Green Curry with Veggies & Tofu
Are you starting to notice a chill in the air, finally? Someone must have flipped the switch this week near us- up until this week summer was still going strong with 90s/100s and sun, but today I am finding myself confused and sweatered. Normally at the first sign of chill I get down with some really mature, futile internal protesting. But this year I am just endlessly grateful for the rain that seems to be moving in, that we have been desperately needing to help put out the wildfires, which have been really, really bad this year. Over Labor Day weekend a pretty massive fire was started due to idiot-human causes just a few miles east of us. Ash rained from the sky, and smoke filled the air that was so thick and noxious that my three-block commute to work left me feeling like I’d sprinted rather than walked. For the first few days the fire was spreading so quickly in our direction that we packed up supplies to evacuate if needed. It frightened me. Where do you go when the whole west coast is on fire? And how do you get there when you don’t have a car? Meanwhile, Houston happened, and then Mexico happened, and then Irma started heading straight for a dear friend of mine in Orlando…
…and I had a deadline to meet for a project at work that week, which I was a day behind on from the holiday. So it was crazy-stressful. My little heart couldn’t handle any more. I broke. Comfort food was needed, temperatures be damned, and this green curry packed with veggies and tofu was just the ticket to self-care. That, and pints on pints on pints of ice cream.
Just prior to all of that madness starting, I was at the farmers market with Ben when these gorgeous baby eggplants stopped me dead in my tracks. Just look at how cute!! I knew right then and there that they were meant to be mine. So I brought them all home with me, gave them a bath, and read them a story. And then I ate them, in a big batch of creamy, coconut-y green curry.
I’ve been making this green curry for a while now and it never seems to get old for me- it doesn’t take a lot of time or dishes to put together. The leftovers are fantastic. And the veggies/protein can be switched out based on what’s in season and what I’m craving. I’m going to write the recipe out for the veggies that appear in this iteration (eggplant-mushroom-broccoli), but I don’t limit myself to it, and you shouldn’t either! Other options I’d recommend: sweet potatoes, snap peas, squash, bok choy, carrots, black beans (why not?), green beans… Just make sure you’ve got a good variety of textures going on and you’ll be golden. Don’t forget about the aromatics, too- basil is fantastic in place of the cilantro.
- 2 japanese eggplant, in thick strips
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced thick
- small head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1/2 block extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
- Canola or other neutral oil
- 3 T. green curry paste (more or less, to taste- each curry is different)
- 1 13.5 oz. can coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk (I love Trader Joe's coconut cream in the brown can. The blue can is not as good)
- 1 t. fish sauce
- 2 t. brown sugar
- cooked rice, cilantro, and lime wedges for serving
- Heat 1 T. oil in a dutch oven or big deep skillet over medium high heat. Saute eggplant 5 minutes, or until skin starts to blister and eggplant starts softening. Remove to a plate.
- Heat another 1 T. oil in the same pot, and saute mushrooms until starting to brown and soften. Remove to the plate with the eggplant.
- Add 1/4 c. water to pot, add the broccoli, and saute until green and slightly tender. Add to the veggie plate. Water should have cooked off, but if not, wipe down pot.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 t. oil and curry paste and stir for one minute. Pour or scrape in the coconut cream. Stir in fish sauce and brown sugar. Taste/adjust (more fish sauce if too sweet, more sugar if too salty). When sauce starts bubbling, reduce heat to simmer and add veggies (and whatever veggie juice is on the plate) and tofu to the pot. Simmer 10 minutes.
- Serve over rice with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
- Use whatever combo of veggies you want! Whatever veggies you use, just cook them in batches until they reach tender-crisp. You'll want them slightly under-cooked so they don't turn to mush after simmering with the sauce.