On the menu for dinner on vegan challenge day 5 was this quick and delicious riff on curry. Although the title for this post says "stir fry," this flavorful, spicy dish is actually a thoren.
What is a thoren, you ask? Well besides being a delicious, vegan dinner, according to Food and Wine, a thoren is a dry, sauceless curry typically prepared with just one vegetable and made sweet and fragrant with green chiles, fresh coconut, turmeric, mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Since I didn't have turmeric or curry leaves, I improvised by using basil, bay leaf, and curry powder. The below recipe does not include those substitutions just in case you happen to have a better stocked pantry than we did, but check out the notes after the recipe for info on substitutions.
Vegan Green Bean, Corn, Zucchini, and Coconut Stir Fry
Serves 2-3 as a dinner
Time: 35 minutes
3/4 cup grated dried unsweetened coconut
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp turmeric (see note below)
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 small fresh green chile, such as serrano, Thai, or jalapeño, slit lengthwise with stem end intact
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup vegetable stock
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 1/4 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 lb green beans
1 1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)
1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2 to 1/4 inch spears
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/8 tsp hot red pepper flakes
15 to 20 fresh curry leaves (see note below)
1 pound green beans, thinly sliced crosswise (1/4 inch)
What to do
In a small bowl, stir together coconut, cumin, coriander, cayenne, curry powder, chile, garlic, coconut milk, vegetable stock, agave, and salt in a small bowl.
Next, heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook mustard seeds and red pepper flakes until mustard seeds begin to pop and/or turn gray - about 30 seconds. Add basil and bay leaf, covering skillet immediately as they crackle for a few seconds.
Add green beans, corn, and zucchini and cook with the lid on for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut mixture and cook, lid off, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender (about 5-8 minutes). If mixture becomes dry and begins to stick to bottom of wok, add a few tablespoons water. Season with salt, then serve over a grain of your choice (we used quinoa).
Substitutions for curry leaves: Instead of curry leaves (which actually don't taste at all like curry but get their name from the fact that they are in many curries), I used a combination of basil, lime zest, and bay leaf. In this recipe, I used:
Zest of 1/4 a lime
1 bay leaf
Substitutions for turmeric: in place of the turmeric in the original recipe, I used 2 teaspoons of curry powder. It was actually quite delicious, so if you're a big curry fan, you could add up to another 1-2 teaspoons of curry powder. Woohoo!