My dear friend Samara and I have been friends since the third grade. At age 8, we looked like identical twins and were virtually inseparable. This blissful friendship lasted two more years, but we parted ways in sixth grade because I opted for Catholic School and she did not. High School wasn’t any easier, she lived near Dodger Stadium while I lived in Laurel Canyon. She went to school way out in the Valley and I, in Beverly Hills. College was even worse. I went to school in upstate New York, she in Michigan. Post-college, the fates seemed to have aligned and we find ourselves living two subway stops away from each other in Brooklyn. I had the pleasure of having Samara over for dinner the other night and we made a delicious and simply Thai curry.
The thing about Thai food is that when you mix curry paste with coconut milk, it’s going to be delicious…no matter what. I happened to have some Prik Khing curry paste on hand, so I decided to go with that. It’s particularly spicy and ginger-heavy so I used just a little. Classic red, green or yellow curry paste will also work wonderfully for this recipe. This is a vegetarian version, but it would also be delicious with chicken or shrimp. As for the vegetables….whatever you have on hand will work, but eggplant and red peppers really go well with spicy curry (and it’s good to have something green like peas or broccoli to balance it out)
Thai Vegetable Curry with Tofu
This recipes makes enough for 6 servings or a weeks worth of lunches!
You will need:
Jasmine rice (cook before hand so you don’t have to worry about it)
3 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 package of firm tofu
2-3 Tbs Thai curry paste (I used Prik Khing)
1 can coconut milk
1 small can bamboo shoots (optional)
1 can whole straw mushrooms (optional, but seriously necessary to any Thai anything)
2-3 Tbs of oil to fry the tofu in
3 cups of vegetables (I used 1 cup each of: red peppers, Japanese eggplant and snow peas)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the garlic and onions until they are fragrant (about two minutes). Then add 2 Tbs of the curry paste and mix in, add a bit more oil if the pan is dry. Cook for another minute or so. Add most of the vegetables, anything that takes a little time to cook like eggplant and peppers.
2. Meanwhile, pan fry the tofu in oil, adding a little bit of curry paste if you wish. Once the tofu is golden-brown, set aside.
3. After the vegetables have been cooking for about 3 minutes, add the coconut milk, 1/2 cup of water to thin it out and the rest of the vegetables including the canned mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the eggplant is tender and you are happy with the consistency. Add water as needed and more curry paste if you want more flavor.
4. Serve the curry over rice and squeeze lime juice and sprinkle cilantro on each serving (very important).