First things first – Thank you thank you to everyone who visited my blog last night! I had about 20x as many hits in 3 hours as I usually get in a whole day!! And thank you to whomever pinned my Cooking Tips and Tricks page to Pinterest!! I’m so glad so many people are reading and liking what they see enough to share! Although you may never read this, I still thought I’d at least try to say thanks! 😀 You guys totally made my day.
And now for something equally awesome: Thai curry. I recently fell in love with Thai food. I found a great Thai restaurant nearby and almost fell over when I realized they had literally dozens of gluten free vegan/vegetarian options. Usually when I eat out, I have to seriously compromise both on flavor and on what I’m willing to overlook (the vegan becomes more vegetarian). So you can imagine my excitement when I had that feeling of “I can’t decide what to get!!!” — I never get that feeling anymore!! 😀
The first night I ordered take-out I decided to splurge on a 2 entrees and a soup so I could kind of sample what was available. I instantly fell in love with the sweet, thin-brothed curry and knew I had to save my wallet by learning to make this dish. This is my new favorite dish for a Saturday night in, curled up with a glass of wine and a season or two of an old British sitcom.
This dish lends itself well to any vegetable, making it very market-friendly. Since it’s January, tonight’s curry is full of heartier veggies like cauliflower, potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, and parsnips. If you like you can also scramble an egg and add it in. Because the veg is so flexible, the real trick is to make sure you’ve got authentic curry paste. I strongly recommend ordering your curry paste online or in an authentic Asian foods supply store before overspending on a jar of imitation curry in a grocery store. It will be many times cheaper per serving and the flavor will be spot on!! It will also have a much longer shelf life. Here’s the curry paste I use and highly recommend. Lastly, when shopping for curry paste, make sure to check the ingredients label! Many Thai curry pastes contain shrimp paste, and are therefore not truly vegetarian.
Yellow Thai Curry with Baked Tofu: (as listed serves 8-10, or one curry fanatic for a whole week)
- Wok (or round-bottomed pan), wooden spoon or spatula, baking sheet lined with a Silpat (or use a non-stick sheet), large bowl, tea pot/kettle, medium sauce pan, colander, metal spatula, whisk, spoon, knife, 2 plates, paper towels, cutting board, range
Ingredients: (all veggies can vary based on preferences and availability!)
- 1 block firm or extra firm tofu
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets/pieces
- 2-3 carrots, sliced
- 2 large yellow onions, sliced into half-moons
- 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 3-4 new potatoes, cut into small bite-sized pieces
- 7-8 shiitakes, stems removed and caps sliced
- 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
- 2 Tbsp yellow Thai curry paste
- 1 can coconut milk
- Fish sauce or salt
- Raw sugar/agave syrup
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- Coconut oil
- Spike’s very low sodium Vegit Magic veggie seasoning (or similar seasonings/mix)
- 8 servings of rice vermicelli or bean thread (brown rice is also and excellent option)
- Salt and Pepper
Update (July 2012): To lighten this up during the summer (or when serving those who don’t dig on the sweet sauce), I’ve started adding the zest and juice of a lime to the broth. Also, while the curry and coconut milk are warming, I’ll steep fresh garlic and chopped spring onions in the sauce too, adding an extra layer of flavor.
- Preheat the oven to 450 F.
- Remove the tofu from its packaging. Drain the tofu, and wrap it in paper towels. Place it between two plates and top with the can of coconut milk. Let the tofu sit, pressed under the weight of the can for at least 15 minutes. Prep your potatoes. When the tofu’s ready cut it into bite-sized chunks.
- Place the tofu and potato pieces onto your baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and then generously sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Spike’s veggie seasoning. Toss with your hands to make sure everyone’s feeling the love. Bake for 50-60 mins on an upper rack at 450 F, turning with a spatula half-way through.
- Prep the rest of your veggies. Fill your tea pot or kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Place your noodles in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let sit 5-10 minutes or until the noodles are soft. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
- Warm the can of coconut milk in the sauce pan over med-low heat. Whisk in about 2 Tbsp of curry paste and the vegetable stock. Season with a pinch of salt (or dash or two of fish sauce) and then sweeten to taste. Try starting with about 1 tsp of the sugar and then taste and adjust seasonings/sweetness as desired. Set aside and keep warm over low heat.
- Melt a Tbsp or two of coconut oil in the bottom of your wok over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and cook 1-2 minutes or until starting to soften, then add the carrots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper as needed and slowly add each of your vegetables in the order of longest cook-time to shortest cook-time. Be careful not to add too many veggies at one time to prevent cooling off your wok too much! Stir-fry the veggies a few minutes until they reach your desired texture, and make sure they’re all lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. I like to add the mushrooms at the very end so they can keep their firmness.
- Add the baked tofu and potatoes to the wok, and then pour on the curry sauce. Give the veg a good stir in the sauce. Serve the hot curry over the noodles (or rice) and slurp away!!