Here is a vibrant tasting vegetarian dish with very robust flavors. Although there are a fair number of ingredients, don’t let that deter you. It’s actually a pretty simple recipe in terms of technique and time. Once you have everything prepped, the cooking is pretty rapid. My version is an adaptation of a recipe that first appeared in the New York Times.
14 ounces extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon canola oil
1-inch ginger root, peeled and minced
2 shallots or 1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Thai chile or 2 serrano peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro stems
1 small carrot, thinly sliced on the diagonal
½ teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
3 tablespoons prepared red curry paste
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 cup snow peas, strings removed and sliced diagonally
Basil and/or cilantro leaves, for garnish
Brown or white rice, or rice noodles for serving
1. Drain the tofu and place it on paper towels on a plate. Cover with more paper towels and place a dish or pot on top to help squeeze the water out of the tofu. Let the tofu sit for 20 minutes or so and then cut into 1-inch cubes.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, shallots, garlic, carrot, chile and cilantro stems, and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.
3. Stir in the curry paste and cook 2 minutes.
4. Pour in coconut milk, scraping up any curry paste with a wooden spoon. Add fish sauce, lime zest and juice. Add tofu cubes and snow peas. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the snow peas are tender, 7 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and add more salt and/or fish sauce if needed.
5. Serve warm with rice or noodles and a scattering of torn basil and/or cilantro leaves on top.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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