theorems and corollaries contrived in the kitchen
First of all, HA! Nice blog post title, Self. So out of left-field.
Here’s the story. I made this curry and sat down with it, chopsticks in hand. I like eating with chopsticks even when they do not match the cultural inspiration of my food because they require a bit more concentration to use. I feel the shapes of each component more intimately and am more mindful of the meal as I eat. I picked up cubes of zucchini, cubes of tofu, sated cubes of eggplant. Even the onion had rectangular-hinting vertices. Noticing the abundance of cubes and cube-like shapes, I thought “How very Cartesian…“— or rather, how very friendly-to-represent-in-a-Cartesian-coordinate-system. Yes.
Descartes is one of my favorite Western thinkers. We rarely realize just how deeply rooted his ideas are in our foundational logical thought-processes. As a freshman in college I was very amused by the level of reverence Descartes held toward mathematics, because he even went to far as to try to solve philosophic problems by applying the rules of mathematics (he used geometry to formulate an idea of what the existence of God means). He felt as many mathematicians do that objective Truth lies critically in mathematics because it is the only realm that does not rely on the physical world for its verities. Its truth transcends time and the multiplicities of human experience. There are many problems with this ideology of mathematics, but the stories entwined in it are no less invigorating.
Back to the curry, I hope that no one is affronted by the fact that this Indian-style curry with spice from Trinidad and Tobago is served on a bed of Japanese rice noodles and eaten, by me at least, with chopsticks. The ingredients simply called to me here, disregarding their background. And it turned out delicious.
And yes, I did enjoy this meal over the top of my algorithms & complexity notes.
A warming curry of medium spiciness. It is a salute to the Cartesian coordinate system with shapes that are particularly friendly to it— namely cubes and rectangular prisms. You up the heat of the dish by adjusting the ratio of hot curry spice to mild. This would also be delicious atop a bed of rice rather than noodles.
For the curry:
½ package tofu, pressed
½ medium onion, chopped
½ medium eggplant, diced
Heaping 2 c diced zucchini
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp hot yellow curry powder
1 tbsp mild curry powder
½-1 tsp salt
2 c cashew milk
Melt a knob of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and a smaller amount in a small pan over medium-high heat. Dice the tofu and fry in the small pan, flipping occasionally, until golden. Frying the tofu separately ensures a crispier texture. At the same time in the large pan, add the onion, eggplant, zucchini, and garlic. Sauté about 5 minutes, until the onions are just beginning to brown.
Add the curry powder and stir to evenly coat the veggies. Keep stirring for about 30 seconds, until the spices begin to waft delightful fragrance from the pan. Pour in the cashew milk, and add the salt and fried tofu. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Cover, and let the curry simmer for another 20-25 minutes.