Sometimes, when I’m living for a long time in a country, and the favorite foods of some of the other countries I’ve been in are hard to get, I create fusion dishes with the ingredients I have available. In my organic garden, I grow lemongrass, ginger and chilli, as well as key limes and a wonderful variety of herbs, including wild cilantro [or coriander]. Thai flavors are great because they’re versatile and can be fused with many ingredients to create some wonderfully tasty dishes.
Ripe plantain bananas are sweet and add a great texture to this vegetarian dish which has a hint of soy sauce and can be served with rice or noodles, or even quinoa – the ancient Inca high-protein grain. I like to toss the quinoa with a dash of the Thai sauce and season it with chopped chillangua [wild cilantro] and paper-thin slivers of fresh ginger.
Chilli Ginger Bananas Recipe:
Olive oil to saute
2 ripe plantain bananas, cubed
1 red onion, finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tomatoes, diced
1 large carrot, finely sliced
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1cm piece fresh ginger
2-3cm piece fresh lemongrass
1-4 fresh red chillies [depending on taste]
3 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp organic soy sauce
1 cup vegetable stock or water
2 tbsp corn or yucca starch
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
sea salt and ground black pepper
In a hot frying pan, heat the olive oil to almost smoking and saute the plantain bananas, onions, garlic, and peppers, stirring all the time so the bananas don’t burn.
Add the cumin and stir it in well before adding the tomatoes and carrots, then add the cauliflower and broccoli. Stir-fry for a few more minutes and turn down the heat.
In the blender, place the ginger, lemongrass, chillies, lime juice, soy sauce, and vegetable stock. Blend until it’s well combined. Add the cornstarch and blend again until well combined.
Pour this sauce into the simmering vegetables and stir through quickly until the sauce becomes transparent and slightly thickened.
Toss in the chopped cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, stir through and serve.
Cooking classes in Ecuador have never been more fun!