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Tofu Curry with Lemongrass and Chile

Photo: Iain Bagwell
Active time 25 mins
Total time 25 mins

Serves 4 (serving size: 3 oz. tofu and about 3/4 cup vegetables)

You don't need to press the tofu to drain the water for this recipe; a slow pan-fry achieves the same effect and gets the exterior extra crispy. For a vegetarian dish, swap the fish sauce for reduced-sodium soy sauce or the liquid from soaked dried porcini mushrooms. This one-dish meal is loaded with hearty flavor. If you choose, serve it alongside rice to soak up the sauce. Otherwise, it's just fine on its own. Flavorful curries are easy to tailor to your liking, so play with the heat and style of your curry recipes until you find one that can become your signature dish.


  • 1 (14-oz.) block extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 to 2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 green beans, cut diagonally into 2-in. pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-in. strips
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 to 4 fresh cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped

Nutrition Information

  • calories 246
  • fat 16.6 g
  • satfat 4 g
  • monofat 7.1 g
  • polyfat 5.2 g
  • protein 11 g
  • carbohydrate 15 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 3 mg
  • sodium 461 mg
  • calcium 198 mg
  • sugars 4 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 1 g

How to Make It

  1. Halve tofu lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 4 pieces.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add tofu to pan; cook, without stirring, until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over; cook 2 minutes. Carefully add soy sauce to pan; cook 2 minutes. Turn tofu; cook 1 minute. Remove tofu from pan; cool. Cut each piece diagonally into triangles.

  3. Combine 1/4 cup water and coconut milk in a bowl. Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok over high until oil is hot but not smoking. Add shallots, chiles, and lemongrass; cook 1 minute or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add salt, green beans, and bell pepper; cook 2 minutes or until vegetables have softened slightly. Add curry and sugar; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add tofu, milk mixture, and fish sauce; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Arrange tofu mixture on a platter. Sprinkle with cilantro.

The Pho Cookbook. Ten Speed Press, $22, on sale Feb. 7, 2017.