This is an easy dish, and with some steamed rice, is a whole meal. The key is using a store-bought curry paste, which saves you from buying and preparing garlic, ginger, lemongrass and a bunch of different spices.
If you use fresh tofu, straight out of the package, it will likely fall apart for stir-fries. Fried tofu and baked tofu both have a chewy, dense texture, and even after you cut it up into little pieces, won't fall apart in your wok. You can fry your own tofu slices or buy fried tofu cutlets in an Asian grocery store. Or use baked tofu for this dish.
When buying your Thai curry sauce, watch out for animal ingredients. Thai curry sauces in jars and cans sometimes contain fish or shrimp, but you should be able to find some vegan sauces in an Asian grocery store.
I used broccoli and green peppers last night, but you can throw in just about any vegetables you have on hand: green beans, cabbage, eggplant, carrots, mushrooms, etc.
If you don't have a wok, you might want to invest in one. I recommend getting a simple steel wok (Buy Direct). Not an electric wok, and not a wok with a non-stick coating. Try to get one with a round bottom, and a wok spatula (Buy Direct) with a rounded edge. The rounded bottom lets you easily move the food around the wok so that it cooks evenly. Look for two handles, preferably with wood to protect your hands from heat. If your wok has only one handle and a round bottom, it will constantly tip in the direction of the handle. As your wok becomes seasoned, it will develop a non-stick finish like a cast iron pan. And like a cast iron pan, your wok should be cleaned with just hot water, with no detergent or soap. After washing it, dry it and coat it lightly with oil before putting it away or it might rust.
Thai curry paste can be very spicy. Use more or less depending on how spicy you like your food.
Thai Coconut Curry Tofu
- 4 cups of chopped vegetables, separated by type
- 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil (approximate)
- soy sauce to taste
- 1 pound of tofu, either fried or marinated & baked, then cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 1-3 teaspoons Thai curry paste
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
In your hot wok, add a little vegetable oil and one kind of vegetable. Add a little splash of soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. Stir-fry until crisp-tender, then remove from wok and set aside. Do this for each type of vegetable. The different types of vegetables are cooked separately because each will have its own optimal cooking time.
After cooking and setting aside all of the vegetables, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the wok and stir-fry the tofu with a splash of soy sauce and a pinch of sugar.
In a small bowl, mix together the coconut milk, curry paste and a splash of soy sauce.
When the tofu pieces are just starting to brown add the vegetables back in and pour the sauce over everything. Stir-fry for another minute or two, to warm the sauce. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the top and serve with steamed white or brown rice.
Image İDoris Lin 2012, licensed to About.com, Inc.