Vegan and Vegetarian
While I love eating out and trying new restaurants, I have an equal passion for cooking especially when it’s too cold outside for me to want to freeze my face off in 5 degree weather. This is just one of my recipes but if you’d like to see more, you can view them by clicking on the vegetarian recipe link here.
I love Thai food so much but I don’t live close to good Thai places. If I want to eat high quality, authentic Thai cuisine, I have to venture out to the Northeast part of the city, which I am happy to do in warmer temperatures, but in the winter, I just want to eat delicious Thai food in the comfort of my own home. The delivery options around here have been disappointing me with a watery, bland dish that they call Red Thai Curry. This is why I make my own Red Thai Curry – it is much more flavorful, cheaper, and healthier than ordering it out! I prefer a thicker Thai curry sauce and I think this recipe has given me the best results. It has been modified from: https://carlsbadcravings.com/thai-red-curry-chicken-recipe/.
- Jasmine Rice to be served on the side. I would follow the directions on the bag, but it’s typically 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice with a little salt for taste.
- 2 tbsp of olive oil for frying.
- Half of a diced yellow onion.
- 1 lb of fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms.
- 1 medium zucchini chopped.
- 1 pepper – red or poblano are the most flavorful in my opinion.
- 2 carrots chopped – optional.
- 1 can of coconut milk – low fat is fine but it’ll be harder to get desired that thickness.
- 2 tbsp of red curry paste.
- 3 cloves of garlic.
- 1 tbsp of ginger.
- 1 tbsp of cornstarch.
- 1 tbsp of Thai sweet chili sauce or Chili oil – I was out of chili sauce but had Chili oil and loved it.
- 2 tbsp of Tamari or low-sodium soy sauce.
- 2 tbsp of vegan mushroom sauce or Thai Garlic Sauce.
- 1-2 tbsp of lime juice depending on how much you like lime.
- 1 tbsp of brown sugar – adding this really helps decrease the acidity.
- 1 bayleaf – optional because it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have it.
- 1 tsp of fresh or dried basil.
- 1 tsp of sea salt.
- 1 tsp of pepper.
- 2 green onions for garnish.
- 1/4 of a cilantro bunch for garnish.
- In a large saucepan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil.
- Add a piece of the chopped onion and when it sizzles, add the rest of the onions. Fry for 2 minutes until they are translucent.
- Add the mushrooms, zucchini, and optional carrots. Fry for about 3-4 minutes until they look sautéed. Then add the curry paste and stir until the veggies are coated in it.
- Then add the garlic and ginger, sauté and stir for about 1-2 minutes.
- Add half of the coconut milk to the pan and stir. Add the rest of the sauces/ingredients, add the rest of the coconut milk, cornstarch, and stir. Once everything comes to a boil, simmer on very low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Once it’s done simmering, add the green onions, basil, and cilantro for the garnish and tofu (see the recipe below) if you made that separately.
- Serve over rice with lime on the side and enjoy your delicious vegan, cruelty free meal!
Asian Tofu for Stir-frys:
Tofu can definitely be intense to prepare but it is an excellent source of lean protein and you can buy extra firm tofu to make the process less laborious. Throw the tofu into your favorite stir-fry or salad. The recipe below has yielded the firmest/crispiest tofu for me. This recipe has been modified from: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12651-spicy-tofu-marinade.
- 1 container of extra firm tofu (available at Jewel, Mariano’s, and Trader Joe’s has a wonderful extra-firm sprout tofu).
- 1 ¼ cup soy sauce.
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar.
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar.
- 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) or rice vinegar if you’re on a budget.
- 2 garlic cloves, to taste, minced.
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger.
- 1 teaspoon cayenne or chili oil.
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil.
- Pan Frying Ingredients:
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp of corn starch
- Wrap the tofu in a paper towel and drain the tofu in a colander with two cans on top of it for at least 30 minutes, though this is on the low end – ideally it should be an hour but who has time to plan meals out? I certainly don’t.
- Once the tofu is drained – cut it into 1/2 inch chunks – this is completely up to you though with respect to how you prefer your tofu to be.
- Whisk all of the ingredients together and add the tofu to the marinade. It should at least marinate for 30 minutes but ideally for an hour. As I previously said though, if you’re in a rush, then 30 minutes is fine.
- Once you are done marinating the tofu – you can bake it or pan fry it. If you are in a rush, I would pan fry it – I am usually pressed for time so I tend to pan fry it.
- In a pan on medium heat – add 2 tbsp of olive oil and pan fry for about 10-15 minutes turning it over once halfway through. I would add 2 tbsp of corn starch to give the tofu a crispy texture.
- If you’re adding this to a dish (I like to add this to my Vegetarian Red Thai curry) add it at the very end when the sauce is ready and done simmering so the tofu can maintain its crispiness.
- If you do bake it:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and when it’s ready, put the tofu on a baking sheet that was sprayed with canola oil, and bake for 40 minutes (see if the tofu is golden brown). Flip over half way.
- When it’s ready, throw it into your favorite stir-fry or salad!