This is actually the first curry I’ve ever cooked ?. I discovered it in a Taiwanese restaurant in Shanghai. Back then it was quite a challenge for me to find vegetarian food because in China almost everything is cooked with meat. And vegetarian food usually means adding some veggies next to the meat. So, when I discovered this vegetables and tofu curry in a mall, very close to my apartment, I was in heaven. I used to go there at least once a week only for that curry! But my heaven came to an end because soon they changed the menu and my curry was cut out.
What else could I have done than starting to cook it by myself?! Luckily it was a success since first trial ? Although in the meantime I discovered many curry variations, I still cook this one from time to time because it’s perfect for when I want a quick yummy meal.
What is curry actually?
First thing first! Let’s clarify what curry is. It’s a blend of spices which you can find found either as a powder or a paste. As a fun fact, while the ingredients are Asian, the name “curry” is not Asian at all! It’s the name colonizers gave to the food they so much enjoyed in Asia.
Curry powder, which I used for this recipe, is more specific to Indian dishes. It’s usually made of ground cumin seeds, coriander, dried chilies, bay leaves, curry leaves, black pepper, a blend which is called masala in India. Turmeric and ginger powder are also part of the dishes we call “curry” but they are added later, while cooking the dishes, not in the masala preparation. In fact, what we are using in the Western countries, is not a product of such good quality. The best way is to prepare your own homemade masala. And yes, there are curry leaves too and they come from curry trees. Interesting, right? ?
Vegetables and tofu curry ingredients
I used broccoli, carrots and potatoes to prepare this curry. But you can choose any other vegetables you like (or have in the fridge ?). Green beans, mushrooms, cauliflower, cabbage would make this dish delicious too.
Fried tofu will add more crispiness to your curry and is also a great source of protein.
Makes this curry very creamy and adds smoothness to its texture. There are many brands of coconut milk, some very good, some of lower quality. When you find the one that has at least half cream (the white part) with a nice smooth texture, stick with it, it’s a good one! And unless you want your curry to taste like dessert, make sure you buy unsweetened coconut milk. Sometimes the coconut milk can be a bit oily either because of poor quality or improper storage conditions. If you leave the coconut milk can in the fridge the night before cooking it, the oil will surface and harden. This way you can easily take it all out with a spoon.
Ginger & garlic
This is one of the most basic essentials in Asian cooking used to impart flavor to the food. You can use either a store bought paste or you can make the it yourself at home using fresh ingredients. If you don’t use this mix very often, it’s better to chop quickly some fresh garlic and ginger whenever you prepare a dish that requires it (like I did for this recipe).
Curry and turmeric powder
Depending on your curry powder origin, the flavor intensity and the color may vary. Although curry powder includes turmeric, I prefer adding more to make that nice yellow color stronger.
I used red chili flakes to make it spicy, but you can use fresh chilies. Or you can skip it if spicy food is not your thing. You can also adjust the quantity of salt according to your taste. Curry leaves bring flavor to your curry, especially if they are fresh. But no need to worry if you don’t have any, your dish will be just as good.
How to make crunchy vegetables and crispy tofu curry?
- Fry tofu in a wok or a large skillet in vegetable oil (I used cold pressed sunflower seeds oil), for about 5 minutes, until it turns golden; set aside.
2. Add coconut oil in the wok and sauté garlic and ginger; cook until they become fragrant. Add coconut milk, spices, curry leaves (if using) and bring it to a boil; stir until the spices are well incorporated (no lumps).
4. Add vegetables and tofu and cook for maximum 10 minutes over medium heat. The longer you cook the vegetables the more soft they get. So, you might want to check their doneness from time to time.
How to store vegetables and tofu curry
You can store vegetables and tofu curry in the fridge for one or two days, but the vegetables will lose their crunchiness. To avoid this, I recommend storing only the coconut milk curry sauce in an airtight container. Then whenever you’re in the mood for curry, put it on the stove, bring in some fresh vegetables and there’s your fresh meal. The sauce can stay in the fridge for about a week, but you can also keep it in the freezer for a longer time.
How to serve tofu and vegetables curry
Curry is most commonly accompanied by rice or flat bread. But if you’re looking for healthier alternatives, you can try quinoa, bulgur, or farro. Or eat it simple without any side dish.
This vegetables and tofu curry is:
- easy to throw together
- healthy and nutritious
- ready in half an hour
If you like this recipe, please leave a comment and rating. And if you make this curry, share a picture and let me know your impressions.
Broccoli, carrot, potato and tofu curry
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil to fry the tofu
- 150 g firm tofu cut into 1 cm pieces
- 2 tbsp coconut oil to fry garlic and ginger
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 small piece of ginger 2 cm
- 1 can of coconut milk 400 ml
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- curry leaves optional
- 1 tsp salt
- 200 g broccoli florets
- 130 g carrots cut in 1 cm pieces
- 250 g potatoes cut in 2 cm pieces
- In a wok or large sauce pan add the vegetable oil and, when it’s hot, add the tofu cubes; fry on medium heat until tofu turns golden; take the tofu out of the wok and set aside;
- Add the coconut oil in the wok; when it’s hot,add the garlic and fry it for 30 seconds on medium heat;
- Add the ginger and fry for another 30 seconds,until fragrances combine;
- Pour in the coconut milk and add the curry powder, turmeric powder, chili flakes, salt and curry leaves (if using); stir well until the spices are completely incorporated (no lumps); bring it to a boil;
- Add vegetables, fried tofu and ¾ cup of water; cover with a lit and let it cook for 10-12 minutes until vegetables become crisp, then turn off the heat;
- Put the curry in large bowls and enjoy!
- It’s not mandatory to fry the tofu, so you can skip this step;
- If the coconut milk is not of high quality, chances are that you find a bit of oil in the can on top of the cream. I would take it out before adding the milk to the curry so that you don’t end up with an oily dish (you can use it to fry the garlic and the ginger). You can store the coconut milk can in the fridge the night before; this way, if there’s any oil, it will surface and harden, which makes it much easier to take it out of the can;
- Make sure you don’t overcook the vegetables; it’s much better to serve them a bit crisp than all mushy;
- I’d rather serve the curry immediately, otherwise the vegetables will get a bit too soft.
- If you want to save a bit in the fridge for the next couple of days, I recommend preparing more coconut sauce (use two cans and double the quantity of spices) and storing it in an airtight container; thus, next time you’re in the mood for a curry, just bring the sauce to a boil and throw in some fresh vegetables.