Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Banana curry with cashews

I saw an episode of Next Iron Chef: The Redemption recently where one of the contestants had to make a main dish using banana as the challenge ingredient.  The chef, to everyone's surprise, made a banana curry dish that turned out really well and kept him on the show for at least one more episode.  I've been inspired to make one ever since, but I decided to wait until after Thanksgiving to make something completely different once I'd had enough of Thanksgiving food.  Today, with all the Thanksgiving leftovers gone, I decided to see if I could figure it out without consulting any recipes online.  (Actually, I already had but didn't like how any of them sounded.)  I managed to pleasantly surprise myself!

1 ripe banana, cut into chunks
1/2 large bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
8 oz. coconut milk
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sriracha
2 tbsp canola oil
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 tbsp yellow curry paste (I like the Sun Luck brand)
2 green bell peppers, sliced lengthwise
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
2 lemongrass stalks
4 Thai bird chiles, crushed
1/2 cup raw cashews

Place first five ingredients in a food processor and blend until thoroughly combined and no banana chunks remain.  Set aside.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add carrots and curry paste and saute for 3 minutes.  Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup water as needed to keep curry paste from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Add peppers and onion and saute until vegetables are tender, another 3-5 minutes.  Pour banana mixture into saucepan.  Add cashews, stir well and continue stirring until sauce begins to thicken, another 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and serve over rice or rice noodles.  (I served it over black heirloom rice, available at Rosewood Market and Whole Foods.)

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