Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Product

The World’s Simplest Red Curry

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Happy Memorial Day weekend! I would like to greet you with the simplest red curry recipe in the world. I’d admit that I had not had Thai food or any type of curry before I moved to the US. But I immediately fell in love with Thai curries and started to cook them at home. Over the years, my recipe gets simpler and simpler – it is reduced to the most basic 5 spices that gives you the “Thai” taste. But in my opinion, simpler spice combination really makes the ingredients shine. When you use different proteins and veggies, the curry is supposed to taste different. And this recipe is just that.

This is a really simple dish that takes only 20 minutes to cook. It can be paired with rice or pasta, and can be cooked with whatever you can find in the fridge. It is a perfect Thursday night dinner when all left in the fridge is half an onion, a few leaves of lettuce, and half block of Tofu. That is when this recipe comes to rescue! Do not worry about proportions at all – it taste good regardless if it is protein heavy, veggie heavy, or no protein at all!

Step one: Cook your rice/pasta

This recipe pairs great with rice. It is flavorful, comes with lots of juice, and can be reheated many times. If you like your curry on rice too, remember to cook the rice first, before you start cropping and preparing for this dish.

Step two: Prepare your protein source

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I had half bag of frozen shrimp today, so it is what I used. I have used slices of beef, chicken, duck, pork, fish and tofu. Shrimp and fish are easy to cook through. So if you are cooking curry with shrimp and fish, there is no need to pre-cook them. But if you are interested in trying this recipe with sliced beef, pork, duck or chicken, or Tofu, I recommend pre-sear the protein very fast in a very hot wok with a tablespoon of oil. You can leave the oil in the wok for the next step.

Step three: Gather your veggies

I like to use pepper, snow pea, bamboo roots, and mushrooom in my curry. Today I used celery because it is the only veggie I had in the fridge.  It paired with shrimp surprisingly well!

Rinse and crop your veggies to the size that is slightly smaller that your sliced meat/a single shrimp. I recommend cropping them thin to save cooking time.

Step four: Gather your spices

Crash a few gloves of garlic, grate some ginger (optional), and crop some onion. If you want to eat onion directly, crop them into big slices. Crop the onion fine if you want them to disappear.

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To make something Thai you really only needs a few things: coconut milk, red curry sauce, fish sauce, and some kind of sugar. Palm sugar is the classic choice of sugar for Thai food, and using other form of sugar does impact the taste a little bit. But using brown sugar or raw sugar will still be pretty close. We only have raw sugar in the house (Costco)  – that is what we use in backing, coffee, and cooking. So that is what I used.

As for the coconut milk, you can use any brand in your local grocery store. I got mine from Amazon and it is my add-on items, so I stick to the Thai kitchen brand. But really any coconut milk will do. If the milk has separated in the can, just stir it during the cooking and it will be fine. No fuzz.

What influence the taste of a Thai curry the most to me, is the fish sauce. The best one I’ve had, recommended by a Vietnamese friend who cooks very well, is the three crabs fish sauce – that is why it is so expensive! Squid is a decent alternative and much cheaper.

Step five: Throw everything in the wok…

Just kidding. But I’d say that now it comes the easy part: cooking.

00:00 mins – Add one tablespoon of oil into your wok, or use the left over oil from searing the meat. Brown the onion for a couple minutes

03:00 mins – Add garlic and 1.5 table spoon of of red curry paste, give it a quick mix.

04:00 mins – Add 1 can of coconut milk, half a cup of water (or stock if you want it to be richer), 1.5 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1 tbsp of sugar, bring to boil.

08:00 mins – Add veggie. Cover the pot and simmer for 6 mins

14:00 mins – Add pre-seared meat or tofu, or raw shrimp/fish, simmer for another 5 mins until the meat cooks through

19:00 mins – Dissolve 2 tablespoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoon of cold water, add into the soup. Turn the heat off but leave the wok on the stove, give it a quick stir. The soup will continue to thicken.

20:00 mins – Add the juice from a lime. Taste the soup. The “Thai” taste should be well balanced among fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice, If it is too sweet, add a bit fish sauce. If it is too salty, add more sugar. If it is too sweet and salty, add lime juice.

Enjoy over rice/pasta.

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Outdoor Water Station for Dogs

Outdoor water for dogs

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Roxie and Charlie love to stay in the yard. As long as it is not raining, they always prefer lounging outside to sleeping inside.

We always had an outdoor water station for them at our last rental. It was a big glass bowl that takes about two liters of water, which we refilled once a day. Here in Colorado, the dogs started drinking a lot more water due to the dry weather, and the water we put outside evaporates very quickly.

Soon after we settled in, we started to search for a more updated outdoor water solution for our dogs. We had a few criteria in mind when we started our research:

  1. > 1 liter in volume with a big opening.  Charlie drinks a lot of water at a time. And due to his floppy cheeks, he spills just as much. It is better to have a water station that is shallow and big in diameter, opposed to being small and deep. A big opening of the water bowl not only limits spills, but also allows Roxie and Charlie to drink at the same time.
  2. Automatic refill.  To keep the water fresh,  we would like to keep the water under a relative small volume but refresh it frequently. An automatic dispenser that refills itself saves our labor. We have a faucet in the sunroom to which we can connect the water station.
  3. Can be mounted at knee-height.  Roxie and Charlie have no problem eating/drinking at the floor level. However, we would like to have the option to mount the water station higher.
  4. Inexpensive and easy to fix.

After some research, we ordered a low-end automatic water bowl in which the water can be replenished by the hose after each drink.

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Two screws hold the top down onto the tank compartment, which houses a float.

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It is basically the same mechanism that toilet tank uses. And on either side, there is a vertical edge with two screw holes for the option of mounting it higher.

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All the plastic parts can be taken apart and the water level can be adjusted relatively easily by adjusting float adjustment screw.

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After reconnecting everything and to the faucet, we turned on the faucet and watched the water bowl filled.

(It was raining when I took the video. So the water sound you hear from the beginning is the rain, not the faucet.)

There it it. We have used it for almost a month, and it functions as expected. It refills when the water is low, sometimes while the dogs are drinking from it. Roxie and Charlie do not seem to be bothered by the noise it makes during refill.

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Do you have an outdoor water station for dogs? How expensive is your setup – and is it worth the money? For long-time users, do you notice any pros and cons for your setup? We are pretty satisfied with this $15 little station now, but would like to learn how other system performs. Our tap water is pretty good (from a well). But at some point, we might need to filter the tap water before giving it to the dogs. Anyone has experience with water stations with a filtration system?

How Wonderful Life Is While You Are in the World

Today is a good day because – I found that there is a thing called Burpee Pivot Corners.

I was binge reading posts from a blog I discovered a few days ago: deuce cities henhouse. I love the down-to-the-earth style of their blog and everything about their garden. They live in Minneapolis where the grow season is super short. But everything in their garden looks so beautiful during spring and summer months. I cannot help but drooling over every picture on this blog.

Since we built our first raised bed in spring 2014 and the second one last winter, I started paying a lot of attention to how people design and build theirs. I was impressed how sleek the raised beds look over the deuce cities henhouse and my eyes were drawn to the black edge of the beds – How did they construct it?

Alice, the host of the blog kindly provided the source and it turned out that these were Burpee Pivot Corners. I mean look at it. Is this brilliant? All you need to do is to secure the aluminum tubing onto wood planks with screws (or not!) and lego the two metal pieces together, like this:

Photo credit: deuce cities henhouse

I know it is not absolutely necessary, But this just makes the beds look so much better! And think about the flexibility it offers – I can easily add a side and change the shape of the garden by myself, without asking hubby for help every time.

Don’t you just want to sing this song now? Yes. My life is wonderful now I know IT is in the world!

 

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