I am calling this dish “Thai-Style” because I have yet to take those classes in Thailand that will solidify my thai-food-making techniques. We are absolutely crazy for thai food at our house, especially when it comes from Rod Dee, the Best Thai Restaurant On The Planet. I know it is going to sound like I am making this up, but Thai Food, hummus, fried eggs, chocolate and raisins are more or less the only foods my two-year old will eat. When my husband and I first discovered her intensely passionate love of massaman curry and pad thai with tofu, we thought it was completely hysterical and adorable. Of course, we also enjoyed telling everyone about her sophisticated taste whenever the subject of toddler eating habits arose. Now the novelty has long since worn off, and I find myself left struggling (since we cannot order thai food for every single meal) with how to actually make the thai-style food at home, taste like the magical, spicy-sweet dishes from Rod Dee. The following recipe is my most recent attempt, and also a good way to use up a little of that red curry paste I bought for the Pumpkin Soup with Thai Curry.
Note: If you want real, crispy, deep fried tofu you have to make sure to get as much water out as possible. To do this, place tofu on a few layers of paper towels and cover the top with 3 or 4 folded paper towels as well. Place something flat and heavy on top on tofu and let drain for 20-30 minutes. Then cut the block of tofu in half horizontally and cut into cubes or triangles. Or of you prefer you can just cut up the tofu and add it to the simmering curry for a few minutes to heat it through before serving.
Thai-Stye Red Curry with Vegetables and Tofu
For the deep-fried tofu:
3-4 cups vegetable oil
1 package extra-firm tofu drained, pressed and cut into 2 inch cubes or triangles
Heat the oil in a medium, deep pot (you will need a candy thermometer to be sure your oil reaches 375 F, if you don’t have one, you can test it after a few minutes by putting in a piece of tofu and testing to see if the oil is up to temperature– it should only take a couple of minutes to fry to a golden brown color). Fry tofu in batches and drain on paper towels or a brown paper bag. Don’t overcrowd the pot by adding too many pieces of tofu at once, they will fuse together.
Red Curry With Vegetables
3 Tbs vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs ginger, minced
1 or 2 serrano chili peppers (or any small hot chili pepper of your choice), minced
1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 14-15 oz can of coconut milk, well shaken
2-3 tsp thai red curry paste
3 medium carrots, halved horizontally and thinly sliced
4-5 large leaves of purple kale (or any hearty greens), tough stems removed, leaves sliced horizontally
handful of fresh basil, leaves stacked, rolled, then sliced thinly.
Heat vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, chili pepper and ginger and saute for ~ 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Now, add sliced onion and carrots and saute until somewhat softened, then add bell pepper and allow to cook for a few minutes more. Add the red curry paste to the pan, breaking it up with your spatula and distributing it throughout the vegetables then pour in coconut milk. Bring mixture to a low simmer and add the chopped kale. When the kale has cooked down a bit, turn the heat down to low and cover for 10-15 minutes. Right before serving, add the basil and tofu, stir and serve over rice.