Tofu Thai Green Curry
With summer fast approaching, I suspect this will be the last of the posts utilising the slow cooker before it is tucked away until autumn. But what a scrumptious dish for a season finale! This Thai curry is super easy and packed with veggies and plenty of spice, nicely balanced by the creamy sweetness of coconut. And although I recently extolled the virtues of ‘raw’ slow cooking – that is, throwing everything into a slow cooker completely raw to cook nicely while you make a swift exit – I encourage a bit of pre-cooking here, as the Thai curry paste really needs to be fried gently in oil to get the very best from it. It’s all pretty straightforward, and some of the veggies and the coconut milk are simply added in the final hour of cooking, to keep their firmness and prevent curdling respectively. And of course, you don’t have to use a slow cooker – you can just make the whole thing on the stove (in about half and hour) instead, if you prefer. Serve with rice of your choice (if you want to be a bit fancy, oil a small bowl then pack in some hot, drained rice and carefully turn out on to the plate, like I did for the photos. I should add, under normal circumstances I wouldn’t bother!)
Serves 3-4 depending on portion size.
For vegetarians, you can use Quorn pieces if you like (incidentally, they do vegan ones now, which I’m not too enamoured with) or for a vegan meal, you can stick to tofu. A handful of chopped raw cashews and coriander are the finishing touches to this fragrant and lovely superfood supper!
350g (approx) sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small cubes
300g *defrosted Quorn Pieces or firm tofu, drained/squeezed/cubed. You can also marinade and/or dry-fry first, if you like
1 bunch of spring onions, sliced into rings (or 1 large onion, finely chopped)
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
1″ chunk of ginger, peeled and grated
2 big tbsp Thai green curry paste (I like to use 1 individual Blue Dragon pot)
1 green or red pepper, sliced (or use roughly 100g frozen sliced peppers)
100g edamame beans (frozen)
300-400ml water (hot from a freshly boiled kettle)
1 tbsp lime juice
For the final stage:
200ml coconut milk
200g (approx) fresh veggies – eg. baby corn, mange tout, baby broccoli. I like to use a tray of stir-fry veggies like this one at Tesco.
Optional: 1-2 bulbs pak choi. Trim and remove the leaves – allow about half a pack choi per person. (Only cook what you need as it will go too soggy to withstand being reheated!)
To serve: Rice! I like basmati, with a squeeze of lime juice, chopped coriander and coconut stirred in after it has thoroughly drained.
*Defrosting Quorn – I always lay the pieces on a plate, cover and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes. This softens them enough to use.
On a low heat, gently fry the spring onions, crushed garlic and grated ginger for a few minutes until softened. Add the Thai curry paste and stir for a minute. Careful here – it can spit! Add the chopped sweet potato and stir until coated in the spices. If you are using defrosted Quorn chunks, you can also add them at this point. Don’t add tofu just yet.
Add the sliced peppers, edamame and hot water (add 300ml initially. If this amount doesn’t quite cover the veggies, gradually add the remaining 100ml. You might not need it all.) Add the lime juice and give everything a good stir, making sure the paste isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring just to the boil. If using tofu, add it now. Take care as it can crumble so easily! Now you can carefully transfer the contents to a slow cooker (at times like this, I am very grateful to my very handy hob-friendly slow-cooker insert!)
Slow cooker: Cook for around 3 hours on high (4 hours medium, 5 hours low). THEN: Stir in the coconut milk and prepared veggies (not the pak choi just yet). Clamp the lid back on and continue cooking until the veggies are as you like them – as a rough guide, I find half an hour is plenty (on a high setting). If also using pak choi, add it about 15 minutes before serving. Remember these veggies only need warming through – they taste better with a bit of bite!
Cooking on the stove: Simply continue to cook by reducing to a simmer, partially covered, for around 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Then, pour in the coconut milk and add the prepared veggies and cook for just an extra few minutes. If you’re also using pak choi, lay it on top everything else, clamp the lid on and warm through for the final minute or so.
Serve with rice. Sprinkle with a little chopped coriander and raw cashews, and a wedge of lime on the side.