In my quest to get my family eating less meat I have been making some very tasty comfort style food. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not forcing anyone to give up meat and become vegetarian or vegan. No, we made the decision together to cut down on our meat intake. My husband and I are doing really well, however my daughter is another story. Although she is really enjoying all of the veggie meals I’ve been making she still has some meaty cravings, and that’s totally fine with me. Now, in case you were wondering if we had become vegetarian, no, I guess if you were into labels you could say we are flexitarian. We are definitely enjoying more plant based meals but are still eating meat, just very occasionally.
On the days when our girl is being a carnivore my husband and I are having the odd date night, meat free dinners. And this Thai red curry with crispy tofu is one of our favourites. This Thai red curry does take a bit of extra time and effort but it is so worth it and if it’s for a special evening or date night then that’s ok, right? Most of the effort and time for this recipe goes into that crispy tofu, but you won’t regret making the effort. Crispy tofu is sort of the only way I like tofu, I really like those crispy corners and soft in the middle little cubes, more than I probably should. I’ve also used some last of the season courgette and green beans for the veggies in this curry, along with red pepper which gives this curry a nice bit of crunch.
Now, this Thai red curry is not quite vegetarian, the red curry paste contains fish sauce and I use fish sauce in the recipe. I’m still using up my store cupboard ingredients and fish sauce seems to always be there, waiting to be used. And I really don’t like throwing out perfectly good food. If you want to keep this vegetarian then ‘Cooks Illustrated’ have a great alternative to fish sauce here. Some brands of Thai red curry paste are vegetarian or vegan so make sure and read the label if you want to keep this veggie. If you want to make this vegan then you could also swap the honey for agave nectar, I think that maple syrup would be too strong here so agave may be your best bet.
I serve this Thai red curry with either brown or jasmine rice and lots of toppings! I add flaked coconut, coriander leaves, lime wedges and some slices of red chilli pepper, because toppings are the best, and I love them. It’s up to you though. This is a great date night dinner, it’s so full of lovely fresh and zesty flavours and it’s perfect for this time of the year when the evenings are getting chilly.
Thai Red Curry with Veggies & Crispy Tofu
For the Thai Red Vegetable Curry
- 2 fat cloves of garlic minced
- 2.5 cm piece of ginger peeled then finely chopped
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 1 medium brown onion (180g) peeled, cut in half then sliced
- 1 medium red bell pepper seeds and pith removed, then thinly sliced
- 100 g green beans cut in half
- 1 small courgette (180g) cut in half then sliced
- 2 heaped tbs red thai curry paste
- 1 400g can of full fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
For the crispy tofu
- 1 x 250 g pack of firm tofu drained and cut into cubes
- 2 tbs grape seed oil
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp runny honey
- The juice of half a lemon
- Rice, Jasmine or brown
- Lime wedges
- Coconut flakes
- Fresh coriander leaves
- Slices of red chilli pepper
- Start by preparing the tofu. Lay a double layer of kitchen paper on a baking tray, spread the cubed tofu evenly on the baking tray, cover with another double layer of kitchen paper then place a slightly smaller baking tray on top. Place two 400g cans of beans or a heavy saucepan on top of the top tray and leave to drain for 30 minutes.
- Make the marinade for the tofu, add the oils, salt, honey, soy sauce and lemon juice to a large mixing bowl, big enough to contain the tofu. Whisk all the ingredients together.
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C, I use a fan assisted, electric oven, please adjust according to your own oven.
- Remove the tofu from the trays transfer to the marinade bowl. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes, turning the tofu half way through. Prep your veg while the tofu is marinating.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the tofu on the baking tray, pour the leftover marinade over the tofu and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turning the cubes over half way through cooking. I also turn the tray around to ensure even cooking. The tofu is done when the edges are crispy and the cubes are a rich golden colour
- While the tofu is cooking make the curry. Heat the coconut oil in a large sauté pan, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and ginger, cook for one minute. Add the curry paste, stir well then cook for a minute or two. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a slow boil, turn down the heat. Add the red pepper and green beans and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Now add the fish sauce if using and the sugar, leave to cook for a few minutes. Then add the courgettes and cook until they are slightly tender.
- When the tofu is nice and crispy remove it from the oven and place on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil. Then add it to the curry.
- Serve immediately on Jasmine or brown rice with lime wedges, coriander leaves, coconut flakes and chilli slices.
*Calories are approximate and do not include rice or toppings.