Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tofu with Vegetables in Green Curry Coconut Sauce

Since Alex and I are talking about going out for BBQ for dinner, I only felt it appropriate that I eat vegetarian for lunch.  I had a package of tofu in the fridge, as well as an assortment of vegetables and an open container of green curry paste.  More than half of the lunches I make are usually an experiment in fridge shopping - open up the door, see what's inside and hope for the best.  Sometimes it works out, but sometimes it's an unmitigated disaster.  Recently I have been very busy with work so I haven't had the time to whip up anything more gourmet than a simple omelet or reheated leftovers for lunch.  But since I have the free time and the inclination to make lunch today, I am going for it - particularly since I am already planning on stuffing my face with ribs this evening.

I served my tofu over the leftover coconut rice from last week so it was a very coconut-y meal.  You could also serve the tofu over regular steamed rice, or solo.  I really liked doubling up on the coconut, but it's probably not for everyone.  My thoughts on this meal are best summed up by saying that if there is a meal that could turn me vegetarian, this isn't it.  It was good, but not amazing.  The tofu wasn't quite as flavorful as I had hoped for, nor did it crisp up as much as I intended it to.  I probably didn't pat it dry well enough after marinating it in the soy sauce.  But all of those criticisms aside, I liked the meal.  It made a nice lunch.  In the future I might play with the ingredients a little more to give it a bit more kick - perhaps a little more green curry paste, more lime juice, or the addition of cilantro.  I would also toss the cashews in with the sauce when I sprinkle in the lime juice so that they get coated in the green curry coconut sauce.

Recipe after the jump!

Tofu with with Vegetables in Green Curry Coconut Sauce
1 (14- to 16-oz) package firm tofu
2 tbsp soy sauce (I used mushroom flavored dark soy, but regular soy will do)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 tsp green curry paste
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch-long pieces
1 red/yellow/orange bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch wide, 2-inch long strips
1 (14- to 15-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/3 cup roasted salted cashews, optional

Halve tofu lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and pat dry well with paper towels.  Marinate tofu pieces for about 10 minutes in 1 tbsp soy sauce in a wide shallow dish, turning tofu to ensure even coating.  Pat tofu dry.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking.  Add tofu in 1 layer and cook, turning over once, until tofu is golden brown and crispy, about 6 minutes.  Transfer to a large plate with a slotted spoon, reserving oil in skillet.  If skillet looks dry, add another tbsp of vegetable oil as necessary.

Add garlic, ginger, onion, and green curry paste to skillet and sauté, stirring regularly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add beans and bell pepper.  Sauté, stirring, about 1 minute.  Add coconut milk, remaining soy sauce, and fish sauce.  Bring mixture to a boil, then boil, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.  Transfer vegetables to the plate with tofu.

Simmer sauce until thickened slightly and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 2 minutes. Stir in lime juice and pour sauce over vegetables and tofu.  Sprinkle with cashews, if desired.

Serve over rice.

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