vegan coconut chia curry—koreafied!

Oh what joy it brings when my posts alliterate themselves 🙂

I had a good mail week. My halloween costume of awesomeness finally came in(!!) (guess I’ll have to save it for next year, damn you international shipping!), and, even better, I finally got the package my mum sent in September!

So much healthy healthness from one box. But I digress…

Back in Toronto, the dude and I (and pretty much every other Ryerson student with at least two tastebuds) would often frequent Salad King—a thai spot neighbouring campus with fast service, fair prices, and more chilli peppers than most mouths can handle. And today, maybe with a tinge of homesickness, I was craving my favorite coconut curry.

So I went to HomePlus (the big Walmart-style grocery store here that sells Western foods), decided not to check a recipe due to my looming hanger (a recipe that might suggest to use some coconut cream to help thicken up the curry), even though I haven’t made curry from scratch before. Uh-oh.

Fast-forward a few hours later, when I dump in two cans of coconut milk and a few cups of vegetable broth and realize my curry’s looking rather thin. I break up a few potatoes so that the starches can soak up some of the liquid. I simmer with the lid off. I pore through the cooking chronicles of my mind and cupboard, thinking of some kind of thickener I might have on-hand… and, eureka! Ch-ch-ch-chia!

Chia, rich in Omega-3s, fibre (goodbye, Korean problems!), protein, and antioxidants, has virtually no taste and does an excellent job of taking on the flavours of whatever it’s immersed in. So I dumped in about half of the package my mum sent. Second oopsie?

Thankfully, this is one of those maybe-mistakes that turned out great. Not only are the chia seeds superbly healthy, but they make a great low-fat substitute for coconut cream. Win-win. Plus you get that awesome jingle for an earwig…

Thus, I give you: Vegan Coconut Chia Curry!

… with a Korean kick—Gochujang! Perhaps my taste buds are changing, as the Korean red pepper paste I first thought was overly salty and too sour for my liking, but now I crave this stuff. I’d liken it to a Korean vegemite—a salty, thick paste, it’s made from chili, rice, soy beans and salt and fermented for long hours in big ceramic pots, Korea-style. It’s used in bibimbap, tteoboki, and as a barbeque condiment, among many others—and Wikipedia says it’s a source of proteins, fats, and vitamins b and c, which is proof enough for me. Gochujang was just spicy enough to give my curry the ka-pow it needed!

Gochujang—and no, I haven’t edited this —that’s its genuine hue!

This is my submission to Ricki’s Wellness Weekends.

Coconut Chia Curry

(vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, chopped

4 small potatoes, chopped

2 heaping tbsp of curry powder (add more if you can handle it!)

2 tbsp of Gochujang

salt and pepper

can of coconut milk

2 cups of vegetable broth

veggies of your choice (I used carrots, peas, cauliflower and broccoli from frozen)

1/8 up to 1/4 cup of chia seeds to your liking

Directions:

In a stockpot, heat oil on medium.

Add garlic and cook for a few minutes.

Toss in the onions and cook until translucent.

Next, add the chopped potatoes and cook until softened.

Season with salt, pepper, as much curry powder as you can handle, and Gochujang if you can get your hands on it (Sriracha sauce will do in a pinch).

Add the coconut milk, broth, and veggies and bring to a boil.

Sprinkle in the chia seeds, making sure to mix so that they don’t clump up (gross!), and simmer for a few minutes until they gel and help thicken the soup.

Serve over quinoa, brown rice, or your other favourite grain, and feel all warm and cozy.

Ch-ch-ch-cheers!

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