Crispy Coconut Tofu with Burning Rings Of Fire

By • July 25, 2011 • 30 Comments

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Author Notes: I have actually been meaning to enter this recipe for awhile, just to beef up the tofu selections here on Food52 (Seriously, did I just say beef up the tofu? Good grief), so here it is chili week, lighting a fire under my butt (so to speak) ... I eat this often - it makes a great dinner, and great leftovers ... - aargersiaargersi

Food52 Review: Let me start this review by telling you that this dish would be perfectly fine without the tofu (for you tofu haters). How do I know this? I accidentally ate half of the crispy tofu while I was preparing the rest of the dish. With the eggplant, tomato and onion, it's substantial on its own. Four jalapenos were the perfect amount of heat for me contrasting the sweet (lite) coconut milk. When it was finished I tasted it and thought 'Oh, I'll never go out for curry again,' it was so good. Then I saw the lime and basil sitting there and realized I had forgotten to add them and after doing so, it was even better.nannydeb

Serves 4

  • 1 pound firm tofu
  • 1 cup onion that is quartered and sliced
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 2 cups eggplant in 1/2" dice - I would normally use japanese but the garden gave me Rosa Bianca and it was fine
  • 2 red fresno peppers (see note) (red jalapenos work if you can't find fresnos)
  • 2 serrano peppers (see same note)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg amino acids (if you can't find, use soy sauce but a little at a time and taste as you go - which really you should do anyway)
  • 1 - 13.5 ounces can light coconut milk (full fat makes this too creamy for my taste but if that's how you roll by all means - go for it!)
  • 1/2 a juicy lime
  • a few leaves each shiso and Thai basil chopped - I usually just chiffonade
  • a pinch of salt
  • cooked rice to serve with
  1. Prep the tofu - cut the "loaf" in half the long way. Roll it up in a long string of paper towels, place the package on a plate, tuck in the sides, put it on a plate and put a heavy pot or skillet on top to squash out the liquid.
  2. Chop all of your veggies - here is the NOTE on the peppers! Slice the stem off your peppers. Use a little paring knife to whittle out the seeds and pith. Rinse them out. Just because the whiff of seed takes your breath away doesn't mean they are butt burners - so slice a teeny bit off each one and taste them For me, 2 of each was perfect heat. For you - maybe more maybe less - up to you. Decide, then slice your peppers into very thin rings.
  3. I cook this in a big wok. If you don't have one use a skillet. Heat 2 tbs of the canola oil to med-high. Unbundle the tofu and slice it into about 1" cubes. Lightly salt them, then into the pan. Let them sizzle and brown up on all sides - this takes a bit of cube-by-cube turning to get them brown on at least most sides. When they are nice and crisp remove them to a plate covered with more paper towels (sorry enviornment!!).
  4. Now put the rest of the canola in the pan and add the onions and curry. Add a teeny pinch of salt. Stir for a few minutes until the curry toasts, then add the eggplant. In a couple more minutes add the tomato and garlic. In yet a couple MORE minutes, add the coconut milk and the pepper rings. Add the amino acids. Taste - is it salty enough? If no, add a bit more.
  5. Simmer the mixture just for a few more minutes and you are ready to serve. Squeeze in the lime and taste - enough? If no, add the other half (I had a very juicy lime and only needed half). Turn off the heat. Stir in the fresh herbs. Spoon over rice. Eat.
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2 months ago emcsull

where's the note about the chillies, please ?

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2 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Step 2!!!

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2 months ago emcsull

oh right, thought you would elaborate on the difference between the kinds etc., never mind, can look that up somewhere. Thanks !

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over 1 year ago Nomnomnom

Regarding the use of paper towels to dry tofu, here is the method I use: after removing from container and rinsing under water, put tofu block in a colander set over a bowl. Place a plate over the tofu and a weight (such as a canned good) on top. Allow to drain at least 30 minutes. Pour off extra liquid and use. Dry the outside with one towel, if necessary.

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about 2 years ago Vic Lagina

Delicious dish, thanks so much for sharing. Next time spare the environment and drain your tofu on a bar mop.

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about 2 years ago BoulderGalinTokyo

This picture is really great--gives a real anticipation of the flavors and textures in a great recipe. Thanks for beefing up the tofu selections!

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over 2 years ago GipsyChef

This would be my next recipe to try. Looks delicious.

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over 2 years ago Eletta

Suggestions on what to use instead of the eggplant? (It makes my tongue itch!)

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over 2 years ago spacemonkey

I often use carrot, sweet potatoes, or pineapple. I put in water chestnuts and sometimes othe random vegetables I have lying about. Always good.

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almost 3 years ago cranberry

Just came across this recipe and will be trying it this week. I buy already-fried tofu at the market and will use that. Eliminates the draining and frying steps. I toss it in the wok to warm it up, often without additional oil.

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about 3 years ago elle.cid

I just wanted to make a sugestion, since you seem so guilty there about the whole paper towel deal ;) In Asia we usually use newspapers to absorb excess oil, I do also find that a bit disgusting so what I do is make the top layer a paper towel with the newspapers under.

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about 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Great idea! I had this for dinner last night and used a LOT of paper towels ....

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about 3 years ago KingKelsey

Delicious!!!! Though, I broiled my tofu instead of frying it in oil b/c I generally like the texture better and it's healthier.

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about 3 years ago spacemonkey

made this for dinner last night: best curry and best tofu dish i've made in a while! It was super easy to put together and really tasted special. the flavors melded together great, and the peppers delivered a serious lode of spicy. thanks for posting! this is entering my collection of "go to" recipes. :)

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about 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh good! I am so happy it worked for you!!! Thank you for letting me know

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Some kind of spicy Asian curry is in our regular rotation...your version is definitely being added to it. Thanks!

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about 3 years ago jollygreenani

I love, and wholeheartedly agree with the tag attached to this recipe!!

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about 3 years ago jollygreenani

(And also love the recipe itself...).

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about 3 years ago checker

...I fell in to a bowl of crispy tofu ... and it burned, burned, burned ... the crispy tofu... (I really hope someone out there gets that.)

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about 3 years ago lorigoldsby

got it...even heard it w/ mr. cash's twangy drawl...

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about 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

hee hee - just saw this and totally got it - that song played in my head all week last week!!!!

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about 3 years ago checker

So glad people got it. I love that man. How about ... Your Best Recipe Inspired by a Song? I'd say we would have a winner here.

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about 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh I LOVE that idea!

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about 3 years ago EmilyC

This looks really delicious, aargersi. I like tofu but never cook with it; this recipe may change my mind. Saved!

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This looks so delicious. I have so many vegetarian and vegan friends this will be on the menu next time they come over.

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about 3 years ago Midge

Always looking to expand my tofu repertoire and I can't wait to try this!

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about 3 years ago lapadia

Saved! A must try, thanks for sharing your recipe!!

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about 3 years ago susan g

You have me taking inventory to see if I can make this tomorrow. Almost, just need eggplant and chilis, shiso impossible, basil genovese? Anyway, sounds great, and I'll make it no matter what I can find.

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about 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yes you can sub more basil! I got some shiso to root and have a plant growing now (so proud! :-) but have made it without too ...

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This sounds amazing! It's on my list for making next time I cook for my vegan friend.