Cold? Curry.

It officially feels like winter in Philadelphia. You can't wear enough layers when you go outside, and all you want is steaming hot foods when you get back inside. Our soup game has been strong, but I needed to shake things up a bit after drinking my dinners for an entire week. The obvious choice? Curry. Thai red coconut curry with crispy baked tofu and tons and tons of vegetables. I love so many things about curries:

  • They're versatile: I've enjoyed curry on fancy dates, and I've eaten curry in sweatpants during Netflix binges. 
  • They're warming: Even a bowl of mild curry will give you that warm, fuzzy feeling. But, if you're daring, you can easily spice it up to the point of sweating like you're in a Bikram yoga class. Take that, Philadelphia-winter!
  • They're good for you: While curries do vary (see the next bullet point), the base includes full-fat coconut milk, they're always loaded with vegetables, they include a protein, and they boast a number of spices that aid digestion, and are antiseptic and healing in nature (cayenne, red pepper, turmeric, cumin, and coriander, among others).
  • You can make them so many ways: There are red curries, green curries, yellow curries, curries with fruit, curries with vegetables....
  • They're delicious

I made the following recipe on a Sunday, and I made it again three nights later. I'm actually eating a bowl as I type this. When I served this to my boyfriend, Mark, for the first time on Sunday, he couldn't stop raving about it: 

"This is a flavor temple!"
"I would happily eat this every day for the rest of my life."
"This is seriously phenomenal."
"This is the best curry I have ever tasted. Ever!"

Winner, winner, coconut curry for dinner:

 

Thai Red Coconut Curry with Baked Tofu & Vegetables

Vegan, Gluten-Free, No Sugar Added // Serves 4 

Ingredients:
The best thing about curries is that you can make them as a use-it-all-up dish, and they will always be different. Add/sub your favorite vegetables and/or use up whatever vegetables you have in your fridge. I even add fruit sometimes (pineapple and mango are fantastic). The second time I made this dish, I subbed in Flax Tempeh for the Tofu (faster and a different texture) and added diced Red Pepper, Butternut Squash, Broccoli, and Fingerling Potatoes (in addition to everything you see below). I topped it with diced Avocado and extra sriracha.

  • Black Rice/ Forbidden Rice (or you favorite rice, although I suggest trying this one! See notes at the bottom of the post)
  • 1 Block Tofu, pressed & baked* OR 1 Package Tempeh, cubed
  • 2+ Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-Inch Knob of Ginger
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Sweet Potato, diced
  • 1 Purple Sweet Potato, diced
  • 1 Cup Brussels Sprouts, diced
  • Handful String Beans, ends removed
  • Handful Lacinato/ Dinosaur Kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 1 Can Organic, Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • ½ Cup Organic Vegetable Broth
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (I use Nama Shoyu)
  • 2 Teaspoons Rice Vinegar
  • 2-3 Teaspoons Sriracha Chili Sauce
  • Spices: Curry Powder, (2+ Teaspoons), Turmeric (~1 Teaspoon), Smoked Paprika (~1 Teaspoon), Sea or Pink Salt (if needed), Pepper (to taste)
  • Optional: 1 Avocado, diced

Method:

1. Cook rice: If using black rice (so delicious and JAM PACKED with goodness!), the ratio is 1.5 Cups Water for every 1 Cup Rice. Make sure you rinse the rice well before adding it to the water and bringing it to a boil. Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook 20-25 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, remove from heat, and let stand for 5 more minutes.
2. If using tofu, see notes below. If using tempeh, continue to next step.
3. Warm coconut oil in a skillet with deep sides over medium heat.
4. Add sweet potatoes and saute, stirring occasionally.
5. If using tempeh, add tempeh now. Continue to stir occasionally.
6. Add onions, garlic, and ginger.  Saute until fragrant and slightly translucent. If the skillet gets dry, add another drizzle of coconut oil.
7. Add Brussels sprouts and string beans. Stir.
8. Add curry paste and spices (except salt) to skillet and stir to coat. 
9. Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, and soy sauce to skillet. Lower heat to medium-low, add kale, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes or until kale is wilted.
10. Add rice vinegar and sriracha, stir to combine. If you're using baked tofu, add now.
11. Taste. Add extra spices, soy sauce, or sriracha sauce to taste, salt if needed. Remove from heat.
12. Serve with black rice and top with diced avocado, if preferred.

 

* Simple Crispy Baked Tofu:

1. Press your tofu. You can do this a few ways:
    1) The Green Way: Cut Tofu Block in half, and wrap each with a clean dishcloth. Place blocks on a flat surface, put something heavy on them (cutting boards topped with cans or cookbooks works well), and let sit. You may need to change or wring out the dishcloth once or twice.
    2) The Non-Green Way: Cut Tofu Block in half, and wrap each with a bunch of paper towels. Place blocks on a flat surface, put something heavy on them (cutting boards topped with cans or cookbooks works well), and let sit. Change the paper towels 1-2 times.
    3) The Fancy-Gadget Way: They sell tofu presses! I don't have one, but they look awesome. I definitely would love to own one one day!
2. Preheat your oven to 400.
3. Cut Tofu into cubes and add to a large bowl.
4. Drizzle Olive or Coconut Oil and Soy Sauce over tofu and toss to coat. I like to add a small handful of Whole Wheat Flour to slightly coat them to create a crispy texture. You can also add any spices you'd like here, I usually add a few shakes each of Turmeric and Smoked Paprika.
5. Place tofu cubes in a single layer on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Cook 25-40 minutes, flipping once halfway through cooking, or until tofu are slightly browned and crispy on the edges.