Thai-style Coconut Leeks with Mung Beans & Tofu
This is a very quick Sunday evening recipe share for y'all on this cold Grahamstown evening. It is a recipe that is both light and hearty, nourishing and substantial. This evening I am in a bit of a funk. I have low energy, I am cold, I am tired, I am slightly grumpy. Okay, a bit more than slightly. But, that is okay. I am learning to just be real with where I am at in any given moment because often I have felt that I should only share the good stuff; the positive moments and things. But, that is not real. More and more I learning to cherish and value when people share the fullness of their lives - not simply the good parts. In no way do I want to contribute to the onslaught of very unrealistic life portrayals out there that can often make one feel less-than in moments of internal insecurity, doubt or grumpiness. So here I am, in my PJ's, posting this delicious recipe in my grumpy state, between writing essays and doing work admin. And that is okay. What counts is that I am here, I am being real and I am sharing. So here is to REAL LIFE TALK and delicious creamy leeks.
This is truly a delightful savory dish that had me swooning over the magic that is/are: LEEKS. They truly are just magical and in this recipe they are the undoubted hero of the dish. Especially when they are tender, juicy and fully immersed in the delicious Thai flavor imbued by the coconut milk and various other elements. In this dish they have a silky smooth texture that - when married with the slightly crunchy mung beans, soft & hearty tofu, the richness from the coconut milk and of course the freshness of the cilantro - creates an incredible dish that is fit for any quick throw-together weeknight meal or as an accompaniment to a feast with friends. It’s wonderful served with some brown rice OR with some noodles of choice OR just as is OR as an interesting sandwich filling that will leave you feeling mightily satisfied. The only catch in this recipe is that I used 1/3 cup of pre-soaked mung beans, but if you haven’t soaked your mung beans and want to make this now you can simply substitute mung sprouts in towards the end of the cooking process, or you can use pre-cooked/tinned chickpeas or another bean of choice.
I’ve been feeling very inspired of late with regards to the delicious foods I’ve been eating & nourishing myself & family/friends with. I’ve been exploring new things to make and have been really immersing myself in the creative process of coming up with new, delicious & wholesome things. I’ve got some exciting ideas for the blog which I will hopefully have more time to delve into in the coming few weeks. So, watch this space ;) But for now, here is a quick Sunday night meal time share:
2 very large leeks
1/3 cup of overnight soaked mung beans
½ block firm tofu
½ cup frozen green peas
½ cup fresh cilantro/coriander
¾ cup full fat coconut milk
1 cup stock (I used one cup of water and one vegetable stock cube)
2-3 small-medium zucchini
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh
1 tablespoon (heaped) freshly sliced lemon grass
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated garlic
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1. Place a large saucepan on the stove and heat up the 1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil (if you want to keep this recipe oil free you can simply braise the leeks in water instead of cooking them in oil). Slice the leeks on the diagonal about half a cm thick and add them into the saucepan. Let them get slightly golden brown around the edges and fragrant.
2. Add in the chili, the freshly grated ginger, garlic and the lemon grass. Cook until lightly fragrant (about 2 minutes) – any golden brown bits on the sides of the saucepan or leeks are GREAT: this is called fond and creates delicious fully embodied FLAVORE! Then add in the coconut milk and the stock. Let it gently simmer. Add in the soy sauce and lemon juice.
3. After about 5 minutes of simmering add in the sliced tofu “steaks”, the soaked mung beans and the sliced zucchini. Let it cook for a further 5-10 minutes – turning the tofu half way through. Add in the peas about 2-3 minutes before you turn off the heat.
4. Add a pinch of salt & pepper and taste. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Serve as is, topped with fresh cilantro/coriander along with your rice or noodles.