Photo: Quentin Bacon
The trick to making tofu delicious is pressing it to get rid of all the water so that its texture is more meaty than mushy, and it can absorb all the wonderful flavors of the sauce. The dry sauté technique I use here makes the pressing process super quick and simple, since it takes advantage of the heat of the pan to help evaporate the water in the tofu. It has the added effect of browning the outside and giving it a toasted quality. That primes the tofu to absorb all the sumptuous spices and aromatics in the coconut curry sauce as it is tossed with lots of colorful crisp vegetables.
One 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger
1 ½ tablespoons neutral oil such as grape seed, avocado or canola
One 13.5 ounce can light coconut milk
½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 ½ tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce (substitute soy sauce to make this dish vegetarian)
2 medium carrots
1 cup snow peas
1 medium head of broccoli
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 scallion, greens and whites
Slice the tofu in half lengthwise, then slice each tofu block into eight ½ x 2 x 2-inch blocks. Arrange the tofu in a single layer in a very large, dry nonstick skillet. Heat the over a high heat, pressing the tofu every minute or two so it releases more liquid, until the exterior of the tofu is dry and lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the tofu to a plate.
Slice the onion thinly into half-moons, mince the garlic and grate the ginger. Heat the oil in same skillet used to cook tofu over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more. Add the coconut milk, broth, curry paste and fish sauce whisking to combine, and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, peel and slice the carrots, trim the snow peas and cut the broccoli into 1-inch florets. Add the carrot, snow peas, broccoli, and tofu, to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce has thickened slightly and the vegetables are tender-crisp, 4-5 minutes. While the curry simmers, slice the basil into ribbons and thinly slice the scallions. Serve garnished with basil and scallions.
Makes 4 servings
Serving size: 1 ¼ cups
Per serving: Calories 260; Total Fat 17 g; (Sat Fat 6 g, Mono Fat 3.4 g, Poly Fat 1.6 g); Protein 13 g; Carb 16 g; Fiber 4 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 510 mg