Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Braised Beancurd Vegetable curry

450g/1lb firm fresh beancurd
225g/8oz carrots
110g/4oz potatoes
2 stalks fresh lemongrass
400ml/14oz groundnut (peanut) oil
110g/4oz chopped onions
2tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
3tbsp thinly sliced shallots
400ml/14oz tinned coconut milk
2 tbsp fish sauce, or light soy sauce (Vegan if you use the soy sauce)
2tbsp thai red curry paste
1/2tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp sugar
1tsp cumin seeds
110g/4oz cauliflower florets
110g/4oz frozen peas
2tbsp lime juice
3tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed
Garnish: fresh coriander sprigs

Drain the beancurd, then continue to drain set on kitchen paper for 15 min. Cut into 1 inch pieces.
Cut the carrots on the diagonal into 1 inch slices. Cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Peel the lemongrass to the tender whitish center, crush with the flat of a knife, then cut into 3 inch pieces.
Heat the oil in the wok till it is hot and deep fry the beancurd in two batches. When each batch is lightly browned, remove and drain well on kitchen paper.
Drain off all but 1.5tbsp of oil from the wok, reheat it, and when it is hot, add the lemongrass, onions, garlic, and shallots, and stir fry for 2 min. Add the carrots and potatoes and sir fry for 2 min. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, curry paste, pepper, sugar and cumin seeds. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5 min. Return the beancurd to the wok, add the cauliflower, cover and cook for 3 min. Add the peas and cook for 1 min more. Finally, stir in the lime juice and peanuts. Garnish with the coriander and serve at once.

It took me ages to find tofu here. They had the “silky” style in most of the supermarkets, but the firm (and thus cook-able) kind was nowhere to be found. Then recently I stumbled on some by accident when I was wandering around the supermarket in a daze. I found myself in the prepared food isle which I usually avoid, and there it was, tofu, with all the microwave dinners. I have no idea why it would be there, but I’m thrilled to have found it. As a first dish to celebrate being reunited with bean curd, I thought I would try this dish from Ken Hom.

I haven’t ever deep fried anything, so I was pretty nervous about preparing the tofu this way, but it turned out to be no problem at all. I don’t have a wok, and just used a deep frying pan instead. The oil didn’t cover the pieces completely, but by turning them once, they got browned all over. The groundnut oil is a very light oil, which I think made it a little less scary for me, and also made the end result lighter. The texture came out perfect too. It’s just how I remember it tasting in restaurants. Now that I know this is so easy to do, and I can get the right kind of tofu, I am going to have to look up some of my old favorite Chinese recipes for bean curd. I’ll get back to you on those.

As for this one, it was really good. I thought the cumin seeds were a really interesting edition. It sort of tied together the idea of Thai curries, with the idea of Indian curries. I thought it would taste out of place, but it didn’t at all. The peanuts were a really nice touch too.

I’ve always loved red Thai curries, and this turned out to be a really nice one.


Online Recipe Collections said...

This looks perfect for vegetarians.

AteThat said...

It is a really good vegetarian curry, as long as you use the soy sauce instead of the fish sauce. It's actually vegan friendly too!