Thai yellow curry with vegetables and deep-fried tofu

In my local Chinese supermarket you can buy bags of fried tofu cubes. These are rather useful in a few ways, for making a quick tofu satay for example and they are also good added to a stir-fry. However, I wanted to see how they would work as an ingredient in a curry. Normally you would use cubes of firm tofu for a curry but I was feeling in an experimental mood. As I have mentioned before I like yellow curry paste, Mae Ploy brand is excellent, and it is good for vegetarians because it doesn’t contain shrimp paste (the text on the website says it does, but it really doesn’t).

I thought that I’d make a vegetarian curry, using coconut milk, carrots, broccoli florets, a long mild red chilli (for colour, mainly), a couple of kaffir lime leaves and shallots, with spring onions and green coriander as a garnish. I also decided to use Thai black rice, also known as forbidden rice, instead of my more usual plain white jasmine rice. I’d not cooked this before, so this just added to the experimental nature of the meal.

I knew that black rice takes longer to cook than white rice, so I started this off first by soaking it for half an hour or so. Then I drained it and put it in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid and added some salt and twice the volume of water, which I brought to the boil and then covered and left on a low heat for 20 minutes. I checked it and the rice seemed a bit firm, so I left it for a bit longer to absorb the rest of the water.

While the rice was slowly cooking, I fried the shallots and red chilli in sunflower oil and added the yellow curry paste, stirring to break it down. Then I added the coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves and mixed everything together before adding the carrots, sliced on the bias. This was simmered for about 8 minutes until the carrots began to soften up a bit. At this point the broccoli florets went in and I carried on cooking for another five minutes or so. I wanted the vegetables to retain some firmness so overcooking wasn’t part of the plan. I also checked the rice and turned off the heat to let it steam.

Finally, I added the tofu cubes, cut into smaller pieces to warm through and served the rice and curry with chopped coriander and spring onions on top.

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