Grocery shopping in Vietnam can be very siang kah lan. To translate from Hokkien (a Chinese dialect widely spoken in Penang) to English – grippingly daunting. You know, a normal grocery shopping trip gone bad cirque du freak style. The kind that haunts you. More than anything, it feels real or if you like, authentic. Anyways, I am never discouraged and if needed, I just channel the sassiness in me like the Viets do.
Also, one thing I can confidently tell you peeps what Google won’t reveal to you is – things are way more expensive here in comparison to Malaysia and Thailand. After 6 months, I am no longer flabbergasted (because it is uncool to have the i’ve-been-robbed-kinda-face all the time) but still very much concerned with the common perception of everything-is-cheap-in-Vietnam. No, it is not. Yes peeps – this is your reality buzz for the day.
For now, I am getting my sanity in check with this bowl of golden curry goodness. Nothing can Dr Phil me better than this dish. My pumpkin & cauliflower coconut curry.
1 pumpkin or squash, diced
1 medium size cauliflower, florets
6 shallots, sliced
4 cm piece of ginger
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
Coriander stems, chopped
1 fresh long red chili
1 bird’s eye chili (optional)
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 bunch of fresh coriander
1 tin of chopped tomatoes/fresh tomatoes
300g of coconut milk
1 cup of vegetable stock/water with vegetable stock cube
Blend shallots, ginger, garlic and chilies into a paste. Set aside. In a large saucepan over a high heat with oil, add the paste, then reduce into a medium heat. Cook until fragrant, then add mustard seeds and coriander stems. Stir for 1 minute then add turmeric, tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to boil then add pumpkin and cauliflower. Pour in vegetable stock. Check occasionally and add water if needed. Simmer with a lid on for 40 minutes.
Curry should be gravy-like not too thick. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with a wedge of lime. The lime is a must! Curry is perfect with rice, pasta and bread.