Thai vegetarian curry – recipe
Whenever I see a bowl of vegetarian curry (or any other curry) noodle soup, I drool. Here is a bowl filled with so many of my favorite ingredients; red curry paste, fried shallots, fish sauce, cilantro, noodles… Look at the beautiful colors… Hard to resist. I spent a few months in Singapore back in… Well, let’s just say back when Hotmail was cool and not everyone had cell phones, and ate bowls of it almost daily. Singapore is a culinary gem if you love food as much as I do – it’s where I discovered some of the most interesting and best dishes I’ve ever tasted.
They know how to rock street food and hawker centres are the go to places for authentic South East Asian fare. Hawker centres are basically outdoor food courts serving pretty much anything you can think of. I used to spend an insane amount of time in them hanging out with friends while sharing plates of noodles, fried fish, carrot cake, chicken and rice, popiah and of course, vegetarian curry. Big chunks of potatoes and carrots, string beans and sometimes pumpkin, cooked in a sweet and spicy coconut curry soup. Yum. Very hearty and filling, I also liked that it was meat free and fairly healthy.
Since then I’ve become a curry afficionado; laksas in Malaysia, amazing curry vindaloo in Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions and from these two ladies who served a superb tomato based vegetarian curry down the road from where I lived. Food poisoning inducing curry in Sri Lanka (traumatizing), super spicy and so good Pakistani at Lahore Tikka House in Toronto, my mother’s sweet Japanese curry (a favorite) and of course, tikka masala from the streets of London. I have yet to make it to India but you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be darting toward the first curry stand I see, as soon as I do. Though I absolutely adore meat based curries, my heart belongs to the vegetarian kind. Be it saag paneer, baingan bharta, aloo gobi or something simple and easy like this vegetarian curry recipe, I love them all. This is one area of the culinary world where I think vegetarian dishes win.
You are probably wondering why I didn’t shoot the noodles I served the vegetarian curry with and the answer is very simple; it’s because this curry can be eaten with a lot more than just egg noodles. You can use vermicelli noodles, flat rice noodles, ramen noodles or even rice or bread. I picked egg noodles because they remain al dente for a lot longer than most others -We don’t like soggy ones here chez les Phelps.
This vegetarian curry is not spicy but rather a little sweet with a strong, savory and biting taste. The flavors are authentically South East Asian so grab a spoon and get ready for some pleasantly pungent slurps!
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, chopped bite size
- 1½ cup broccoli, roughly chopped
- 6oz (120g - or half a block) firm tofu
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1½ tbsp red curry paste
- ¼ cup vegetarian fish sauce (or regular for non-vegetarians)
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 boiled egg, sliced in half (optional)
- chopped cilantro (about 2 tbsp)
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- - Wrap tofu in paper towel to remove excess water. Leave for 5 minutes.
- - Slice tofu into bite size cubes.
- - In a medium size pot over medium/high heat, add oil, garlic and tofu. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tofu is a little golden.
- - Add broccoli and carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Do not over stir, you want the tofu to have a nice golden brown color (better left at the bottom).
- - Add curry paste, curry powder and water. Stir until paste has dissolved.
- - Add sugar and fish sauce and stir.
- - Add coconut milk, stir and cook on low (simmer) for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
- - Turn the heat off and serve with shallots, cilantro and eggs.
- Serve this curry as a soup with noodles or as a side to a bowl of rice.
- For the shallots:
- - Fry with a little oil until they are crunchy, golden brown. Lay on paper towel to absorb oil.