Spicy peanut + coconut curry bowls
This post was created in partnership with Califia Farms.
I think I've told you guys precisely 1,319 times that I am not a good cook. I repeat: I AM NOT A GOOD COOK. I can bake a mean brownie and develop a cookie recipe that's worth writing home about but when it comes to cooking there's no denying one thing: I can be lazy AF. However - since we started meal planning earlier this year - I've been forced to not be lazy AF and make actual meals instead of throwing together some rice and bland vegetables and calling it dinner (I think we all can agree that the aforementioned "meal" is a pretty lousy thing to eat most nights of the week). Even worse? That approach to dinner almost always resulted in a lot of unnecessary snacking. And when I say a lot of unnecessary snacking I mean Thom would house three or four servings of peanut butter pretzels and I'd down more nut butter in one sitting than most people consume in a week.
(No, I am not exaggerating. I used to devour a revolting amount of nut butter.)
This new approach to our meals has been kinda/sorta life-changing. Meal planning has turned me into this monster who preps food at the end of each week (so that we're good to go for the beginning of the next); one who can finally walk into a grocery store and only buy things that are on the list. But the best part? Meal planning cut our monthly grocery expenditure by a third. A THIRD! I'm not going to tell you how much we used to spend on groceries because it was a truly embarrassing number and I'm ashamed that my lack of willpower resulted in a cringeworthy amount overspending (not to mention a considerable amount of food waste). But the good news is that we've made it to the other side. And guess what, guys? The grass really is greener over here. The food is better, too.
Also, totally unrelated but worthy of being noted here: we're a few hours away from handing over the keys to our condo. We had every intention of buying a house in the city but then one day I had the bright idea to downsize and use a chunk of the equity to pay off debt so that we can launch that new business venture of ours with a clean financial slate and have a nice little cushion in the event shit hits the fan. Thankfully, Thom - who has mastered the art of using excel spreadsheets to manage every aspect of our finances - was more than on board with the idea because he hates debt more than he hates coffee and gravy and ranch dressing, combined. Although I was really looking forward to a garden and a front porch, we're on track to close on a loft in Denver's River North neighborhood in the not too distant future. It has a balcony and gorgeous concrete flooring and a washer/dryer IN THE UNIT. And even though the place is considerably smaller (300 square feet, one bedroom, three closets, one storage unit, and one garage-smaller, to be exact), we both feel really good about the decision to sell our condo.
But damn if I'm not going to miss that new kitchen of ours.
Notes: If you've ever eaten at Native Foods, this is a copycat version of their Bangkok curry bowl. I've made these bowls with both brown rice and brown rice noodles and prefer the former, almost always. I prefer to add 3 tablespoons of the fermented chile paste but go for 1 if you want something on the mild side. If you don't want to make the homemade smooth + creamy peanut butter, make sure you go with a variety that is truly smooth otherwise the sauce will be gritty. I recently discovered that the 365 Everyday organic creamy peanut butter spread (unsweetened) is a great substitute. For steamed vegetables, I'm a big fan of broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms (even though I hate mushrooms), and kale - but use whatever you've got on hand.
This post is sponsored by Califia Farms, maker of my favorite non-GMO + carrageenan-free almondmilk (amongst other delicious beverages). All opinions are my own (and I think Califia rules).
SPICY PEANUT + COCONUT CURRY BOWLS
PEANUT + COCONUT CURRY SAUCE
1 (14 oz) can full fat coconut milk
2 cups (410g) Califia Farms toasted coconut almondmilk
1/4 cup (60g) tamari (or soy sauce)
1-3 (18-54g) tablespoons fermented chile paste (see notes above)
1/4 cup (65g) homemade smooth + creamy peanut butter (see notes above)
Juice and zest of one lime, optional
1 teaspoon dried turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
TO MAKE THE BOWLS
Cooked brown rice (or brown rice noodles)
Assortment of steamed vegetables (see notes above)
Peanut + coconut curry sauce, from above
Pan-fried tofu (sprinkled with nanami togarashi after frying)
Dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Fresh cilantro Chile flakes
Sea salt flakes Lime wedges
Add the coconut milk, almondmilk, tamari, chile paste, peanut butter, lime juice/zest (if using), turmeric, and garlic powder (ahem, ALL the sauce ingredients) to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for 20-30 minutes (depending on how thick you'd like your sauce). Once the sauce has thickened, let it cool then transfer it to an airtight container for keeps. It'll last for up to five days in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen then thawed 24 hours before you plan on using it.
To assemble the bowls, top a few scoops of rice with steamed vegetables then cover in curry sauce (enough so that there's a shallow puddle at the bottom of the bowl). Add the tofu and any additional toppings. I prefer to finish mine with dry roasted peanuts, fresh cilantro, chile flakes, sea salt flakes, and a wedge of lime. If you've got a sriracha fanatic in the house, you should probably have a bottle of the stuff nearby.
Yield: Enough sauce for 4-6 bowls