James’s Curry-Chili and Fried Plantains

I believe the greatest joy in winter (besides sleeping in) is eating delicious, hearty food. This year, the food’s been reeeal good ‘cos James has made a lot of it. Two of my faves:

Curry-Chili: affectionately named since it has the flavors of curry but the chunky goodness of chili. Pssst: You need a pretty large pot for this recipe.
James: “Finely mince 1 ginger root, 3-6 cloves garlic. Put oven on med-low and toss spices on. What spices you ask? I dunno. Vindaloo curry powder, some regular curry powder, a little cinnamon and cloves, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika. The kitchen sink, basically. Let ’em get hot for a minute or two then pour them off onto a separate plate. Add in a generous dollop of oil, sautee the garlic/ginger mixture. Set aside when garlic begins to brown. I just dumped it on top of the spices. From there, I roughly chopped a large yellow onion and a green bell pepper, and finely diced a jalapeno. Tossed them all on in the oil, sauteed until the onion was gettin’ a little transparent, good and soft. Add the spice mixture, 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes and 1/2 head cauliflower to a separate pot. Dunk an immersion blender in, let it do its thing, then turn it off and put it away. To this puree, add the onions and peppers. Let it simmer down a while, taste for spices. I added more. I have and had no idea what I’m doing. Get yer rice going. When the rice is about 5-10 from being done, [go back to the curry] toss in a can of garbanzo beans, half a pound of frozen peas, and a couple handfuls of raw spinach. Cook it all down. I added a bit of water cuz it was super fuckin’ thick. Bam.”

James: “They’re called plátanos maduros, en espanol (imagine there was a tilde over that n). Cuz they were ripe and not green. The oil should be like… closer to 300 than 350. Make three cuts longitudinally so you can remove the skin from the plantain. It don’t come off like with regular nanners. At that point, slice ’em. Slice ’em on the diagonal so that they’re kinda like a rhombus. A cylindrical rhombus. You know what I mean. Slices should be about 2-3″. Toss ’em in the oil, making sure that they get browned all over. They go pretty quickly from that pale custard yellow to golden to a burnt golden-brown, so turn frequently. Take ’em out when they’re done, and remember to fry them in batches. If you overcrowd your pan then the temperature goes down too quickly. Serve with anything you like.”

Yum! Pictured are the plantains I made for my Sunday lunch, mashed down and perfect with black beans and a dollop of vegan sour cream.

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