Making Thai food at home may seem daunting, but really the only difficult thing is remembering to stock the pantry with a few exotic ingredients that are easily found in the international section of any grocery store. Aside from that, Thai curries and stir fries come together in minutes, as the dishes focus on fresh ingredients and vibrant flavors that need minimal cooking time. Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines because it manages to be spicy, fragrant, and mostly vegetarian.
If you have coconut milk and red curry paste, you can make a Thai curry. Coconut milk adds a creamy taste that also helps to tame the heat of the spicy chili paste that’s often used. The curry paste, red in this case, is a potent blend of traditional Thai ingredients like kaffir lime leaves and galangal (a Thai variety of ginger). Just a spoonful of curry paste is all that’s needed to take this dish to the next level. If you are a vegetarian, make sure to use a brand like Thai Kitchen that doesn’t contain dried shrimp or fish paste.
This is the perfect dish to have in your recipe arsenal for when you’re tired, hungry, and don’t know what to make for dinner. Keep these ingredients on hand, and in twenty minutes or less you will have a healthy, one-dish (and one pan!) meal that smells like it came from directly from a Thai restaurant.
Thai Red Curry with Tofu and Rice Noodles
2 teaspoons canola oil
1-15 oz. block firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
6 oz. fresh rice noodles, or 4 oz. rice vermicelli 2 minced garlic cloves
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 cup water, divided
¾ cup light coconut milk
2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (Thai Kitchen has a good, fish-free version)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoon lime juice
½ teaspoon red chili paste, or red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Heat the canola oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the tofu in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Carefully flip to the opposite side and cook for another 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the now-empty skillet and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and ½ cup water, and cook over medium heat until the broccoli is tender and the liquid has evaporated, 3-5 minutes.
- While the broccoli cooks, whisk together the remaining ½ cup water, coconut milk, curry paste, soy sauce, lime juice, and red chili paste. If using fresh rice noodles, rinse them under hot running water. If using rice vermicelli, place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water, then let sit for 4 minutes.
- Once the broccoli is tender, add the tofu and noodles to the skillet, along with the coconut milk mixture and chopped basil, and toss to combine until well mixed and heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately.