Friday, July 30, 2010

Thai Tofu with Red Curry Sauce with Coconut-Scallion Rice

Make this dish, and you will have your family running out from whatever computer or book they are hiding behind. Your neighbors, following the wafting odors of this dish as it cooks, may even pop over round dinnertime!

There are some difficult ingredients to find. I've made a few suggestions for alternate ingredients. But if you can, find the original ingredients. Kaffir lime leaves are worth the search. In the south, I grow my own because the dried version is so hard to find. I did recently locate a powdered version of kaffir leaves (via Amazon) and will try that next time.

Thai Tofu with Red Curry Sauce over Coconut-Scallion Rice
Vegetarian Planet

10 dried kaffir lime leaves (if you can't find it, use 1 1/2 tsp grated lime rind)
1 1/4 c coconut milk
2 3/4 c water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c jasmine rice
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (2/3 c for the sauce, and the rest for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
1/4 c dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 T fish sauce (if you can't find it, use a dash of salt)
1/4 c canola oil
2 T chile paste
1 16-oz package firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1/2" cubes
1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into small pieces (about 4 c)
1 c scallions, minced, both green and white parts

Soak the kaffir leaves in 1 quart very hot water for 30 minutes.

While the leaves soak, bring the coconut milk, 2 1/4 c of the water, and the 1 tsp salt to a boil. Then, add the rice. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Let the rice cook, covered, for 25 minutes.

Drain the lime leaves, and, with a very sharp knife, chop them into pea-sized pieces. In a food processor or blender, combine the lime leaves (or lime rind), 2/3 c chopped cilantro, the garlic cloves, and the peanuts. Run the machine in spurts until the lime leaves are pulverized, pushing them down with a rubber spatula if necessary. Slowly, with the machine, add the fish sauce and 3 T of the oil. Then, add the chile paste. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.

Into a wok or non-stick skillet, over high heat, pour the remaining 1 T oil. Add the tofu, and cook until the pieces from a golden crust on the bottom. Then turn them with a spatula, and let the tofu form more golden crust on the other side. Transfer the tofu to the plate.

Into the same wok or skillet, put the broccoli and the remaining 1/2 c water. Cover and steam the broccoli for 2 minutes. Stir in the lime leaf-peanut paste, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.

Add the tofu, and toss.

Stir the scallions into the rice. Mound the rice on plates, and spoon the tofu and sauce around it. Sprinkle with 2 T chopped cilantro and serve.

Note - I was not a big fan of this rice. I love the idea of it! Coconut milk in rice, flavored with scallions. But, the way this recipe calls for the rice to be prepared, it just came out as thick and gloppy. It tasted great, but the texture was not the best.

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