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.
Red curry tofu with spinach and mushrooms
Serves 4-6, with steamed rice.
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
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.
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