Quick fresh Thai stew

This dish is simple to prepare and has a lovely, fresh flavour.

Ingredients:

1¼ cups coconut cream
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned into thick slices or sliced into half-circles
1 small sweet potato, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 punnet (or 2 cups) button mushrooms, rinsed and halved (375 g)
1 cup Thai spice paste (make from scratch using ingredients below)
1 x 250 g packet of buckwheat noodles
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup finely sliced fresh coriander
¼ cup finely sliced spring onions

For fresh Thai spice paste:
6 fresh kaffir lime leaves (double-leaved), hard spine removed
4 sticks fresh lemongrass, hard outer leaves removed, finely sliced
1 small bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
2 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or a 3-centimetre knob of ginger
1 teaspoon dried ginger
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
⅓ cup coconut cream
Salt, to taste

Directions:

1. Pour the coconut cream into a large saucepan and heat slowly over medium heat.

2. Add the onion, carrot, sweet potato and mushrooms, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes to cook the vegetables.

3. To make the fresh Thai spice paste, combine all the ingredients in a blender, and grind until they form a smooth paste.

4. Meanwhile, cook the buckwheat noodles according to the packet instructions and drain well.

5. Add the broccoli to the vegetables in coconut cream and continue to simmer for 2–3 minutes, only until the broccoli is bright green and slightly tender.

6. Stir the Thai paste through the vegetables and stir in the well-drained noodles. Remove from the heat and divide between serving bowls, topping with the coriander and spring onions.

Variations:

  • Toss in 1 cup of baked tofu.
  • Replace the noodles with half a baked butternut pumpkin or squash and scoop a few tablespoons of baked butternut into bowls, topped with the stew above, for each serve.

Tips:

  • To add some heat, add 1 teaspoon fresh green or red chilli, seeds removed.
  • You can make a double batch of the fresh Thai spice paste recipe and refrigerate in an airtight glass container for up to 5 days, or store in the freezer. It’s a great mixture to use in stir-fries, green Thai curries with lightly steamed fresh greens, as the basis for a soup, or even as a marinade for grilled vegetables.

This is an edited extract from Feed Your Brain: The Cookbook by Delia McCabe (RRP $34.99), available from www.exislepublishing.com and wherever good books are sold.