BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Fresh From the Freezer

13 Comments

Little additions add up to big flavors in any successful dish, as it’s the subtle nuances that set apart a great meal from an adequate one. Sometimes that can mean just a few extra minutes at the stove, toasting garlic to the perfect shade of golden brown, or simply adding in an extra dose of ginger, heightening those bright, spicy notes right at the end of each bite. The same principle is true for simply getting food on the table in the first place; every helping hand counts, and reliable schemes for easing that process are not to be overlooked. I’ll swallow my pride and admit that sometimes, utterly drained from a day in the office, weariness penetrating straight through to my bones, I’ll reach for the old bottle of dusty, dried out garlic powder as my one and only seasoning, omitting dozens of ingredients out of sheer laziness- Not to mention a poorly stocked fridge, nary a fresh leaf of greenery to be found. Needless to say, these are not exactly meals to be proud of, let alone serve to anyone else with any taste buds.

Dorot has been my savior lately, providing the perfect culinary shortcut that doesn’t cut corners on quality. Offering myriad raw ingredients minced, frozen, and formatted into neat little cubes, it’s effortless to cook full-flavored delights, even when there’s no time to shop for fresh herbs or spices. Beyond the convenience factor, which does admittedly weigh heavily in mind as I snatch up a stockpile of crushed garlic and ginger, it’s especially handy for these cold winter months when nary a sprig of basil can be found. I relish eating seasonal, embracing the new flavors as they ripen and develop each month, but I still crave the herbaceous bite of pesto all year long. The frozen basil cubes have been the antidote to my autumnal gloom, adding the distinctive aroma of a summer’s garden to previously drab, dull meals. Even before the company offered me samples for a more in-depth review, I was already filling my freezer with these edible green gems in preparation for colder (and busier) days.

So with all of this aromatic ammo, locked and loaded in the chill chest, what does one do to bring out their full potential? Make a highly flavorful yet delicate curry, bursting with bold notes of that luscious basil of course, but assembled with finesse so that you taste far more than just heat. Easily falling on the mild side of the spectrum, my Green Garden Curry is all about soothing, warming, and invigorating tastes, and not so much the sheer spice level itself. The beauty of using Dorot’s ingenious frozen herbs and spices is that they turn this recipe into a truly season-less dish, equally delicious and accessible 365 days of the year. Though I had spring on my mind while composing the original, feel free to swap out vegetables to suit your own seasonal cravings. Green beans would be an excellent replacement for snow peas, and shelled edamame or lima beans could be gracefully slipped into the spot previously occupied by fava beans. As long as you have frozen herbs in your arsenal, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying an equally savory, satisfying meal in no time at all.

Green Garden Curry

1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
3 Medium Shallots, Diced
4 Cubes Frozen Minced Garlic*
3 Cubes Frozen Minced Ginger**
1 Medium-Sized Fresh Jalapeno, Finely Minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
3 2-Inch Long Stalks Dried Lemongrass or 1 Stalk Fresh, Bashed and Bruised
1 1/2 Teaspoons Cumin Seeds
1 Teaspoon Brown Mustard Seeds
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Fenugreek
1/4 – 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1 Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk
1 Cup Snow Peas
1/2 Cup Frozen Green Peas
1 Cup Shelled and Peeled Fava Beans, Fresh or Frozen
4 Cubes Frozen Chopped Basil**
Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Brown Basmati Rice, to Serve

*1 cube is equal to 1 whole clove.
**1 cube is equal to 1 teaspoon.

Set a large saucepan over moderate heat and add the coconut oil in first, allowing it to fully melt. Once liquified, introduce the shallots, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Saute for 6 – 8 minutes, until the cubes have broken down and the entire mixture is highly aromatic, as the shallots begin to take on a golden-brown hue. Deglaze with the lime juice, scraping the bottom of the pan to ensure that nothing sticks and all of the brown bits are incorporated. Next, introduce your whole but bruised lemongrass along with the remaining spices. Stir periodically, cooking for 5 – 6 minutes until it smells irresistible.

Pour in the coconut milk, turn down the heat to medium-low, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the snow peas, green peas, and fava beans next, stirring to combine, and let stew gently for 10 – 15 minutes, until the snow peas are bright green and the fava beans are tender. Pop in the basil cubes last, cooking just until they’ve completely dissolved and melded seamlessly into the curry before removing the pot from the heat.

Season with salt and pepper according to taste, and serve immediately over brown rice.

Makes 3 – 4 Servings

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

13 thoughts on “Fresh From the Freezer

  1. Dorot’s products are so nice when you don’t have fresh herbs or garlic around :)

  2. Interesting product, I haven’t seen it before or maybe I’ve overlooked it. It looks very handy to just have around. I can’t remember all the times I’m in the middle of cooking only to find I’m out of something like the ginger.

  3. Now that I am finally able to use all of the non-dairy kefir iceblocks that I made with my excess homemade kefir over the winter and I am starting to free up freezer space I might be able to give these babies a go. Freezing curry paste (red, green and yellow) is an amazingly simple and clever idea but I never thought of it! Fresh from the freezer at short notice…potatoes, lightly steamed with a few other veggies and some garden fresh spinach wilted into a couple of these babies and a can of coconut cream, the stuff that heaven is made of and after a hard day out in the garden when you have NO idea what is for tea, these little cubes could be a godsend. Cheers for the idea you clever little vegan you :)

  4. I’ve seen those at Trader Joe’s but haven’t gotten any yet. Good freezer-stocking idea!

    janet

  5. Never heard of this before- thanks for sharing! :D

  6. I use the garlic one (from Trader Joe’s) so much more often than I really should! It’s just so convenient.

  7. I’m not familiar with Dorot’s product. It is helpful to know that this is out there when you can’t get some of these products at a local farmers market. Thanks for sharing!

  8. How interesting! I should try this out!

  9. This is something I’m forever kicking myself I don’t do more – whenever I try and make Indian dishes that call for ginger-garlic paste, I always think ‘nah, too much like hard work, too fiddly’, when all I should do is make up a massive bunch and freeze it. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Trader Joe’s carries these cubes and I’ve found them very helpful in recipes. They’re great for when I don’t have time to chop herbs, but still want/need their flavor. I just wish there was one for every herb imaginable!

    • The problem is that Joe’s only stocks a very few of them! I didn’t realize there were quite so many varieties until I hit the official website. At least, I’ve found that you can save the little plastic trays and then freeze your own herbs in them for the next time around. Then there’s no excuse for not having the flavors you want. ;)

  11. Such a gorgeous curry and lovely to have around, with some garlicky rice or freekeh. Frozen garlic, ginger and herbs are the best parts and easy to add. I love freezing lemon grass, too :) Thanks for the helpful measurement tips – I love that! Lovely photos, Hannah, I love all sorts of coconut-based curries, and there are so many plant-based goodies to play with. Perfect for the autumn & winter seasons.

  12. So much green, and such a playful combination of flavors. I feel like this recipe would be an instant cure to a cold, thanks for sharing!

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