If you like Thai food, you’re going to love this dish! Not only does it taste like something right out of a Thai restaurant’s kitchen, but it’s also a lighter, healthier version! I find that restaurants frequently add way too much salt, butter, and cream, resulting in feeling overly full after a meal and sensing that greasy aftertaste on your lips. This curry includes lots of fresh ingredients and a light sauce, which still embodies full flavors that leave you satisfied after a meal.
I was a little hesitant at first to try this recipe from Cooking Light because when I glanced down the list of ingredients, they seemed like an odd combination when mixed altogether. But I was fortunately wrong. It is exactly all these ingredients that make this dish so delicious!
To be completely honest, this dish takes a bit more preparation because of all the ingredients, but trust me, it’s well worth it. And after the ingredients are prepped, this dish comes together in no time at all. It is also recommended that you drain the tofu, leaving it to rest for 30 minutes to get as much liquid out of it as possible. Thirty minutes would be ideal, but 10-15 minutes is fine too; this step definitely helps enhance the texture of the tofu in the final product though, imparting the tofu with a spongy texture that almost seems like it could have been lightly fried!
I think this dish would also be very adaptable. You could easily add other vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, snap peas, etc, just make sure you adjust the sauce depending on the amount of veggies you use. Feel free to substitute veggies too, using broccoli in place of the bell pepper for example.
Tofu and Squash Panang Curry
Yield: 6 servings, about 1 cup curry and 2/3 cup rice per person
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup uncooked brown jasmine or basmati rice
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 tsp kosher salt (1/8 tsp table salt)
1 (14 oz) block extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tsp (1 TBP) olive oil- divided
2 TBP creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 TBP Thai red curry paste (can be found in International section of grocery store)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 (14 oz) can light coconut milk (also can be found in international section of store)
3 TBP lower-sodium soy sauce
1 TBP brown sugar
3 cups cubed peeled butternut or kabocha squash (if you buy this pre-cut, it saves a lot of time)
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup sliced shallots or onion
1 1/2 tsp grated lime rind
2 TBP fresh lime juice
fresh basil leaves to garnish
For rice: Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes or until water is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes. Add cilantro, fluff rice.
1. Place tofu on several layers of paper towels. Cover with additional paper towels. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally.
2. While tofu is draining, combine peanut butter, curry paste, cumin, and coriander. Combine coconut milk, soy sauce and sugar in separate dish. Then chop pepper and shallots, prepare squash and lime rind, and squeeze out lime juice.
3. When tofu is ready, heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 TBP of oil to pan, swirl to coat pan. Add tofu, saute 8 minutes until golden brown, stirring off and on. (You can also return to the preparations in step 2 while the tofu is cooking, just make sure you remember to stir it.) Remove tofu from pan and put a dinner plate over dish to keep warm.
4. Return pan to medium heat and add 1/2 TBP more of olive oil, swirling to coat. Add peanut butter mixture from above, cooking 15 seconds. Then add coconut mixture stirring until smooth. Add squash, pepper and shallots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Gently stir in tofu, rind, and lime juice. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle individual portions with torn basil leaves and serve over rice.
Adapted from Cooking Light