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December 21, 2010

Recipe for red curry tofu with spinach and mushrooms

Vegan red curry tofu

In Adam's Rib, one of my favorite (albeit dated) movies, married lawyers Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy find themselves with the late-night munchies. They head to the kitchen of their posh apartment, where Kate, in her evening gown, raids the refrigerator and comes up with an armful of leftovers. "How about curry?" she asks, and in a Hollywood second, she's got a beautiful lamb curry on the table. With a little help from ingredients in the pantry, you can whip up a curry in a Hollywood second -- well, in 20 minutes -- and you don't need to be wearing an evening gown or tuxedo to do it. This recipe is moderately hot, so feel free to reduce the amount of curry paste for a milder version. I like medium-hot Thai red curry best, but this recipe will be delicious with any curry paste you have on hand. Look for the Mae Ploy or Amoy brands in an Asian grocery store.

Vegan red curry tofu

Red curry tofu with spinach and mushrooms

From the pantry, you'll need: red curry paste, coconut milk, brown sugar, fish sauce, mushroom soy sauce, roasted unsalted peanuts, onions, long-grain white or basmati rice.

Serves 4-6, with steamed rice.

Ingredients

1 lb extra-firm tofu
1 tsp fresh lime juice
4 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce (I use Three Crabs brand), or 3 Tbsp mushroom soy sauce for vegan
2 tsp canola oil
1 small onion, cut into chunks
1 small red bell pepper, cut into chunks
A scant 1/2 cup Thai red curry paste (I use Mae Ploy brand)
1 13-oz can coconut milk
4 oz baby spinach leaves
4 oz sliced white mushrooms
1-2 Tbsp chopped roasted unsalted peanuts, for garnish

Directions

Drain the tofu, then cut into 1/2-inch dice. Set aside.

In a small glass measuring cup or bowl, stir together the lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce, until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and red pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the curry paste, and stir for 30 seconds to release some of the fragrance. Pour in the coconut milk. Bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring to incorporate the curry paste, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the fish sauce mixture. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens a bit.

Stir in the spinach, mushrooms and tofu. Stir gently, and cook for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked through.

Transfer the curry to a serving bowl, and top with chopped peanuts. Serve with steamed long-grain white rice or basmati rice.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]


More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Green chicken curry with eggplant
Salmon choo chee
Potato and broccoli samosas
Green shrimp or fish curry
Thai chicken curry

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Thai-spiced pumpkin soup, from 101 Cookbooks
Slow roasted salmon, from No Recipes
Vietnamese fish sauce dip, from White on Rice Couple
Thai-style chicken legs, from Smitten Kitchen
Lamb curry with cauliflower and double cilantro, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Comments

Lydia- This sounds *so* delicious! I think it would tempt Miss Hepburn herself. LOVE.

Oooh, this sounds so, so, so good. Very enticing picture! (But fish sauce--is the kind you recommend vegan? Otherwise, this recipe isn't. :)

Karina, this curry is a bit spicy, but then again, weren't Hepburn and Tracy???

Deena, I think it is, but you're right, need to double check that. You can substitute mushroom soy sauce (and I'll amend the recipe to reflect that). Thanks for the catch.

I do the same thing! This is a great go-to meal. And in fact, I just picked up a few cans of coconut milk the other day, so my pantry would be fully stocked.

Everything you're cooking lately looks great to me! And Thai Red Curry is my favorite too, and I'm trying to eat less meat so I think I would love this.

With some Thai curry paste in the fridge and a can of coconut milk in the pantry, I am always ready for a quick dinner.

That looks fantastic, not just for the holidays. I'd have this as a quick weeknight meal. Happy holidays, Lydia!

This definitely inspired me to make a red curry tonight--thank you! So good. Mushroom soy sauce is such umame deliciousness.

Julia, red curry paste and coconut milk are always in my pantry, too. Can't imagine what I'd do without them.

Kalyn, thank you! I've definitely been on a comfort food kick -- cooking the foods that make us feel warm (sometimes perspiring!) and fuzzy.

Pam, same here. What a great way to use leftovers.

LimeCake, it's a perfect worknight dinner. Red curry paste and coconut milk alone make a pretty good base, with whatever you have on hand.

Deena, I love mushroom soy. It's not that easy to fine except in Asian groceries and Whole Foods stores.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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