Thursday, March 8, 2012

Green Curry with Tofu

It took forever, it seems, but I finally got the hang of cooking tofu. The first few times I experimented with it the tofu came out soggy and completely unlike the deliciousness that Thai restaurants always serve up. But because it's a dollar a package and a good source of healthy protein I was determined to make it work.

And work it did. Turns out the key, at least for curry, is frying the tofu, which, admittedly, doesn't do much for its health benefits. But this blog is "we should be fat," not "we should be healthy role models."

Coconut milk (1 can)
Curry paste
Chicken or vegetable stock
Bamboo shoots
Bell pepper
Peas (or green beans)
Olive oil

Cheapest form of protein out there.

Cube and dry the tofu. Use a clean cloth or paper towl to soak up the extra juice that the tofu is packaged in. Put the tofu in a large pan on medium-high heat with just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the tops of the pieces with whatever seasonings you like. Here, we used a mix from Trader Joe's called Everyday Seasoning and sesame seeds. While that's cooking, make your pot of rice. Both brown rice and white rice work wonderfully, and I've just discovered this delicious short grain white rice that I'm going to use for sushi (stay tuned for that for sure) because it's nice and sticky, so that's what we went with this time.

Golden soy squares!

Once the tofu has a nice layer of golden brown on the bottom, flip each piece to let the other side fry. The seasonings you put on the top will now get seared into the tofu for extra flavor. Just the edges are going to be browned, leaving the middle parts white so it's still soft. Don't burn your tofu.

The tofu is soaking in the curry flavors.

After both sides have a nice crispy layer, lower the heat to medium and pour in the can of coconut milk, stock, and a generous tablespoon of curry paste. I also throw in some dried basil and red pepper flakes for an extra kick because the curry paste is pretty mild. And the "stock" was just a chicken stock cube tossed into the hot pan of coconut milk. I didn't bother with making it into actual stock, but that just ups the flavor. And my laziness is rewarded.

Curry really complements green bell peppers. The other colors just aren't quite as good.

Chop your vegetables. Cut the bell pepper into bite sized bits and chop up your bamboo shoots and green beans or whatever else you're using. Peas work best, but the frozen bags at Sprouts were twice as expensive for some reason, so we used green beans. Frozen veggies work really well in things like curry and sauce, but nothing beats fresh bell pepper. And frozen bell peppers always end up soggy.

Almost ready!

Put the veggies into the pan after everything else has cooked about 10 minutes or so. Keep it at medium or low heat and put in frozen veggies before the fresh ones. I prefer my bell pepper to be a little on the firm side so I only cook them about 5 minutes. This is also the point you add fresh basil if you have it. Which we didn't.

You can see the pepper and basil flakes!

Scoop the mix onto rice and be sure to get a good amount of the sauce. This dish is the most complicated to make so far but it's worth it. Took me three tries to get it right. Because we're fat kids, it fed us both generously for dinner and there was enough left for normal person seconds. I had my leftovers for lunch the next day and holy crap was it good. Letting it sit overnight allowed the curry to soak into everything for maximum flavor. Also, this dish cost less than $5 to make and there's still leftover rice and frozen veggies for next time.

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