Thai-style Red Curry with Tofu and Vegetables

This curry is my dream food. It has a wonderful, rich sauce made with coconut milk that’s heavily spiced with curry paste and aromatics, which is the perfect vehicle for your favorite vegetables. I used all the late summer stars: eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and bok choy. This is absolutely the time to use your favorite vegetables or whatever you have around. Green beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, other greens, carrots roasted squash, or sweet potatoes would all be excellent.

To make it a faster meal you can skip the longer cooking vegetables that may need to be pre-cooked like the eggplant, and instead just use tender vegetables that can be cooked in the coconut milk. The one vegetable I will insist on is cherry tomatoes (or some kind of tomato), which add a bright acidity and umami to the sauce. I turn to this recipe again and again because its so easy to throw together, especially because the tofu just needs to be drained and cubed (no marinating or roasting/pan frying!). Sub soy sauce for the fish sauce to make it vegan.

My full share this week was mustard greens, kohlrabi, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, shishitos, bok choy, acorn squash, and apples. Since I had a two big bunches of bok choy, one when into this curry and the other I sauteed with shishitos, then served under dumplings (mine were frozen, but if you’re feeling ambitious try these) with soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, and chili oil. The kohlrabi may go into a big all-in-one salad, or I could lean into fall with these roasted root vegetable bowls. This heirloom apple salad and this roasted squash are both speaking to me for later in the week.

Thai-style Red Curry with Tofu and Vegetables

Serves 4 as is, or 6 with rice

  • 1 package tofu (14 or 16 ounces)
  • 1 large or 2-3 small eggplant (~12 ounces), chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2 large heads bok choy (~12 ounces), chopped, greens and stems kept separate
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced (1 heaping tablespoon)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro stems, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • juice of 1 lime (~2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup sacred basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 350F. On a baking sheet toss the eggplant with the vegetable oil. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until completely soft and brown at the edges.

Drain the tofu and pat dry.

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the coconut oil, and when it is shimmering add the ginger, garlic, onion, cilantro stems, and serrano. Cook for about 5 minutes, until they are tender and just beginning to brown at the edges. Add the red curry paste and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it is slightly darkened and starting to stick to the pan. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and cherry tomatoes. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer covered. Cook for 5 minutes, until the tomatoes start to soften.

Add the tofu, bok choy stems, and eggplant. Stir to combine, cover, and bring back to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, so the bok choy stems soften and the eggplant/tofu soak in some sauce. Stir in the bok choy leaves, holy basil leaves, and chopped cilantro. Eat as is or serve with rice.

Last Week I Cooked….

Last Week I Cooked.... - Vegetal MattersButternut squash curry. This is essentially my favorite butternut squash soup, in curry form. I put in the whole can of coconut milk instead of just a cup. In a shockingly short amount of time you have a rich, fragrant, creamy curry with spice to your liking. Chickpeas would not be unwelcome here. I also made cauliflower that I roasted at 425F for about 20 minutes with a healthy dusting of cumin and cayenne. This is also a vegan meal which is fully satisfying and company worthy.

Marcella’s broccoli and potato soup. Mondays are when all the errands happen after work. Pick up produce at Potter Hill, go to the library. It also happened to be the night I didn’t plan a meal for. So I weighed options…there was broccoli I just picked up, potatoes I had. Salad was too cold a dinner for the blustery day, something on toast not enough of a meal. So I landed on this quick soup. The broccoli does get soft, but that didn’t bother me. As usual with soup the night of the flavors hadn’t really developed so a lot of parm was used, but the leftovers were great alone. To fill this out a bit more next time I would add some white beans.

Last Week I Cooked.... - Vegetal MattersCabbage and white bean soup. This was the first making of this soup, but I can promise there will be more. This is a hard soup for me not to love as it is entirely comprised of my favorite soup components: rich tomato broth, cabbage (and lots of other vegetables), and white beans. Again, better the next day.

Last Week I Cooked.... - Vegetal MattersPepperoni meatball spaghetti. This is not your grandmother’s spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs are huge and full of rich meats and spices. The sauce is intensely flavored, and the one spot I would pull back a bit. A full tablespoon of red pepper flakes is aggressive and they totally dominate the sauce. My date was a fan of this, but I would probably dial it down to a teaspoon and a half next time. This was a great dish to let bubble over a Friday night in, with a sumptuous finale.

Ruth Reichl’s spicy Tuscan kale. This might be taboo to Lady and Pups, but I felt the urge to serve an aggressively healthy vegetable along with giant meatballs and pasta. I halved the amount of kale and just used one anchovy, as I had a single one in the fridge and didn’t want to open another can, but also…the last time I cooked with anchovies I added one too many and they totally overpowered the dish, so I’m treading lightly. I also used regular curly kale and it worked just fine. The kale still retained it’s fresh green color, with a linger saltiness from the anchovy and the sweetness from onion and garlic. I left out the bread crumbs, but would add them next time if I wasn’t so focused on spaghetti and meatballs (and there will be many more next times with this dish).

Breakfasts this week included scrambled eggs with kale on toast with whipped feta (yes again, it’s SO good), a big omelette with kale, caramelized onions, brie, and ham (pictured at top), toast with jam, and whole wheat yogurt pancakes, with the raspberries replaced with one small apple, grated.

Last week I cooked…

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersI refuse to answer the question “How was your summer?” I’m still eating my way through it!!! More than ever I’m experiencing serious recipe FOMO. There are so many things I should be cooking with so much summer produce. Eggplant parm (standard and pizza) and cherry tomato sausage bakes and zucchini carbonara and plum cakes and peach cobblers. A chorizo and tomato salad which is the marriage of two of my absolute favorite ingredients that I pinned years ago and still haven’t cooked. I haven’t made ice cream yet this summer (But this peach derby ice cream has to be in my future. It just has to be.). But I need to take this one meal at a time. I had tomatoes in every meal that I cooked this week, so that counts for something.

Epic roast chicken salad (from Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, pictured above with dry English cider). This is a perfect summer Sunday meal. It has a longer cooking time, but it is mostly hands off. The balance of ingredients is inspired. Crispy, chewy bread, fatty bacon and chicken skin, sweet cherry tomatoes, crunchy green beans, meaty chicken and the acid and bite of vinegar and mustard. This is the dream salad I didn’t know I should dream about. And though the bread bits weren’t quite as good the next day, I still thoroughly enjoyed the leftovers. I added in extra cherry tomatoes and green beans, and still could have done with more.

Chickpea and cherry tomato curry (the recipe is in the booklet at the bottom, which has a bunch of other gems). The first time I made this curry was a revelation. Coconut and tomatoes?! But they add the perfect sweet and bright pop to a rich curry. I add in more tomatoes than called for, and always want even more than that. Just remember to start rice to serve it with before you make the curry…otherwise it leads to a late dinner.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal Matters

Sabih (from Jerusalem). Though this recipe has a lot of parts, it is really just an open faced sandwich with salad and sauce and everything came together quickly. I found the eggplant to be a bit oily after frying…maybe because I didn’t have it hot enough? Or have enough oil in the pan? The eggs were a weird texture to me among all the vegetables, but they did make it into a heartier meal.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal Matters

Shrimp in green sauce. I was the sous chef to my mom on this one, but I did provide the recipe and then thoroughly enjoy the product. Super easy, and vibrant in color and taste. Served with tomato salad and corn on the cob, finished with blueberry cobbler. Thanks Mom!!!!!

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal Matters

Breakfasts this week were and ode to tomatoes and eggs. An omelet with sautéed cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and goat cheese and skillet potatoes. (When making omelets for two, I prefer to use a big pan to make one giant omelette and then split it in half for eating.) Fried eggs with fried tomatoes on buttered toast. Scrambled eggs with goat cheese on toast with sautéed tomatoes (pictured above). Egg and salsa burritos. My one rule is the tomatoes should be cooked before paired with eggs, because I don’t like cold things stealing the heat from my eggs, and they are often too watery uncooked.

Not something I cooked, but hilarious: So you want to write a food blog (via Shutterbean). “Remember, you never want to confuse your readers. I find it helpful to always provide a photo of each individual ingredient, in case your fans forget what food looks like, as well as a candid photo of a baby (it doesn’t have to be yours) in a bathtub full of chia seeds. Isn’t he adorable?”