Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Green Curry Tofu

Tonight's meal comes with thanks to Top Chef. If you have been following the season this year you will know that last week Dale and Richard had to make "green perplexed tofu." I was excited since Dale had won a quickfire challenge a few weeks ago with an explicitly vegan dish (see the sidebar). But then Richard got the idea to marinate the tofu in rendered beef fat, causing me to yell at the screen, "Richard! For the love of all that is holy, what the deuce are you doing?!" (or something to that effect). Anyway, the original recipe is on the Bravo website, so I thought I would make a beef fat free version. I made a few other changes as well. The original recipe says to char the green beans with garlic--I thought I would probably just burn them and ruin the whole dish. I also ended up scrapping the crispy eggplant because I was just making a huge greasy mess. And, while I thought the almond-cashew crusted tofu might be good, I did not have time to marinate the tofu, so I thought it would end up being very bland. And, since my boys love rice, I worked that in as well. The end result kind of looks like a Mayan temple. but it was very tasty.

- 1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/2 jar Thai kitchen green curry paste, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp yellow curry paste
- 2 small onion, chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
- 6 green cardamom pods, crushed open
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup coarsely chopped spinach
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- salt ( if needed)
- freshly ground white pepper
- juice of 1 lime

- 1 pkg firm tofu, pressed, and cut into large cubes
- large handful of green beans
- heaping tbsp hoisin sauce
- chopped cilantro for garnish

Get 2 cups of rice cooking in a rice cooker.
1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and water and bring to bubbling. Add curry pastes and cook for 2 mins, stirring constantly. Add in onion, lemongrass, cardamom, coriander, cilantro, and spinach. Cook for about 5 mins, until onion softens and spinach has cooked down.
2. Add coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 mins.
3. Strain sauce and return to pan. Add soy sauce and lime juice, and season to taste.
4. While sauce is simmering, coat tofu cubes in cornstarch and deep fry in 350 degree oil for 3-4 mins.
5. And, while all that is going on, trim the green beans and steam for 4-5 mins, until tender but not flaccid. When done, toss in hoisin sauce.
6. If you like the pic above, press the cooked rice into a small bowl and place in the center of a shallow bowl. Ring the rice with green beans. Top rice with a piece of tofu. Spoon some curry sauce over top of it all and garnish with cilantro.


thedalyn said...

As thrilled as I was to hear the vegan on Top Chef and as gross as rendered beef fat is, I also thought it was strangely brilliant because it was indeed perplexing. Clearly I'm still not sure if I'm grossed out or begrudgingly impressed.

Vegan Dad said...

I was impressed (as far as their strategy goes), but I was disappointed that the end result was not a readily usable recipe. But then, I never watch Top Chef for the recipes.

Katie said...

i couldn't believe it when they cooked it in the beef fat - I was just so annoyed! I also hate how the chef judges were like - tofu on its own is blah - well so is any meat you jerks - it needs spices and marinades and can be made into more variety then any of their own dishes. They have the anthony bourdain mentality aka sickness.

Anyway - on to your recipe - is the green curry spicy? I'm a total wuss - but this looks delish.


Janet said...

ew beef fat with tofu? that is absolutely bizarre! Anyways, I just wanted to say that I think your little mayan temple is pretty :)

Vegan Dad said...

The Thai Kitchen green curry is not very spicy, unlike the red and yellow curry pastes. I always have to keep the heat very low in my curries or the boys complain. Son #1 had seconds of this dish and said it was really good, so the spicing must have been just right.

John Plummer said...

This looks really good! And I like the architecture of it.

Cyn said...

I was totally yelling at the tv about the beef fat thing. Seriously, so annoying! I'll have to try your version of the recipe.