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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Recipe: Thai-Style Tofu Curry

When I lived in Germany, one of my favorite things to eat (aside from actual German food, which I love, the awesome pizza everyone over there can make but no one in the US can seem to even come close to replicating, and the mounds of Caprese salad I devoured) was Thai-style tofu curry. Several years ago I attempted to make it myself with disastrous outcomes. So I was terrified to try again last night, out of fear that it would, again, be disgusting, and my dreams of tasting that delicious meal would forever be dashed. I started working off a recipe online, but it didn't seem exactly right. I improvised a bit, and I'm not entirely sure this is exactly what I did, but hopefully it'll be close enough that I'll be able to replicate it again in the future. Probably on a weekly basis, because it was awesome. Probably not as good as what you could get in Germany, and certainly not authentic Thai, but still pretty great for homemade, in a white, Midwestern girl's kitchen.

Thai-Style Tofu Curry:

2-4 Tbsp canola oil
1 (12 oz) package of extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 tsp salt

1 Tbsp butter or margarine (I used dairy-free "butter" and it worked fine)
1 small onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water (you could easily use 3 cups coconut milk and 1 cup water - I just happened to only have 2 cups of coconut milk on hand (I make it myself), so I used water to make up the extra liquid I needed. Maybe you could even use 4 cups of coconut milk? I might have to try that next time. But you can easily add more water if it doesn't look like enough liquid after you throw in all the other ingredients)
2-5 Tbsp curry powder (I started with about 3 Tbsp, then just shook a bunch more in. Probably 4-5 Tbsp total)
1 tsp salt (or more, to taste - I thought it definitely needed more after cooking - but some ground sea salt on top after dishing it up was perfect)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
1/2 tsp chili powder, or to taste (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 green bell peppers, chopped
8-12 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used 12 oz)
8 oz (or so) chopped cauliflower florets

2-3 cups cooked Thai jasmine rice


Drain and dice tofu - I put it in a paper towel-lined colander for an hour or so to try and drain out as much liquid as I could - the more water in it, the more it's going to splatter and pop while cooking and burn your arms.

In a large skillet (or wok), heat canola oil over medium heat. Add tofu cubes, sprinkle over the 1 tsp of salt, and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden on all sides. Remove from the pan onto paper towels to drain, and set aside (it can wait for a while like this, so don't worry about time).

In the same large skillet, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until tender, about 5 min. Stir in the coconut milk, water, curry powder, salt, peppers, chili powder, and cilantro. Add the tofu, bell peppers, mushrooms, and cauliflower (at this point, assess how much liquid there is - it should be enough to look kind of like soup, but not so much that it covers all the ingredients - if it doesn't look like enough liquid, add more water 1/2 cup at a time). Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to a simmer. Taste to test ingredients, and add more curry powder, chili powder, or peppers, to desired spice level (the measurements I listed were perfect for me, but Husband added about another 1 tsp cayenne pepper to his, and some crushed red pepper, because he's kind of insane about spicy foods). Cover and simmer for about 15 min, then uncover and continue to simmer another 10-15 min. Times aren't specific on this, because it's not really going to hurt it to simmer a bit longer.

Serve over cooked Thai jasmine rice. And, like I mentioned before, I added some ground sea salt on top just before eating, and it made it the perfect flavor for me.

Serves probably something like 4-6.

Sorry everything is so inaccurate on this one. That's what you get when it's actually my own recipe, and I've only made it once. :D Enjoy!!

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