The richly aromatic coconut-curry mixture infuses the tofu with flavor as it slow-cooks in the broth. Cutting the tofu into slices shortly before serving (instead of at the beginning) ensures that the tofu holds together over the long cooking time but still gets an extra boost of flavor at the end. Look for lemongrass—a long, slender, woody herb with an herbal lemon flavor that’s common in Thai curries—near other herbs in well-stocked markets or at an Asian market. Leftover lemongrass will keep the the refrigerator for at least a month or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
2 (14-oz.) pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 (14-oz.) can light coconut milk, well shaken
1/2 cup unsalted vegetable stock
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon roasted red chili paste (such as Thai Kitchen)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce or lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 medium-size red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch slices
2 small yellow onions, halved and sliced
1 (2-inch) piece lemongrass stalk, halved and smashed
Place tofu on a plate lined with paper towels; top with another layer of paper towels and a plate or a skillet. Press and let stand 20 minutes.
Heat coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add tofu blocks, and cook until lightly browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
Whisk together coconut milk, vegetable stock, lime juice, tomato paste, chili paste, sugar, fish sauce, and curry powder in a slow cooker. Add bell peppers, onions, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and serrano chile; stir to combine. Top with tofu blocks. Cover and cook on low until vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 hours.
One hour before serving, carefully transfer tofu blocks to a cutting board, and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Return sliced tofu to slow cooker. Remove and discard lemongrass. To serve, ladle curry into 8 bowls; top evenly with bean sprouts and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
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