I cleaned my fridge the other day, deeply. Somehow I’d managed to retain a head of purple cabbage for… six months or so? Although I generally give my fridge’s innards a good weekly wipe-down, there were some items that I’d neglected, thinking I’d use them “some other time.” I contemplated tossing the cabbage, but it seemed basically sound. I reflected on the many places and times in which food scarcity was (is) the rule: In those contexts, to throw away food (however marginal) would be unthinkable. Plus, I routinely get food out of dumpsters – so why wouldn’t I eat an old head of cabbage from my own fridge?
My friend was coming over, and had requested a meal of “wet juicy toothsome vegetables.” I knew just what to do (this friend, by the way, is not picky.) I sliced the legacy cabbage, discarding a few leaves on which ominous dark spots had bloomed. I also used a golden beet, some cherry tomatoes, a couple of carrots, a few mini bell peppers, kale, ginger, and garlic. If you have extra vegetables, this is a great (and very flexible) way to use them:
Clean Fridge Curry
Whatever vegetables you need to use (1-3 pounds, I guess?)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 inch piece of ginger, minced
2t ground cumin
2t ground coriander
1t crushed red pepper
2T olive oil
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (optional. I mean, all of it’s optional. This is an improv dish above all else.)
Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the spices. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the other vegetables, ginger, and garlic (I added mine all at once and it worked out fine. This is easy, quick comfort food, so don’t fret too much about the order in which you add things). Saute for a 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender but firm(ish), adding a little water if needed. Add the lemon juice, coconut milk, cilantro, and a squirt of Sriracha, if desired. Serve with rice or bread or potatoes or pasta or whatever you want. I had mine with peanut butter toast (something I’d never tried before that turned out to be an inspired combination. It will happen again), and for breakfast the next day with more PB toast and a fried egg.