MUSHROOM & BAMBOO JUNGLE CURRY

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This clearly dates back to asia, I’m in Helsinki now. Starting to think that maybe a travel blog would be more convenient these days. But life isn’t about convenience, it’s about passion. And yes food, and animals are my passion.

Maybe one day when I have a camera (mine went walkabouts into someone else’s possession a few weeks back), when I get round to getting another one or a decent camera phone, maybe I can do a few veg carving tutorials, as you may have noticed this is garnished with a shrimp…also known as a carrot.

Until that day comes, I’ll stick with what I know and can do which is recipes.

The list of ingredients for this curry is pretty extensive, and a few ingredients (particularly the fresh ones) may not be too easy to get hold of in other continents. However, a curry is a curry and you can adapt it best you can, I’ll even offer a few suggestions 😀

So what is a jungle curry? Well by a definition, as i’ve been told, a curry is a soup with chunks of meat (or veg in our case) with a paste as a base. It doesn’t need curry powder, but the paste are often strong in flavour, typically chili. A jungle curry, is different to a normal curry, as it has no coconut milk. Different flavour and also low fat and low calories, yay!

Ingredients (makes a lot! 6-8 portions):

1 cup of mixed mushrooms (keep small mushrooms whole, and chop bigger mushrooms to be similar size)

1 cup bamboo shoots (you can usually find this tinned in europe at least, if not substitute with another cup of mushrooms)

1/2 cup cubed courgette

1 cup mixed veg (eg baby corn, carrot, greens etc)

1/2 cup lime (thai) basil (you can usually find this in asian grocery stores. If not DON’T substitute for italian basil, or dried basil. You can use coriander, it will have a different taste, but will taste good still)

1/2 cup climbing wattle (i have never seen this in europe. If you’re feeling ambitious you could substitute for nettles. Or omit then to get a similar flavour, when making the paste in step 1, add about 2 inches of lemongrass)

1 tbsp uncooked rice (i used sticky rice, but you can use any white rice. needs to be soaked in cold water for approx 20 minutes)

5 shallots

1 chili

1 tbsp soy sauce (i used a mix of dark with light, but either will work in this recipe)

1 1/2 tbsp mushroom sauce (available at asian grocery stores, or just substitute with extra soy sauce)

1 tsp salt

2 cups water

2 heaped cups spinach/chinese kale (you can use either or both)

Method

1. To make the paste/base, crush the soaked rice, shallots and chili using either a pestel and mortar or mini food processor.

2. Blend the spinach/kale with the water, then sieve through to extract the juice. You may need to get messy and use your hands to squeeze out all of the liquid. If you have a juicer, then you can also do that, but make sure to add the water through the juicer as well, otherwise you will need A LOT of spinach/kale, and it will also be a very strong flavour.

3. Warm up a cooking pot on the stove, and add the curry paste and the juice at the same time (you don’t want the inredients in the paste to fry).

4. Add the mushrooms and bamboo and cook for about 10 minutes until it is boiling, then add the soy sauce, mushroom sauce and salt.

5. Add the courgettes and the rest of the mixed veg ( if using carrots make sure they are quite finely chopped or else they will take too long to cook). Turn down to a medium heat and keep cooking for a few more minutes.

6. Finally, add the thai basil (or coriander) and continue to cook on a high heat until it begins to wilt.

7. Serve with rice and enjoy!