We eat a lot of Thai food in this apartment. I won’t go so far as to say we know all about authentic Thai (yet!) We’ve got a couple cookbooks, and sometimes we try to mimic the flavors of Sawadee. What we mostly make is curry, but according to my favorite Thai cooking site, curry is not really a staple in the Thai diet. More common are fresh stir-fried veggies, soup, and fish.
I’m hung up on curry for several reasons. For one, it’d delicious and easy to make. The other thing is all this curry paste that we have in our fridge. The curry paste at the co-op is a great deal- $5 for a little tub of it and the little tub goes a really long way. Since we like to try different kinds of curry, we’ve got two or three little tubs in there that are asking to be used up before the end of the year. That’s a lot of curry! Not that we’re not complaining…
We mix it up each time with the type of curry paste, the variety of vegetables, and the type of meat. But this time we went with tofu, with great success. One block of firm tofu was more than enough to feed two with leftovers (provided that you eat this with rice and veggies).
This curry is very flavorful and just the right amount of spicy. If you like it mild, omit the chili or maybe just use 1/2 a chili.
*We were able to get all of our ingredients at the co-op except the thai chilis. That’s something we got last summer at the farmer’s market and have kept in our freezer. If you don’t have any, try using sriracha hot chili sauce instead.
Normally we use regular ginger, but this time I sprung for some authentic Thai ginger. You might have seen this in the produce section – It’s called galangal and is shinier, harder, and more colorful than regular ginger. I’ve heard it described as earthy and citrusy, It’s more potent and spicy and will give your curry a great flavor. Per pound it is a little pricier than regular ginger but not to worry, you’ll only need a small piece which will hardly weigh very much!
For ground sesame, simply mash up some sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle. I got one for Christmas and use it all the time. Mashing herbs and seeds releases their flavor and improves the texture of many dishes. Our co-op carries mortar and pestles at one of the lowest prices I’ve seen, only a few dollars.
Tofu is sliced, marinaded, and added to a curry with vegetables. If you’re looking for an easier meal that takes less time, simply heat up the marinated tofu and serve it over rice (nix the curry). We had thai tofu over cilantro lime rice for lunch the other day – delicious!
Thai-Marinated Tofu Curry serves four or two with leftovers
- 1 block (1 pound) of firm tofu, cut into thin triangles or rectangles
- 4 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 to 2 thai chilis (2 for spicy and 1 for medium), minced
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ground sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger (galangal if you can get it)
- 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
for the curry:
- 1 Tablespoon curry paste (we’ve tried this with both green curry and massaman paste with yummy results)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can coconut milk
- 2 largish carrots, thin sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thin sliced
- 1/2 a white or yellow onion, thin sliced
- rice, to serve
To make the curry: Slice and dry-fry the tofu. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl, then marinade the tofu in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, giving it a careful stir every so often so the pieces are evenly coated.
When the tofu is about ready, open the can of coconut milk and scoop the thick cream off the top. Add it to the pan and cook on medium heat. When the milk is warm and bubbly, add the curry paste and stir to combine. Then add the rest of the coconut milk and stir. Bring to a light boil, add the veggies and reduce the heat; cover. When the veggies are nearing doneness, add the tofu along with the marinade juices. Remove from the heat when the veggies are cooked through and the tofu is hot.
Serve over rice.