Thai Red Curry Tofu
This Thai red curry tofu is vegetable-forward, comes together quickly, and tastes like a lighter version of your favorite take-out dish.
Tofu tends to be a love or leave it ingredient for most people. We happen to enjoy it, but it definitely requires the right preparation in order for it to leave a lasting impression.
If you’ve been hesitant to hop aboard the tofu wagon, this Thai Red Curry Tofu is a great place to start. It’s made with easy-to-find ingredients and can be prepared in less time than it takes to order take-out.
Serve it on top of fluffy coconut rice with lime wedges and you’ve got yourself a very, very tasty meal!
How to Make Thai Red Curry Sauce:
The curry sauce is made from one can of full-fat coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, umami-rich fish sauce, and a small splash of water. It is incredibly aromatic, creamy and rich, and quite simply delicious.
This mixture is reduced until thickened and poured over the sautéed vegetable and tofu mixture just before serving.
What is Thai Red Curry Paste?
Traditional red curry paste is made from red chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, shallot, kaffir limes, and spices.
While you can prepare red curry paste from scratch, store-bought red curry paste (I recommend Thai Kitchen brand – affiliate link) has a great ingredient list and can be found in most grocery stores.
What You’ll Need For This Recipe:
This red curry recipe calls for one block of firm tofu, which is pressed and cubed, but vegetables make up the bulk of this dish! I like to use a combination of French green greens (haricot verts), red bell pepper, and onion.
For aromatics, we’ll add in chopped fresh ginger, garlic, and jalapeño pepper for a touch of heat. Just before serving, we’ll stir in fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. If you can get your hands on Thai basil, grab it! It isn’t required by any means, but takes this dish up a notch.
How to Adapt This Recipe and Make It Your Own:
You can easily adapt the vegetables to suit your taste (broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, etc.), just be sure to adjust the cooking times accordingly. A variety of textures and colors will produce the best results.
If you don’t enjoy tofu, you can leave it out entirely (just be sure to bulk up the vegetable mixture) or substitute it with shrimp or chicken!
- 1 package (14 ounces) firm tofu
- 1 can (13.5 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (*I recommend Thai Kitchen brand)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce (*I recommend Red Boat brand)
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn (optional)
- kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons avocado or neutral high-heat oil, divided
- 8 ounces (1/2 lb) French green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1-inch knob of peeled fresh ginger, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded, and finely diced
- 1/2 large yellow onion, julienned
- 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
- juice of 1/2 lime, plus more lime wedges for serving
- handful of cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish
- Thai basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Drain and press the tofu to remove excess moisture and water. Once pressed, slice the block into 1-inch cubes and pat with a clean kitchen linen or paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.
- Combine the coconut milk, red curry paste, and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking the mixture until smooth. Reduce to low heat. Add the fish sauce and lime leaves. Simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, and keep warm while you prepare the tofu and vegetable mixture. Discard the lime leaves before using.
- While the sauce thickens, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, non-stick skillet (12-inch diameter) over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the tofu pieces and spread into a single layer, setting them apart slightly. Season with salt. Sear the tofu pieces for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, flipping until lightly golden on all sides. Transfer to a large plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and increase to high heat. Add the green beans, a generous pinch of salt, and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly blistered. Add the diced ginger, garlic, and jalapeño pepper and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds, stirring frequently, or until fragrant. Add the onion and red bell pepper to the pan, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing frequently, until the green beans are tender and the onion and bell pepper have softened.
- Add the tofu back into the pan and pour the warm curry sauce over the mixture, gently tossing the mixture. The sauce should sizzle as it hits the pan. Continue cooking until the tofu is heated through and the mixture has thickened. Stir in the juice of half a lime and the chopped cilantro. Season to taste with salt or fish sauce as needed.
- Serve the curry over steamed coconut rice (or steamed jasmine rice) with lime wedges for squeezing. Garnish with cilantro and Thai basil leaves, if using.
Tips For Success:
- Make Vegan: Use a vegan fish sauce substitute.
- You can easily adapt the vegetables to suit your taste (broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, etc.), just be sure to adjust the cooking times accordingly. A variety of textures and colors will produce the best results.
- If you don't enjoy tofu, you can leave it out entirely (just be sure to bulk up the vegetable mixture) or substitute it with shrimp or chicken!
Inspired and adapted from the Shrimp Thai Red Curry in Melissa Clark's Dinner.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 732mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 4gSugar: 12gProtein: 15g
A Beautiful Plate provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.