I have been really struggling with motivation to go out in the flipping heat and grocery shop. I got into my car today and my thermostat said 120!!! Granted the outside temp was ONLY 113, but parking lot temps are much higher. I braved the crazy heat to hit up the Asian/International market to re-create this very flavorful and spicy dish from the Food Network website.
Like many of my foodie/blogger friends, I don't usually shy away from hunting down specialty ingredients in the name of experimentation. Today's challenge was to try and find Chinese fermented black beans and keffir lime leaves. The leaves are not that hard to find, but this particular store has lots of herbs together. Some of them look very similar and the signs are in an Asian language of some sort. Thankfully there was a young man working in the department that helped me find them. The store is huge with shelves full of all kinds of sauces and other specialty ingredients. So it took me a good hour to get all of my goodies.
I did run across Jackfruit today. Most of the cans were the fruit in syrup. This dish needed some savory action. I was fortunate enough to find one brand that had the young fruit in brine. SCORE!! So I took my goods and headed out to the hellishly hot parking lot and gradually made my way back to the house.
I got a phone call from Tyler about a bake sale she and her friends are holding tomorrow. I changed gears and baked up some goodies, so this is getting posted late. I'll post tomorrow about that and my baking class with Chef Tess Bakeresse. I've been wanting to check out her classes so badly, so I am super excited there is one tomorrow near my house.
I stuck fairly close to the original recipe. I substituted Jackfruit for the pork. It was my first time using this very interesting fruit. It is native to Southern Asia and is also used in Jamaica and as a substitute for meat in curries in Sri Lanka. If it's good enough for Sri Lanka, its good enough for me! It is an amazing food. It really absorbs the flavor of the spices and has a very meat-like texture and look. It is high in fiber and even contains some B vitamins!! The Jackfruit takes quite a while to cook. I used the cooktop method as I did not do my homework. Next time I think I'd use the slow cooker.
I stayed true to the recipe for the Coconut Curry Sauce. I was even able to find the recommended brand of yellow curry after some searching. I may have been slightly heavy handed on the curry, but not by much. I did use light coconut milk rather than full fat for no other reason than it is what I had in the panty. In hind site, it was nice to cut back on some of the fat. It didn't take away from the dish at all. For the rice I subbed brown jasmine rice for the basmati. I also decided to forgo vegan butter. The salsa was another matter. Because it was so late and I was feeling a bit lazy, I used ground cumin instead of toasting the seeds and grinding. I used 1 teaspoon. I also decided to use some hot hatch green chiles instead of the jalapeno and pablano called for. I had both in the fridge, but the others were already roasted...lazy little short cut.
This dish had a lot going on both flavor and texture-wise. I love the heat from the curry and the chiles. There were a lot of components to it, but everything was pretty simple. This would really be a good weeknight meal if you use the slow cooker. The salsa can be made while the rice is cooking and there you go. A tasty, spicy, exotic meal in your own home on a weeknight no less!! It's been a while since I've done FNF. It's good to be back!!