Jamaican Soy Curls in Curried Tomato Cream Sauce

Jamaican Soy Curl Tomato Curry (1)

Years ago when I first got into cooking, I would watch cooking shows on TV endlessly. I credit watching these shows with the majority of my cooking knowledge. Back then, I used to get some local cable channels that played cooking shows not aired on the usual giant networks. That was very fortunate for me because that’s how I found Christina Pirello, the vegan TV cooking personality, who taught me the word “vegan.” If you have never watched her shows or read her books, I urge you to familiarize yourself with her huge bounty of vegan food knowledge and recipes right away!

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Those local channels used to play a lot of Canadian shows that were aired on Food Network Canada. One of those shows was “Chef at Home” with chef Michael Smith. It quickly became one of my favorites.

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Chef Michael Smith is a big deal in Canada. He’s as big there as Bobby Flay is here. He’s a tall, soft-spoken man who is a judge on Chopped Canada, has a bunch of TV shows and writes multiple cookbooks. In “Chef at Home,” Chef Smith would prepare a meal for his family without a recipe. He would be inspired by some ingredient he saw in the market, come home with it and build a meal around it with no recipe. He worked off-the-cuff, just seeing what he had in his HUGE pantry and what ingredients spoke to him. Then he would feed his creation to his wife and son. I was always in awe at how his then-very young son was willing to eat foods most kids would refuse to try.

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I identified with that kind of cooking because that’s how I like to cook. I rarely follow recipes and I never measure anything. That makes writing up recipes harder because I have to guess-timate how much of each ingredient I used. As Chef Smith used to say, cooking this way teaches you to learn about flavors and balance by tasting rather than blindly following someone else’s directions. It’s true. By cooking this way, you learn what ingredients go together, what flavors pair well and how to use herbs and spices by taste.

I was thinking about Michael Smith when I made this dish. It was dinnertime and I had no clue what I was going to make. I’m not a menu planner. When it’s time to start dinner, I think about what I feel like eating or ask Tom what he feels like. If I bothered to make a menu, I’d probably never stick to it. It also depends on what ingredients I happen to have on hand, what the weather is like and how hungry we are.

Jamaican Soy Curl Tomato Curry (11)

At a loss of what to make for dinner, I settled on using Butler Foods Soy Curls which are a favorite of ours. I asked Tom what he was feeling like and he said “something saucy over potatoes.” So I set up a pot of potatoes to boil for mashed potatoes. I also knew I wanted to use the fresh asparagus I got.

Jamaican Soy Curl Tomato Curry (18)

Thinking of something saucy, I decided to make a Spanish dish and got my ingredients ready – crushed tomatoes, green olives, capers – and got the soy curls rehydrating. But when I went to season the soy curls, my hands reached for my Jamaican curry powder, my favorite spice blend. Jamaican curry powder is different than Indian curry powder and it makes food taste like authentic Jamaican food. Once I used the Jamaican curry powder, the thyme and allspice came naturally as they go together in Jamaican cuisine. Now I had a bunch of very delicious soy curls that I had to work hard not to munch.

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I started to work on the sauce, sauteing  onions and peppers but since I was now making Jamaican food, the olives and capers got put away. The only spicy peppers I had were banana peppers so I added those with the other aromatics of garlic, red pepper flakes and ginger.

After adding the crushed tomatoes, I put in all the spices I use in Jamaican food – the curry powder, thyme, cumin, allspice, black pepper and nutmeg. It tasted so good but I wanted another level of flavor. Standing there thinking what to do, I took some coconut milk and mixed that into the sauce. Now the sauce had a rich, creamy tomato-y flavor that was amazing.

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The soy curls went back into the sauce to soak up all those flavors while I finished making the rest of the meal. Each of our plates got a serving of creamy mashed potatoes on top of a bed of steamed spinach. That was topped with the soy curls in the curried tomato cream sauce and finally, the sauteed asparagus.

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It was a delicious meal and not what I had intended to make at all. When I write recipes, I never feel comfortable giving them titles like “the best ever” or “the ultimate whatever.” I think that’s up to the people eating them to decide if they are the best they’ve ever had or not. But I will say that this sauce was so delicious, we ate the leftovers by just sopping it up with bread. Now that it’s gone, I’m sad. I’ll have to make it again soon.

Jamaican Soy Curl Tomato Curry (8)

These Jamaican Soy Curls in Curried Tomato Cream Sauce may not be what I planned to make but I’m sure glad I went with my gut and followed my instincts. That’s the best way to cook. Enjoy!

Jamaican Soy Curls in Curried Tomato Cream Sauce

GF

Jamaican Soy Curl Tomato Curry (2)

For the soy curls­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

1 package Butler Soy Curls

2 tsp. Jamaican curry powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. ground allspice

3 Tbs. vegetable oil

 

For the dish­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

2 Tbs. vegetable or coconut oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

2 Tbs. banana peppers, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated

A pinch of red pepper flakes

1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbs. brine from the banana peppers

1 Tbs. Jamaican curry powder

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. ground allspice

A pinch of nutmeg

Kosher salt to taste

1 cup coconut milk

2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped for garnish

 

To make the soy curls: Empty the soy curls into a bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 10 minutes until softened. Drain and carefully press out excess liquid. Pat dry and toss with seasonings. Heat 2 Tbs. of vegetable oil in a deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the soy curls in a single layer and cook until browned and crisp on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Add another spoon of oil if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and try not to eat them all.

To make the dish: In the same saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for 4 minutes, until softened. Add the bell peppers and saute another 3 minutes. Stir in the banana peppers, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute until fragrant from the aromatics.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes and add the brine from the banana peppers (or any pickled food you might have). Mix in the seasonings and then add the coconut milk. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add some water or more coconut milk.

Return the soy curls to the pan and toss to coat in the sauce. Let simmer on low for another 5 minutes. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes and garnish with parsley.

Jamaican Soy Curl Tomato Curry (11)

The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it. 

Jamaican Soy Curls in Curried Tomato Cream Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Stew; Entree
Cuisine: Jamaican
 
Ingredients
  • For the soy curls
  • 1 package Butler Soy Curls
  • 2 tsp. Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • For the dish
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. banana peppers, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. brine from the banana peppers
  • 1 Tbs. Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. To make the soy curls:
  2. Empty the soy curls into a bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 10 minutes until softened. Drain and carefully press out excess liquid. Pat dry and toss with seasonings. Heat 2 Tbs. of vegetable oil in a deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Arrange the soy curls in a single layer and cook until browned and crisp on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. Add another spoon of oil if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and try not to eat them all.
  3. To make the dish:
  4. In the same saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for 4 minutes, until softened. Add the bell peppers and saute another 3 minutes. Stir in the banana peppers, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute until fragrant from the aromatics.
  5. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and add the brine from the banana peppers (or any pickled food you might have). Mix in the seasonings and then add the coconut milk. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add some water or more coconut milk.
  6. Return the soy curls to the pan and toss to coat in the sauce. Let simmer on low for another 5 minutes. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes and garnish with parsley.

 

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4 Responses to Jamaican Soy Curls in Curried Tomato Cream Sauce

  1. LBrooks September 1, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    This recipe is the ABSOLUTELY BEST recipe ever! I’m completely addicted….. Completely!! Thank you for sharing this … it’s truly incredible!

    • Rhea September 16, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

      Thank you! We love that sauce too and anything with soy curls. Thanks for letting me know! xoxo

  2. NancyAnnK June 5, 2015 at 7:57 am #

    Whohooo! Just got my Amazon order of soy curls the other day. I am making this tonight! Thank you!!!! Can’t wait to eat this!

    • Rhea June 9, 2015 at 9:08 pm #

      Nancy, how was it???


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