Crispy Coconut Tofu with Burning Rings Of Fire

July 25, 2011
2 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
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 pepper week, lighting a fire under my butt (so to speak). I eat this often—it makes a great dinner, and great leftovers. —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

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-inch dice (I would normally use japanese but the garden gave me Rosa Bianca and it was fine)
  • 2 red fresno peppers (see note in Step 2) (red jalapeños 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 can (13.5 ounce) 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
  • Salt
  • Cooked rice to serve with
In This Recipe
  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 tablespoons of the canola oil to med-high. Unbundle the tofu and slice it into about 1-inch 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 environment!!).
  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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I work in databases by day, but creativity is my outlet. Food - imagining it, making it, sharing it. And art, I come from a family of artists and have been collaging in my garage studio. You can see my work on Etsy in my shop AbbiesGarage