Dinner Tonight: Thai-ish Yellow Curry with Pork and Kale

Tonight for dinner, I made a Thai-influenced yellow curry with pork and kale. The method is inspired by Mark Bittman, the flavors from several different recipes — and also what I had on hand. The results were scrumptious, and made four relatively modest servings.


  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 lb pork, cut into thin bite-sized strips
  • 1 dried hot pepper, slit partly open but not cut into pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced into bite-sized strips
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale, cut into 2″ x 2″ squares
  • 1 13.5 oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • salt and pepper


  1. Heat half the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add half the ginger. Stir briefly, a minute or two, until it starts to darken slightly.
  2. Add the pork, and maybe a pinch of salt. Raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until the pork
    is a bit brown. Remove the pork from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium and add the other half of the oil to the pan. (You can add less if some oil remains.) When it’s hot, add the rest of the ginger, and the hot pepper, to the oil. Cook a minute or two, as before.
  4. Add the onion to the pan, along with the garam masala and turmeric. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften, four or five minutes.
  5. Add the kale to the pan. Cook for a minute or two, tossing and mixing it in. Add the coconut milk, the fish sauce, and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook for three to five minutes, until the kale is intensely green and somewhat lower in volume, and the coconut milk is bubbling.
  6. Stir the pork back in. When the liquid starts boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and leave partially uncovered until the kale is tender and the sauce is somewhat thickened, about ten minutes. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper as required. Serve over rice.

If I had to do it over again, I might have added a little garlic to the ginger. Or maybe not. And I might have used curry powder instead of garam masala and turmeric, but I didn’t have any on hand so that wasn’t an option. Also, I used white pepper and for the rice used ruby red jasmine rice, which was delicious and a little bit nutty but still very tender. About as good a weeknight meal as I could imagine.

Recipe Vector: Egg Noodles with Mushroom Cream sauce

Tonight at Laura’s behest I made a mushroom cream sauce, incorporating leftover chicken. We were going to put it on top of normal noodles, but Laura suggested we get egg noodles, which were exactly the right thing for this somewhat Stroganoff-like dish.

I hesitate to say that I “made up” the recipe — it’s remarkably similar to Mushroom Mystery Casserole from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, except that instead of bread and milk and cheese there’s pasta and cream, instead of onion there’s shallot, and I cut out the celery but added chicken. (It would have worked nearly as well without the chicken.)

I didn’t follow that recipe, or any other, to make the dish, but obviously I just adjusted the recipe to meet my goals, and ended up almost exactly where I’d hoped to. This reminds me of what I read about people who become expert at muddling through foreign languages: they’ve memorized certain typical sentences, and then learn how to modify those by changing tense, subject and verb, and so on in order to produce the sentence they desire. So tonight’s dinner was made through a sort of “recipe vector” similar to those sentence vectors.

Without further ado, the recipe:
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