Thai vegan green curry

Of all the Thai coconut based curries,Green is my favorite. It is spicy but not explosive as the paste is made with green chilis as opposed to red which  is a really acquired taste. I often buy a can of Maseri brand paste which does not contain any shrimp paste typically contained in store-bought pastes. Any number of vegetables can be added to the curry and it goes surprisingly well with green vegetables such as snow peas,peas or green beans. For protein I often add firm tofu or mock duck. In Thailand the curry is either served alongside Jasmin rice or hot Indian bread called rotis.

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Serves 4

1 can Green curry paste or 3 tbsp home-made curry paste

2 cups coconut milk

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/3 cup vegetable stock

1 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar

2 cups cooked vegetables of your choice,such as green beans,mushrooms,baby corn,snow peas etc

1 block firm tofu, drained,dried and cut into cubes

6 kaffir lime leaves

1/4 cup fresh Asian basil,torn

Heat a wok and add in 2 tbsp of thick coconut cream.Allow the cream to heat and add the curry paste.Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes,stirring. Add in the rest of the coconut milk, the stock, soy sauce and sugar. Allow to come to a simmer while you add in the torn kaffir lime leaves.Stir well and allow to simmer (DO NOT BOIL) for about 5 minutes.

Gently stir in the vegetables and tofu. Simmer 2 minutes ,more.

Check for seasoning and adjust.

Pour into serving bowl and garnish with basil.Serve with a bowl of steamed Jasmin rice or hot Indian Chapatis.


Stir fried Bean Curd with Asian greens

Being vegan  is terrific when you can eat this way . The bean curd or tofu is stirfried lightly for a slight crunch , it then sits on a bed of bok choy ( a type of chinese cabbage ) ans broccoli , two vegetables so densely nutritious , you can feel terrific about what you have just eaten . Forget take out when you can have this dish on your table in mere minutes  with no added MSG or clumpy cornstarch .

Sanjeev Kapoor

1/2 lb bean curd ( tofu ) cut into 3/4 inch cubes

2 Tbs oil

salt to taste

2 inches ginger , grated

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbs lemon juice

1/2 medium broccoli , seperated into florets and blanched

4 Chinese cabbages ( bok choy ) roughly cut

4 to 5 cabbage leaves , shredded

10 garlic cloves , chopped

1 Tbs soy sauce

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan ; add the bean curd and stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat . Sprinkle the salt , grated ginger , black pepper and lemon juice .

Heat the remaining oil in another pan . Add the broccoli florets , bok choy and cabbage and saute for 2 minutes . Sprinkle a little water . Add the garlic , soy sauce and a little more water and cook till the vegetables soften slightly .

Transfer the greens to a serving plate . Place the bean curd on top and serve hot .

Braised Tofu in Hot Bean Sauce

As a vegetarian I am always looking for new news to serve Tofu , which , when well cooked is delicious . Here the Tofu is deep fried till crisp and served with a spicy hot bean sauce. The original recipe Asian Home Gourmet called for chicken stock but I use Vegetable stock , the choice is yours.

Serves 4

1 lb 4 oz tofu

1 cup Soy or vegetable oil

4 oz black mushrooms

1 tsp garlic , minced

1 oz Hot Bean Paste

Salt to taste

1 cup Vegetable stock

4 spring onions , sliced into 1 ” pieces

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp sesame oil

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 tsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp cornstarch for sauce thickening

2 large tomatoes , seeded , peeled and sliced in strips.

Cut the bean curd into 1/2 inch cubes .

Heat the wok , add the oil and deep fry the tofu cubes in batches until lightly browned. Drain and keep hot in the oven .

Saute the sliced black mushrooms , garlic , salt , hot bean paste , sugar , dark soy sauce , sesame oil and spring onion. Add the stock .

Add the deep fried tofu and thicken with cornstarch mixed with water.

Place in a shallow dish and sprinkle with black pepper and strips of tomato.

Serve with freshly steamed rice.

Fish in bean sauce over Tofu

Chatham NJ is home to a great Asian restaurant called A taste of Asia. It serves all types of amazing asian food but ,my personal favorite ,is their Malaysian cusine. I especially love the fact that the have a pure vegetarian menu. The chef shared this recipe.

Makes 1 generous servings or 2 smaller ones

1 Turbot or Tilapia fillet about 10 to 12 oz

1  8oz firm tofu

2 tbs finely chopped ginger

1 tbs finely chopped garlic

2 tbs bean sauce

1 tsp lightly chopped fermented black beans

2 tbs sugar

6 -8 sprigs of Thai basil

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 tbs corn starch  (mixed with 2 tbs water)

Corn or canola oil to coat the bottoms of the skillets

Scallions to garnish.

Clean fish fillets and pat dry. Cut the firm tofu into 4 slices. Heat over medium heat  and add 2 tbs of oil. Pan fry the tofu on both sides until golden brownand set aside. Clean the pan and again reheat the pan with 2 tbs more oil.Pan fry the fish fillets for 2 minutes each side, place the tofu on the bottom of the plate and place the fish fillet on top.

Heat a skillet over medium heat with 2 tbs oil. Add ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute.Add in the bean sauce and fermented black beans and continue cooking ,stirring. Add sugar ,stir to carammelize the bean sauce. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Thicken the sauce with the cornstarch ,stirring well.Add thai basil and stir. Pour over fish and Tofu . Serve hot.

Deep-Fried Beancurd with lemon grass

This is a dry Vietnamese dish created by Annabel Jackson. I was taught to drain bean curd very well prior to frying as it is delicate and contains a great deal of moisture. Simply place cut up pieces on double layers of paper towels or kitchen towel.Place a heavy weight on top and allow the curd to drain excess fluid. Use as needed.

Serves 2-4

1 lb firm bean curd  (tofu) cut into 1 ” cubes

1/4 cup minced fresh lemon grass

2 fresh hot red chilies ,minced

1/2 tsp salt

Vegetable oil ,for deep -frying

2 garlic cloves, minced

Drain the bean curd on paper towels.

Mix together the lemon grass ,chilies and salt. Gently toss with the beancurd, then cover and leave for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.

Deep fry bean curd in hot oil for 10 minutes, or until golden brown all over. Drain on paper towels and keep warm.

Stir the garlic into the remaining lemon grass mixture. Saute mixture into a little hot oil until lemon grass is golden. Pile onto of bean curd and serve immediately.