Multidimensional Thai Curry with Vegetables and Tofu—Bursting with a rainbow of colorful vegetables, this meatless curry has a range of textures, from crunchy bell peppers to soft tofu. Fast, easy, tasty and perfect for a weeknight meal—what more could you ask for?
Tending to err on the side of more veggies, we nearly doubled the amount of green beans and bell peppers. We only had “lite” coconut milk on hand, but if you use the regular version, the end product would be a bit thicker. And we ladled ours over wide rice noodles, but steamed rice would also be a suitable accompaniment.
While you can buy lemongrass paste in a tube, you need the real McCoy for this dish. Make sure to cut off a few inches from the top woody stems and chop off the bottom portion, then remove the tough outer layers. Bruise the rest of the stalk with a mallet to open up the fragrance, then cut into 3-4″ pieces.
In the end, while it was fabulous the first time around, the dish didn’t really hold up too well as leftovers.
Most of the ingredients are already prepped.
- 1 (13.5- to 14-oz.) can coconut milk
- 1/4 cup red or yellow curry paste
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth, preferrably homemade
- 2 Tbs. light brown sugar or light brown palm sugar; more as needed
- 1 tsp. fish sauce; more as needed
- 3/4 cup bite-size green bean pieces
- 3/4 cup sliced onions (1/2-inch-thick slices)
- 3 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed, bruised, and cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces
- 6 whole fresh or thawed frozen wild lime leaves (or substitute 1 tsp. finely grated lime zest)
- 14 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into bite-size pieces
- 3/4 cup diced bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow)
- 3/4 cup oyster mushrooms, pulled apart into bite-size pieces
- 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh Italian or Thai basil leaves
- Lime wedges, for garnish
After draining the liquid, the block of extra firm tofu is cut into bite size cubes.
Three stalks of lemongrass are bruised and cut into appropriate lengths.
A portion of the coconut milk is reduced by half.
The curry paste is whisked into the reduced coconut milk.
Next, the brown sugar, fish sauce and broth are added.
Green beans, onions and lemongrass are incorporated.
Finally the tofu, bell peppers and oyster mushrooms simmer for several more minutes.
Line your bowl with rice or noodles before ladling in the curry.
- Shake the can of coconut milk or stir it well (this creates a consistent thickness, since the fat often solidifies at the top of the can).
- In a 3- to 4-quart saucepan or wok over medium heat, simmer 1/2 cup of the coconut milk, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. It will get very thick and shiny and may or may not separate; either is fine.
- Add the curry paste, whisk well, and cook, continuing to whisk, for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth, sugar, fish sauce, and remaining coconut milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
- Add the green beans, onions, lemongrass, and lime leaves and continue to simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary.
- After 2 minutes, add the tofu, bell peppers, and oyster mushrooms and continue to simmer until everything is tender and cooked through, about 3 more minutes.
- Remove the curry from the heat. Season to taste with more sugar and fish sauce and stir in the basil. Transfer to a serving bowl (or serve right out of the pot). Remove the lemongrass and lime leaves or tell your guests to eat around them. Garnish with the lime wedges.
by Robert Danhi from Fine Cooking