Every now and then I go a little crazy in the kitchen, having some notion of my direction of travel but without a particular destination. Sometimes this works well, sometimes not.
Tonight, I was thinking Thai-ish & vegetarian. I’m not sure where I wound up, but man, was it good!
Starting clockwise from the bottom left- split peanuts, cilantro, purple basil, red Thai rice, coconut milk, peanut satay sauce with lemongrass, fennel, corriander and kafir lime, Madagascar vanilla and roasted chili powder. On the plate, clockwise from the bottom- scallions, galangal root, Fresno pepper, ginger root, orange, medjool dates and turmeric rhizome, and a large clove of garlic in the center.
Start by bruising the roots and adding them to the pot with the coconut milk, chili powder, vanilla and cilantro. Simmer this over low heat for about 30 minutes until the flavors develop and it takes on its beautiful yellow color. Scoop out the pulp, then add the rice and a little water so that the liquid volume is sufficient for the amount of rice. Still on low heat, cover the pot and walk away for another half hour.
Uncover the rice and stir in the chopped dates, orange pieces and basil. Sautee the peanuts, onions and peppers and add to the pot.
Serve topped with additional chili paste and satay sauce.