It was one of those days. One of those days when you want to crawl back into bed, when everyone is out there to “get you”, when you want to just simply disappear.
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t all that bad – but hey, it’s my blog and I’ll bawl if I want to…
It all started when I walked out of my apartment with a bounce in my step, marching towards the NYC Food & Wine Festival and ready to revel in all the mouth-watering festivities. Tickets – check, Camera – check, Words To Say when I meet Bobby Flay – CHECK! As we descended the elevator, my stomach lurched with the appalling realization that I forgot my keys and had locked us out. On any other day, I would’ve gone to the F&W Festival and dealt with it afterwards, but that day Brian was flying out to UK in 4 hours and had yet to pack for his trip.
The next hours were spent on a scavenger hunt for the elusive Super. Then in a fit of desperation and fear that Brian would miss his flight, I called the dreaded Locksmith. I watched him drill and destroy my high security lock in a matter of 12 seconds, and then replace with a low security lock at the “discount” price of $125, all the while with tears streaming down my cheeks. As I walked to the ATM to retrieve the $390 total cost for “emergency lock out services”, I could only think of 2 things:
1. I am NEVER living in an apartment without a doorman ever again!
2. Goodbye, new winter wardrobe 😦
So to uplift my spirits and redeem myself for this careless mistake, I needed to create something – but not just anything. I needed a familiar friend, a comfort dish that I can melt into and lose myself in. But that “something” was actually 2 things – Japanese Curry and Veggie Pot Pie – I wanted both.
Why Curry? I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles. It was the land of bubble tea, Chinese supermarkets, and yes, Japanese Curry Houses. Although I now consider myself a proud New Yorker, some of my fondest memories were spent at the Curry Houses with my friends, debating about the color of our Homecoming dresses, analyzing the confusing signals boys sent, and contemplating our future, so full of promise and possibilities. And pot pie? Well, there’s just something irresistible about that warm crispy crust wrapping around the steamy delicious filling, like a loving comforting hug.
So I thought, why not combine these 2 ideas together? It was just what I needed to cheer up.
- 1-2 potatoes
- 1 cup of broccoli and cauliflower florets
- 1 small japanese eggplant
- 1/2-1 pkg of baby bella mushrooms
- Pastry crust (I use ready made, because as explained in the “About” section, my pastry experiments tend to come out awry)
- 1 3.5 oz pkg of Japanese Curry cubes (sold in your local Asian market, or the “ethnic section” of your supermarket)
Begin Culinary Therapy:
- Cube potatoes, eggplant, slice mushrooms, and cut broccoli/cauliflower into 1 inch pieces.
- Cook in a pot or deep saucepan until veggies are tender. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.
- Add in the curry cubes and slowly stir in 1-2 more cups of water so that all veggies are covered in sauce but taking care mixture is not too watery.
- Bring to boil again and simmer until sauce thickens.
- Line a baking dish with pastry crust. Pour filling into the dish and cover top with another layer of crust, puncturing some holes so the filling can breath. You can make the dish superpretty with patterns on the side but well…I was feeling down, so I went with the “home-made, rustic” look.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, and…Enjoy!
Suggestions for your own twist:
- I often like to use black, shitake, or oyster mushrooms too
- Other veggies you can throw in: Carrots, celery, zucchini, green beans, corn, bell peppers, pumpkin.
- **Usually starchy veggies like potatoes, pumpkin, and cauliflowers work well to thicken the sauce, so make sure you include some of them in your combination.
- Try replacing the pastry crust with mlti layers of phyllo dough
- If you crave proteins, add in extra firm tofu, fried tofu cubes, tempeh, soy nuggets, or meat like chicken/beef/turkey
- Experiment with other cuisines like Thai green curry, Malaysian red curry, or Indian yellow curry.