Today is Meat Free Monday, and we are doing a curry tofu dish. I remembered few years ago, thinking of a meal without meat is something that I do not look forward to. Lunch without meat? Well things changed, a LOT! It’s amazing how food preferences and choices change through time. Food that I dislike to eat before, I enjoy eating now, like beets, Brussel Sprouts, raw bell peppers, spinach, quinoa and tofu
Tofu is not a new thing to me, it’s one of my mom’s favorite food. My mom was the one who introduced me to tofu, which I initially didn’t like. She like to cooked it deep-fried with a spicy vinaigrette, chilli and onion dipping sauce. That was when I started liking it, spices got into liking it. I still like tofu until now, but since I tried to avoid fried foods, I have to be creative and find different way of cooking it. There are quite a lot of ways to cook it, in most Asian cuisine, it’s stir fried and then rolled or sautéed in sweet sauces like my Stir Fry Tofu with Broccoli. Another way that I like to cook tofu with is with coconut milk, like curry. I thought of tofu when I made the Spicy Shrimp in Thai Coconut Sauce, I knew it will be a good idea to transform that dish for my meat free Monday dish.
Cooking tofu could get tricky sometimes because of its bland taste. The secret is always in the sauce. The sauce should be full of flavour and taste so that tofu when soaked and cooked with the sauce will absorb all the flavor. This is why I like cooking it with coconut milk. Coconut milk when used in savory dishes gives a creamy, thick and nice coconut flavor. Although there are quite a lot of chopping and slicing of vegetables, this dish is still easy to prepare. Since tofu is the main ingredient, there is no need to extra time to cook it to make it tender, it Is already soft by nature. Let’s get started!
- 1 pack Medium to Firm Tofu (Do not use the soft variety)
- 3 tbsp flavorless oil, divided
- 2 gloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 34 tsp salt (I used fine salt)
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (adjust as desired)
- 1/2 onion, peeled and diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1/2 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1/2 medium eggplant , cut into small chunks
- 1 cup coconut milk or coconut cream for a thicker sauce
- 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice (about 1/2 large lime, juiced)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 1 green jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 large red chili pepper
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder – optional
- 3 tbsp red curry paste
Note: This recipe is easy to adjust. Add more or less vegetable and spices as you like. If you do so, you also need to add more coconut milk so that you have more sauce.
- Marinate Tofu: Cut tofu into small dice pieces. Place the tofu in a bowl with 1 tbsp of the oil, garlic, ground ginger, lime juice, kosher salt and red chili flakes. Toss to coat and let marinade for 10 minutes.
- Prepare Coconut Milk Mixture: In bowl, mix coconut milk, peanut butter and brown sugar. Stir well until peanut butter and sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Cook the Tofu: In a heated pan, add 1 tbsp of oil, green jalapeno pepper, red chili pepper and tofu (with the marinade juice). Cook for 10 – 15 minutes turning each sides until it gets brown. Transfer the tofu to the plate.
- Cook the Vegetables: Using the same pan, add 1 tbsp of oil, onion, eggplant and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Mix Coconut Milk with Tofu: Pour coconut milk mixture then add tofu. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook until sauce is reduced by half. Continue simmering (medium heat) until you get the consistency you prefer. Thicker sauce means longer simmering. Adjust seasoning as desired.
Serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with more cilantro and basil, sliced red jalapeño of desired.
You can also make this using shrimp or prawns. Here is the one that I made before. Checkout the recipe Spicy Shrimp in Thai Coconut Sauce
You can also make a version of this using chicken if you are not into vegetarian or seafood option. Checkout the recipe Spicy Thai Red Chicken Curry in Coconut Sauce
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