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Spicy beancurd

Tofu dishes are a delight if made well. I do love silken and soft tofu, but what it is served with is so important to me on whether I like the dish. I prefer that the blandness be used as an open canvas for a flavour that bursts.

This is a beautiful dish, one that shines on the table, and yet is so simple to make. The chef does not use the term "spicy' lightly. It is banging with spice, loud and beautiful. I have chosen to serve this dish differently than in the book. I like to lay the curry on the base of a shallow dish and top it with a whole white cube of silken tofu and garnish with fresh basil. The guests can carve out how much they want and take as much of the sauce as desired. The sticky jasmine rice is much needed to calm the palate and attempt to subdue the spices of the curry. This dish is now probably one of my favourite tofu dishes, it will be a star on your table too.

This is a thin cookbook, filled with vegan recipes that are outstanding. Super simple recipes from traditional salads, fried foods, noodles and curries, like this one, make this my go-to cookbook for vegetarian Thai cuisine. Vatch, as he is known, has published several cookbooks, runs some excellent restaurants around the world and teaches Thai cooking at his school.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


8 oz. silken and soft tofu

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons red curry paste

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup water

2-3 tablespoons roasted peanuts, see note

3-4 Thai red chillies, halved

1 kaffir lime leaves, sliced

Thai basil, for garnish

NOTE: For the peanuts pound them till smooth or as chunky as you would like. You can also use smooth or chunky peanut butter.

If using silken tofu leave it as is. If using soft tofu, cube, if desired.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the red curry paste and sauté for 2 minutes on low heat. Add the soy sauce, and sugar, and cook for an additional minute on a low simmer.

Add the water, ground peanuts, and Thai chillies and stir in well. Simmer gently for 5 minutes till the sugars turn into syrup and the sauce thickens. You can make the sauce to this point and set it aside.

Remove from the heat and steep the kaffir lime leaves for 2-3 minutes. Remove the kaffir lime leaves if you think it has steeped for long enough. Depending on the lime leaves, steeping them for too long may turn the sauce acrid.

Layer the tofu on a shallow bowl. Pour the sauce around the tofu. Garnish with fresh basil. I like to have my guests scoop the tofu and the sauce together.

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