Curried rice: where the spice is nice

This week’s trend can simply be labeled, “fire in the hole,” fondly relating to the feeling my poor little mouth has had all week. Believe me, this isn’t a complaint, rather a way I wish I could spend (almost) every day!

Since we procured a pretty large bag of dried red chilies at the Asian market this past weekend, I figured I would put them to use with a curry dish I had found earlier last week. Plus, since I was planning to make it on Meatless Monday, it worked out perfectly. The recipe actually called for shrimp, but I left them out. After my last experience with shrimp, I didn’t really feel like dealing with them.

I’ve come to feel like I sautée onions and peppers on an almost daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an complaint but rather a mere observation. I could have sauteed onions and pepers on everything; pasta, pizza, rice, in burritos, mixed with eggs, you get the drift. So naturally when this recipe suggested carrots but also left wiggle room for replacement veggies, I immediately swapped the carrot for red bell pepper. Aside from that swap and the shrimp omission, I stayed true to the recipe, and it was delicious.

The smell of curry cooking is one of those smells that I think are aquired, and I love it. Throw in a little heat and mix it up with some brown rice and sauteed veggies and you’re good to go! I also really enjoyed the fresh basil leaves; it reminded me of some of my favorite Thai dishes, so of course adding a ton of dried red chilies was necessary.We were definitely feeling the burn, but in a good way; it wasn’t unbarable, kind of like the stuffed hot peppers were. I think I’ll need to lay off the heat next week to give my insides time to recover!

Curried Rice (with or without Shrimp)
Adapted from Real Simple

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup long-grain white rice
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
1/2 cup fresh basil

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and curry and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes.
Add the rice, 2 ½ cups water, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
3. Season the shrimp with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and nestle them in the partially cooked rice. Cover and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold in the basil.

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