- Cook until the onions begin to soften and add vegetables of your choice in order of cooking time.
I made my curry from these vegetables I bought last Sunday and added them to the curry in this order: Japanese eggplant, green bell pepper, grated carrots and yellow heirloom tomato. Stir in rice until fully incorporated and garnish with crushed peanuts and cilantro (or basil if you’re one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes like soap). Top with a fried egg if you (like me) are so inclined, and let me know how your curry experiments turn out!