Sunday, March 16, 2008

Burst of color and flavor: red curry with tofu

Maybe it’s the continuation of winter that’s making me long for crisp, bright vegetables with lots of color. I’m also finding myself cooking simple, quick meals and cutting corners wherever possible. Browsing through Donna Hay’s latest magazine, my exact thoughts were responded to from the other side of the world in the form of a quick, zippy dinner: red curry with tofu.

I know tofu is not for everyone. It’s really not the star of this meal anyway. It could easily be omitted or replaced with some sliced chicken or beef sautéed with a little salt and pepper. If the star of this little drama is a flavorful red curry paste and coconut milk sauce, then the unexpected plot twist is how quickly it all comes together. In fact, the first time I made this, I picked up two takeout cartons of jasmine rice from the local Malaysian restaurant and didn’t even make the rice. How long did it take me all together? Ten minutes at most. In a fraction of an hour, we had a spicy, crunchy, (mostly) healthy meal that was incredibly satisfying. Not only is it rather scrumptious, but also it’s quite pretty on the plate. Have a try.

I’ve adapted the recipe by adding a trick I learned from Thomas Keller’s tomes: to blanch the vegetables prior to cooking. You can certainly skip this step, but it’s what helps the vegetables retain their vibrant color. It’s quick to do, and you can blanch everything ahead of time if you like and the throw everything together in a few minutes when you are ready to cook the meal.

Red curry with tofu (adapted from Donna Hay magazine, issue 37)

If desired, blanch (30 seconds in heavily salted boiling water, plunge into ice bath immediately. If not blanching, slice vegetables and proceed):
1 handful green beans, ends trimmed, cut into ~1-2 inch pieces
1 sweet red pepper, julienned

1 brown onion
1 Tbs red curry paste
2 cups cooked jasmine rice
1 cup coconut milk (light works fine)
200g chopped firm tofu (I like silken)
salt

garnish:
1 scallion, sliced thinly
Thinly sliced red chilli pepper to taste
1 handful bean sprouts
Optional: mint leaves

Cook onion with 1 tablespoon red curry paste in a little vegetable oil (note: I like to slice the onion in half lengthwise and then slice thinly along the grain). Add 1 cup coconut milk and 2 cups jasmine rice and stir until well combined. Add 200g chopped firm tofu, green beans and red pepper and cook until warmed through. Season with salt to taste. Top with chopped red chili, bean sprouts, mint and scallion.

12 comments:

Katia said...

The curry looks delicious- so vibrant and happy! This sounds like a perfect weekday meal- a must try.

Meeta said...

This looked delish on Flickr and now it looks even more so as I have the recipe to go with it. Yumm!

larryb said...

Yum - I love tofu - georgous photo!!

Anonymous said...

Such an artful photo with the diagonal of the red chopsticks framing those colorful vegetables. It's a very spirited pick me up during these final weeks of winter. For years, I have been mystified by the exotic tastes in Indian food, and I think this is my chance to begin to understand the ingredients. Thank you!
Auntie

Meena said...

This looks amazing! What a vibrant dish, in both looks as well as flavour - a must try for my next curry night! :)

amy said...

Beautiful photo - beautiful meal. Excellent tip about blanching the veggies first. Thanks!

Aran said...

beautiful colors!

Annemarie said...

Oh yes, very bright and pretty indeed. I love the red chopsticks!

vanessafrida said...

Hey I really enjoy your blog, I have going through it, and I hope you don't mind if I add a link from my blog to yours....

Just like you, I enjoy cooking, and I like the interaction I have with readers via comments....it means a lot huh to share thoughts with other like minded people.

I hope you don't mind me linking it :)

michelle @ TNS said...

gorgeous photo! what a perfect antidote to the dreary rainy day in nyc.

Anonymous said...

Lovely! Will certainly give it a try.
-catchall fan in brooklyn

skrockodile said...

I've really been enjoying your comments on this - thank you - keep 'em coming!
vanessafrida: I appreciate your comment and of, course, link away - thanks so much!

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