When the silk of creamy coconut blends with the dewy freshness of lemongrass, the opulence of select spices and the warmth of garlic, onion, ginger..in a turmeric-tinted gravy..for colorful peppers, florid broccoli and crisped tofu strips to soak in..even the dullest of days and most inert of palates come alive like yellow pimpernel in the countryside. And that long expired deal in the local Thai house brochure with its photoshopped pictures of curries seems, of a sudden, like an eyesore, almost unnecessary if you will, in the face of these homespun flavors.
Thai-style Yellow Curry
- 2 Tablespoons light olive oil
- About ½ lb tofu, drained well and cut into squares
- 1 Red bell pepper, cut into squares
- 4 cups of vegetables like broccoli, baby corn, mushrooms, zucchini, cut into small pieces
- Yellow curry paste (recipe follows)
- Salt to taste
- 14 fl oz or about 400ml canned coconut milk
Warm ½ tablespoon oil in a non-stick pan and add in the tofu, allowing it to brown on both sides. Remove and set aside. Then warm another ½ tablespoon of oil and tip in the peppers and other veggies and let them cook on high heat for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the vegetables onto a bowl and set aside.
Pour in the remaining oil into the same pan. Add the yellow curry paste and season with salt, let cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Add a quarter cup of the coconut milk and let it simmer on a low flame for 6-7 minutes. Tip in the remaining coconut milk, the reserved tofu and veggies. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve hot with rice.
Yellow Curry Paste
- 1 Teaspoon light olive oil
- ¼ Teaspoon turmeric
- 1-2 Fresh red chillies
- ¼ Teaspoon pepper
- ½ Teaspoon coriander seeds
- A ½ inch piece of ginger
- 2-3 Pods of garlic
- 1 Medium white onion, roughly chopped
- ½ Yellow or orange bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 1-2 Tablespoons freshly grated coconut (see note)
- 1 Stalk of lemon grass, cleaned and cut into small pieces
Warm the oil in a pan and add the turmeric, red chillies, pepper, coriander seeds and fry for a minute or so. Then add the ginger, garlic, onion and bell pepper and fry on a low flame until they cook down. Add the coconut and lemon grass, fry and let cook for 3-4 minutes on a low flame. Cool and grind to a smooth paste.
You can subsitute the fresh coconut with frozen, grated coconut. Make sure you keep it out ahead of time and thaw before using.