Friday, February 17, 2006

Thai Tofu Curry

I made this beautiful Thai Tofu Curry dish one recent cold winter night. The wiggly golden tofu sticks were paired with stir-fried broccoli and mushrooms, simmered in a red curry paste, garlic, and coconut milk sauce. All of this was laid atop a bed of delicate, but hearty, steamed brown rice, and topped off with shredded cabbage and cashew pieces with a twist of lime. My dinner was loosely based on the following recipe:

Thai Tofu with Red Curry Sauce over Coconut-Scallion Rice

10 dried kaffir lime leaves -- or 1 1/2 tsp lime zest
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
2 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice -- or basmati or regular long-grain white rice
2/3 cup cilantro
2 large garlic cloves -- halved
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon fish sauce -- or 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil -- or corn oil
3 tablespoons hot chile sauce -- or 2 tbsp chile paste
16 ounces firm tofu -- patted dry and in 1/2" cubes
1/2 bunch broccoli -- in small pieces, about 4 cups
1 cup minced scallion
2 tablespoons minced cilantro

Soak lime leaves in 1 quart very hot water 30 minutes.

While leaves soak, bring the coconut milk, 2 1/4 cups water, and salt to a boil. Add rice. Cover and simmer 25 minutes.

Drain the lime leaves and chop into pea-sized pieces. In a food processor or blender, process lime leaves (or lime zest), cilantro, garlic, and peanuts. With the machine running, add fish sauce and 3 tbs oil, then the chile sauce. Set aside.

In a wok or nonstick skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add tofu, cook until the pieces form a golden crust on the bottom. Turn, and let tofu crust on the other side. Transfer to a plate.

In the same wok or skillet, add the broccoli and 1/2 cup water. Cover and steam 2 minutes. Add lime-peanut paste, and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add tofu and toss to coat. Stir scallions into the rice. Serve with tofu, garnished with cilantro.

"Vegetarian Planet"

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