Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Curry Via Oh Momo!

At the risk of being labeled a pseudo-Sandra Lee with her semi-homemade dishes, I have a thing now for Oh Momo! Fresh Curry Paste. Launched by Momoko Jackson of World Curry in Pacific Beach (Yes, you must go eat there!), the red, green, and yellow pastes are an easy way to add a ton of flavor to a stir fry, soup, or curry dish that you'd like to simplify to get dinner on the table quickly on a week night.

I'll be writing a story on their global house-made curries for the San Diego Union-Tribune's food section for February, but for now I want to introduce you to their retail product, which you can find at the restaurant, Specialty Produce, Frazier Farms, Jensen's in Point Loma, and Catalina Offshore Products.

The curry pastes themselves aren't new. Momoko Jackson, who with her ex-husband Bruce Jackson, owns World Curry, has been selling them wholesale to markets that sell hot dishes--like Cardiff Seaside Market, Bristol Farms, and Harvest Ranch--and restaurants like the Brigantine and Karl Strauss Brewing Company. But only this past summer have the Jacksons been packaging and selling the curries for retail.

For home cooks, the fresh pastes are a wonderful short cut to add new flavors to dishes you may have become boring staples. They are also something that will last a good long while in your refrigerator--up to six months, even without preservatives. And, if you have a vegan or gluten-free eater in your household, these curry pastes will work. The green basil curry paste, for instance, contains  lemongrass, Thai basil, cilantro, shallots, salt, garlic, galangal, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, and coriander, as well as organic can sugar, and non-GMO gluten-free soy sauce (something Jackson incorporated instead of fish sauce, which she said made no significant difference to the flavor).

I used the green basil curry paste for two dishes: a broken shrimp stir fry and what I'm calling my Orange Soup because it features Kabocha squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots. With both dishes I added coconut milk. Beyond that, given that the curry sauce contains all the flavorings, I didn't have to add much more. It made putting on dinner so easy and the end result was delicious.

The broken shrimp stir fry doesn't have a recipe. I had picked up these shrimp pieces at Catalina Offshore Products and used half in a stir fry their Tommy Gomes had shown me how to make. The rest went into this dish for one--Just broccolini, half a yellow onion, some shitaki mushrooms, and a serrano chili from my garden.

I heated some peanut oil in my wok, added the vegetables and stir fried them. Then added the shrimp.

Once they were cooked, I added the coconut milk and green curry paste, took it off the heat, and stirred it well. Then I poured the mixture over a bowl of brown rice.


My Orange Soup was pretty easy, although obviously it took longer to cook.

Orange Soup with Green Curry Paste
Serves 6
(printable recipe)

Vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, sliced
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 Kabocha squash, seeded and chopped
1 quart chicken stock
4 ounces Green Basil Curry Paste
1 cup coconut milk

1. Add vegetable oil to a large pot. Heat and add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent.
2. Add carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash pieces. Mix well.

3. Add stock. Stir and increase heat to bring to a quick simmer. Skim foam.
4. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cover. Simmer about 40 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

5. Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, puree the soup until creamy and smooth.
6. Add curry paste and coconut milk. Stir well and serve.

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