Thai Peanut Curry

Vegan Mofo 2010 – Day 18

I fell in love with Thai the very first time I had a Thai green curry and not long after that a I tried to make my own when a friend wrote down a traditional Thai green curry recipe for me and said leave out the meaty bits… I’ve been making my own recipe since then based on that recipe and using tofu ever since. Every time I make it for meat-eating friends they love it (even those that swore they’d never eat tofu).

Thinking back to the first time I ever went overseas (more than 15 years ago) was to Thailand and it was part of a large group of travel agents and everywhere we went they served a very mild version of Thai food. Being the only vegan in the group my food was even milder and I got bland stir fries all the time and I don’t remember any spicy food let alone Thai curries. Thai food is unique in the way subtle flavours meet with that bite of chilli and that amazingly fragrant aroma that can be pungent and breath taking all at the same time.

So anyway most people are used to Thai green, red or yellow curries but I was pleasantly surprised when I tried a Thai peanut curry and was taken on a total different taste sensation. The place that I used to order it from went out of business so I was forced to buy the ready-made paste from supermarkets – when I could find it. So a few years ago I decided to try my hand at making my own Thai peanut curry thanks to a peanut satay mix recipe that I got from a friend. So here is my own version of a Thai peanut curry – try it and let me know what you think.

Ingredients :
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil of your choice (I use canola)
1 small to medium onion finely diced
1 tablespoon of fresh garlic minced
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger minced
5 – 10 small Thai green chillies finely chopped – depending on how hot you like it (cayenne or birds-eye will do if you can’t find Thai chillies)
1 stalk of celery finely sliced
1 small of cauliflower broken into florets
1 green (or red) pepper
150g of baby corn spears
400g tin of coconut milk
400g of firm tofu
Half a small head of broccoli broken into florets
1 baby cabbage (or the equivalent of any kind of leafy greens like bok choi, etc)
2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup of boiling water
1 heaped teaspoon of garlic salt or powder
1 heaped teaspoon of white pepper
2 tablespoons of Braggs Aminos or soy sauce
1 teaspoon of tamarind paste (optional)
Some coriander leaves to garnish

Preparation :

Tofu
The tofu should be cut into fingers no more than ½ inch thick and baked in the over or fried on a medium to high heat until the tofu is starting to crisp on the outside. The perfect tofu is slightly crispy on the outside but still firm and moist on the inside (not dried up crisped all the way through).

Peanut paste
To make the peanut paste add the peanut butter to a large mug or jug and add the garlic salt, white pepper, Braggs and tamarind paste. Then add the boiling water and mix thoroughly with a spoon. The paste mustn’t be too runny and should be able to drip off a spoon (or your finger tip) without sticking. The paste shouldn’t be made too early otherwise it will thicken – so try to time it so it’s ready a minute or two before it is needed.

Heat a large wok or non-stick saucepan on medium to high heat and add oil.
Add onions and stir-fry for a few minutes and then add the celery.
Soon after adding the celery add the garlic, ginger and chillies and stir well.
Add the cauliflower, green pepper and mini corn and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
Then add broccoli and cabbage and stir-fry for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the peanut paste and mix well and stir-fry for a minute and then add the coconut milk.
Mix the coconut milk thoroughly with the rest of the vegetables and then cover to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the tofu and mix it in and then cover for another 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the curry to a large serving dish and garnish with some coriander and serve on a bed of basmati or jasmine rice.

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