Meera Sodha’s Vegan Recipe for Tofu and Coconut Curry | Vegan food and drink

AAt this time of year, in the tunnel between the last heat of summer and the uncompromising cold of winter (do we call it fall?), I just want to eat curry. But not the oily, rich kind that needs to be wiped off with naan. Instead, I want something tangy, fresh, tangy, sour and salty that will make me feel alive – like today’s recipe, which borrows flavors from Thai cuisine. It’s packed with chili, ginger, turmeric, and lime, with tofu and coconut to top it all off. Hope this awakens your senses, clears your sinuses, and puts a jump in your step and a jump in your jump.

Tofu and coconut curry with turmeric and Thai basil

I use a brand of tofu (Tofoo) that doesn’t need to be squeezed, but if you are using another firm or extra-firm tofu it may need to be squeezed.

Preperation 15 minutes
to cook 30 minutes
Serves 4

450g extra-firm tofu
Rapeseed oil
300g green beans
, topped and tailed
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
5cm x 4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 red bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced
1 ½ teaspoon of powdered sugar
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1½ teaspoon fine sea salt
(or to taste)
1 can of 400 ml coconut milk
1½ tablespoon of fresh lime juice
(i.e. from 1 lime)
25g Thai basil leaves
Jasmine rice
, to serve

Holding it over the sink, lightly press the tofu block between your hands to remove as much water as possible. Wrap in absorbent paper, press down again, then unwrap and cut into 2½ cm cubes.

Put a large plate on one side of the stove – you will use it later for the cooked tofu and beans – and prepare a pair of tongs (or two forks) with which to flip the tofu. Heat three tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is very hot, add the tofu and fry for six to eight minutes, turning every minute or two, until golden brown. Keeping the pan on the heat, carefully transfer the tofu to the plate.

Add the green beans to the hot pan, shake to deposit them in a single layer and let them bubble in the hot oil for two minutes. Flip the beans over, repeat on the other side, and once they’re all speckled brown, transfer them to the tofu plate.

Return the pan to the heat and add a tablespoon or more of oil. Once it’s good and hot, add the onion and fry, stirring, for six minutes, until it becomes translucent and begins to hang around the edges. Add the ginger and chili, sauté for two minutes, then stir in the sugar, turmeric and salt. Add the coconut milk, the cooked tofu and beans, and the lime juice, bring everything to a boil, then cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the Thai basil leaves, cook for a last minute, until wilted, then toss again and taste – adjust lime and salt if needed. Serve in bowls over freshly steamed jasmine rice.

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Tanya S. Norvell