Monday, December 19, 2016

Seared Kabocha with Curry Black Rice Macaroni and Kale








     A Vegetarian Super Grain Noodle Entrée!
     Super grains are popular these days, because of their high nutritional value.  Black Rice has become a regular staple in health conscious households and it is not longer looked upon as being exotic.  
     Noodles that are made with super grains, like Quinoa, have become available at grocery stores, but Black Rice Noodles are not always stocked.  The best place to find Black Rice Noodles is at an Asian food market.  Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean grocery stores usually have a vast selection of dried or fresh noodles to choose from.  Even Black Rice Macaroni can be found.  
     While shopping, Black Rice Macaroni captured my attention, because I like creating gourmet Macaroni & Cheese recipes.  Fancy Macaroni & Cheese recipes have reached a peak in popularity, but very few of these macaroni recipes are designed to satisfy vegetarians.  Some vegetarians tolerate dairy products, but not all do.  
     Indian curries are usually made with butter and some curry recipes require milk, cream or yogurt.  Todays curry sauce recipe features a mild thin curry sauce that is made with no cream, butter or yogurt.  Only coconut oil is used to make the sauce.  The sauce is thickened and no coconut milk is added.  
     Kabocha Squash is a good choice of winter squash, because it has a long shelf life.  Kabocha is sweet tasting and it is often served as dessert.  Kabocha caramelizes easily, so care must be taken when searing this squash.    
     
     Kabocha Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Kobocha Squash can be huge, so try to select one that is an average size (6" to 8" in diameter).
     Cut a wedge of kabocha that is about 5" wide.
     Scrape off the seeds and pulp.
     Use a paring knife to remove the skin. 
     Cut the trimmed piece of kabocha into thin wedges that are about 3/8" thick.  (Refer to the shape in the photos.)
     Set the kabocha wedges aside.
      
     Black Rice Macaroni:
     This recipe yields 1 large portion.
     Cook 1 large portion of Black Rice Macaroni (about 3/4 cup) in boiling salted water over high heat, till the noodles are al dente.
     Cool the noodles under cold running water.
     Drain the water off of the noodles.
     Set the noodles aside.

     Japanese Style Curry Sauce (for kabocha):
     This recipe yields 1 portion..    
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
     Add 2 pinches of whole cumin seed.
     Add 1 pinch of whole fennel seed. 
     Sauté till the seeds make a popping noise. 
     Step 2:  Add 2 tablespoons of minced onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced green onion.
     Add 2 tablespoons of minced celery. 
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced seeded green jalapeño pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoons of minced shallot.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 3:  Add just enough flour while stirring, to soak up the oil in the pan.  (About 1 tablespoon.  All purpose four or non-gluten flour can be used.)
     Briefly stir till the flour and oil combine.  
     Step 4:  Add 3 cups of rich vegetable broth.
     Add 1 small pinch of crushed dried red pepper.  (chile caribe)
     Add 1 tablespoon of Garam Masala.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1 tablespoon of agave nectar. 
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of palm sugar.    
     Add sea salt to taste.  
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil while occasionally stirring with a whisk.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat. 
     Simmer and reduce, till the sauce becomes a very thin consistency.  The volume should be about 1 1/4 cups.
     Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside. 

     Seared Kabocha:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
     Step 2:  Place the 5 prepared kabocha wedges in the pan.
     Sear the kabocha on both sides, till golden brown highlights appear and the squash becomes tender. 
     *Flip the squash occasionally to prevent excess browning.
     Step 3:  Use a spatula to place the tender kabocha pieces on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Keep the seared kabocha warm on a stove top.

     Seared Kabocha with Curry Black Rice Macaroni and Kale:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty vegetarian entrée.
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add the reserved thin Japanese Curry Sauce.  (About 1 1/4 cups)   
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.  
     Step 2:  Add 1/3 cup of finely chopped kale.
     Add the reserved Black Rice Macaroni.
     Stir the ingredients together. 
     Step 3:  Bring the sauce back to a gentle boil.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce till the sauce clings to the macaroni and the kale wilts.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the Curry Black Rice Macaroni and Kale on a plate as bed for the kabocha.
     Step 5:  Arrange the seared kabocha wedges on top of the noodles, so they point outward from center.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig or a cilantro sprig.

     The Japanese style Curry and sweet kabocha make this Black Rice Macaroni entrée perfect for a chilly day!

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