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April 11, 2006
50th bento!

[curry bento with face-making onigiri]

Top: rice wrapped in nori, steamed broccoli, grape tomatoes
Bottom: chicken curry with potatoes and carrots

Wee hoo! Not only is ♥ Cooking Cute ♥ 2 months old, but today marks my 50th bento. I'm celebrating with a bevy of little rice faces. :)

This is a Vietnamese curry (ca` ri ga`) -- traditionally it's made with russet-type potatoes, but I like to add regular and white sweet potatoes to the mix. Yum! I've been tinkering with this recipe for a while now to get the spiciness level right. This batch was still a bit feisty for my hubs (although perfect for me), so you may want to lessen the curry powder and crushed red pepper if you don't like hot food. You can also sub in deep-fried tofu if you're not a chicken fan.

4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tbsp. sugar
2-1/2 tbsp. curry powder (Vietnamese "madras curry powder" if you can find it)
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (you can use a whole chicken too)
4 tbsp. oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2-inch lengths, halved lengthwise, and smashed
2 cups water
2 cups milk, plus more to taste (I use 1%)
2 cups + 1 can of coconut milk (I use light)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into large dice
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cut into large dice
1 medium white sweet potato, peeled and cut into large dice
2-3 carrots, cut into large bite-size chunks
  1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the salt, red pepper, sugar, curry powder, and tomato paste. Coat the chicken and marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pot and stir-fry the garlic and lemongrass until fragrant. Add chicken and stir-fry about 5 minutes more.
  3. Pour water, 2 cups of milk, and 2 cups of coconut milk into the pot. Stir in the potatoes and carrots and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Once vegetables are tender, taste the curry to see if you like the spiciness level. I added an additional can of coconut milk and some more milk (about 2 cans) to adjust for the spiciness and soupiness level that I prefer.

* I served the curry for dinner the first night over noodles, so I made it relatively soupy. It is also great to dip french bread into. If you like your curry thicker, you can either add a thickening agent, like cornstarch, or don't add the additional milk -- just remember to lessen the spices if you're not accustomed to spicy foods.

* Use gluten-free ingredients
© Cooking Cute