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An Agora and Curry

Jennifer Neuguth

I’m part of an Agora (a gathering space) where women come together to share and reflect. We gather once a month over a potluck dinner at someone’s house to brainstorm, to discuss, to work over what we have going on in our personal and professional lives. A main focus is holding each other up to making a difference in the community where we live. Everyone has a different experience – from the woman who started a farmers market to the doctor who left her practice to create health organizations in poverty-stricken areas in Providence. We really get into the nitty gritty of what’s going on. They’re not simple, superficial discussions.

This Thursday it’s my turn to host our gathering and offer a meal. I’m going to make a curry with sweet potato, dandelion leaf, pineapple, spices, and coconut milk – an odd combination of flavors for me. I chose it to reflect the relationship of these women. They’re all tremendous, but I don’t know them well (yet). We’re all from different backgrounds. There’s not really a common thread among us, but there’s a link in how we think. 

Every time we gather, I always receive some gift, an “aha moment” when I think, “Oh, that’s why I was here today!”

I’m so appreciative of the delicious, powerful, unique relationships we women create when we gather. There’s nothing like it!

And there’s nothing like this curry dish:

Sarah's Dandelion Thai Curry, by Terry Walters

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2-inch piece ginger root, peeled and julienned
  • 2-inch piece fresh turmeric root, grated
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1¼ cup whole coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (¾-inch cubes)
  • 2 cups chopped dandelion leaves
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded
  • 1½ cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. In large Dutch oven over medium-low heat, melt coconut oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté 3 minutes. 
  2. Stir in ginger, turmeric, five spice powder, cumin, cayenne and sea salt and stir to combine. 
  3. Add vegetable stock, coconut milk and peanut butter and whisk to dissolve peanut butter. 
  4. Bring to simmer, fold in sweet potato and cook covered 10 minutes.
  5. While curry simmers, place dandelion leaves in bowl and cover with boiling water. Steep 4 minutes and drain. 
  6. Remove lid from Dutch oven and mash ¼ of the sweet potatoes to thicken sauce. 
  7. Slice red pepper into long thin strips and then in half and fold into curry along with pineapple. 
  8. Stir in dandelion leaves and remove curry from heat. 
  9. Garnish with cilantro and serve over purple sticky rice.

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