Tai had two of his four wisdom teeth extracted a few days ago. Given that most people have their wisdom teeth removed in their teens or early 20’s, it was not an easy procedure: Tai’s adult teeth and jaw did not give up easily. But give up they did, and though it’s been a painful few days for my poor husband, he’s enjoyed the side benefits of root beer floats, chocolate-cherry butter shakes and yogurt-blueberry-maple breakfast drinks. Of course, after a few days of this, even my sweettooth husband starts craving ‘real’ food: and those four big bunches of kale in the fridge aren’t going to eat themselves.
My original thought was a sort of curried kale sauce: curry powder, coconut milk, and finely chopped kale, braised until very soft, so that any chewing was kept to a minimum, and served over a soft, fluffy baked potato. But the 88-degree afternoon convinced me that baked potatoes were not on the agenda, so I decided to dice the potatoes and simmer them in the curry, serving it all over brown rice to get some extra fiber back in Tai’s diet.
The resulting curry was quite nice and surprisingly summery: sweet, mellow, just a hint of spice. The fresh herbs and tomato kept the flavor light, while packing in a substantial amount of kale and other vegetables made the curry satisfyingly filling. Nothing spectacular, but a tasty, low-stress weeknight dinner, and one that is amenable to using up whatever vegetables you have on hand. Bonus points? It didn’t require the blender. Which is good, because I think the poor thing needs a rest.
- 3 tbsp grapeseed or vegetable oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled & minced
- 1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced (with seeds)
- 3 tbsp sweet curry powder
- 1 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 large bunch kale, chopped
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 cup water
- 1 and 1/2 lbs (about 4 medium) potatoes
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 tsp dried basil or 2 tbsp fresh slivered basil
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
- rice or other grain for serving
- In a medium Dutch oven or stockpot, heat oil over medium flame until shimmering. Add onions, reduce heat to medium-low, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and jalapeño; sauté until fragrant, about 1 – 2 minutes. Add curry powder, tumeric, cinnamon and cayenne pepper: stirring constantly, cook for 1 minute. Add kale in two batches, stirring and sautéing until kale is wilted. Add tomato and water, stir and reduce heat to low while you prepare the potatoes.
- Peel and dice potatoes. Add potatoes, coconut milk and dried basil (if using fresh basil, add at the end with the oregano) to the pot. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20-30 minutes.
- Uncover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 10 – 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in oregano and serve hot over rice.
- Fresh basil, up to half a cup, can be substituted for the dried basil and fresh oregano (I used all of mine in last night’s pesto. D’oh!)
- Sweet potato or cauliflower would be a good substitute for the potato.
- As written above, this curry is more sweet than spicy; if you want a bit more heat, consider adding another jalapeño or two, a habañero, or some red chile flakes.
- I originally planned this as a sort of curried coconut kale, as a topping for a baked potato; it was too hot to keep the oven on for more than an hour, so I added the potato to the curry to make more of a stew. I still think the curried kale would make a great potato topper in cooler weather.
Like all stews, this will thicken over time. Store refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Summer, or year-round with canned tomatoes.