Vegan Thai Green Curry with Crispy Sesame Tofu Questa ricetta è disponibile anche in italiano.
Calling all curry lovers!
Green curry lovers, to be precise.
The recipe I’m guiding you step-by-step today is my personal take on a classic Thai Green Curry.
We are going to make a delicious green curry paste from scratch, base for our rich broth in which we are going to simmer a bunch of veggies, and a crispy oil-free sesame tofu, main protein of this dish.
Who hasn’t been in a Thai restaurant and didn’t fall in love with their round and delicious flavours?
As probabily many of you, my love for this cuisine, started when I first tried green curry: hot and spicy flavours wisely cooled by sweet coconut milk and refreshed thanks to the tangy lime and lemongrass flavour.
Such a genious combo that will drive your tastebuds crazy.
Now, unfortunately both in shops and restaurant it is a bit challenging to find a paste or a green curry dish that is suitable for vegans, as the traditional recipe calls for both shrimp paste and fish sauce.
In my veganized version I substitute the shrimp paste with simple tofu, that gives just a touch of extra texture, and I made my own quick & easy vegan “fish” sauce. Let’s see how.
Homemade Vegan “Fish” Sauce
Although you can easily find vegan “fish” sauce in shops or online, I like to make my own as I find it to be quick and super easy.
Homemade vegan “fish” sauce only requires 3 ingredients:
- Tamari Sauce
- Kombu (Kelp) Seaweed
Method: Bring the water (250 ml) to a boil and pour it over 1 sheet of Kombu Seaweed.
Allow to cool completely to better infiuse the flavour, then add the Tamari (100 ml).
Yep, that’s basically it guys!
This sauce can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days, but I usually freeze it into ice cube trays to have it always ready-to-use.
If you want to make just the amount of fish sauce needed for this recipe you’ll need to use 1 small piece of kombu (1×1 cm will do), 25 ml water and 10 ml of tamari.
The Curry Paste
Also making the curry paste at home is dead easy.
In fact, all you need to do is basically blend together all the ingredients with as much water as it’s required to make them come together into a smooth paste.
To better extract their flavours, I have toasted all the dry components on a hot skillet before blending them.
This is an hack I really recommend you to try to bring your homemade curry paste to the next level!
The main ingredients that I have chosen are the followings:
- lemongrass: a classic ingredient that provides a tangy lemony and minty flavour.
- ginger: with its sweet, hot, zesty and warm kick.
- Thai basil: sweeter that European basil, it provides an aftertaste of anice and liquorice.
- Thai chillies: fruity chillies with a very strong spiciness. The amount of these chillies it’s totally up to you. I have used 3 chillies in this recipe for a spicy kick that it’s not crazy hot eventually. So feel free to use more or less chillies according to your own taste.
- lime zest: a great addiction for extra tanginess, and way easier to find compared to its leaves (which are another classic ingredient for green curry paste).
- tofu: completely optional, it gives the paste a smoother finish.
- cumin and ground coriander: a perfect blend for a spicy taste.
- white pepper: less pungent than black pepper, characterized by an earthy and grassy flavour.
The following dosage will be enough to make a curry enough for 4 people.
Feel free to double or triple up the dose for future uses. You can store the curry paste in the fridge for max 1 week or portion and freeze it up to a few months.
Let’s be fair and mention that vegetables for this recipe are completely up to you.
The five vegetable I have selected all have different textures and to me they work perfectly well in this curry.
- baby aubergine/eggplant: neutral flavour, melt-in-the-mouth texture
- baby corn: crunchy and tender with a subtle sweet aftertaste
- mangetout: crunchy texture with a mild and sweet flavour
- green pepper: meaty, spicy and aromatic
- beansprouts: crunchy, nutty flavour, watery and refreshing
I chopped the aubergine and the green pepper to a bite size chunks, and sautéd all the veggies in a wok with the homemade vegan “fish” sauce* until slighly caramelized.
Then I removed the veggies from the wok and moved onto the sauce.
*for a oil-free version – feel free to use 1 tablespoon of neutral seed oil (like sunflower) if you’re not oil free and add the fish sauce later on with the coconut milk.
For the sauce all we need to do is simply combine the curry paste with the sugar
and stir in the coconut milk.
As soon as the coconut milk reaches a boil it is time to add the veggies and simmer until they are fork tender.
Press the tofu (if needed) and cut into triangles.
Coat each triangle into sesame seeds and pop the tofu into a 200°C (393°F) pre-heated oven (or air fryer) for 15 minutes.
I decided to serve this amazing dish with flat rice noodles to keep it also naturally gluten free.
Another great alternative would be some fragrant fluffy rice.
Thai Green Curry Recipe
..for the paste..
2-3 Thai Chillies (deseeded)
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Lemongrass Stalk
1 inch Ginger
1 tbsp Tofu
1 tsp Lime Zest
1 tsp Ground Coriander Seeds
1 pinch Cumin
..for the curry..
1 Can full fat Coconut Milk
2-3 Indian Aubergines
1 Green Pepper
100 gr Mangetout
100 gr Baby Corn
100 gr Beansprouts
2 tbsp Vegan “Fish” Sauce*
1/2 tbsp Soft Brown Sugar
1 block Firm Tofu (300 g)
Rice Noodles (4 nests)
1. Make the green curry paste. Toast the spices with chopped garlic and onion for a couple of minutes to bring up the flavours. Blend with the rest of the ingredients until it reaches a smooth texture (add some water if needed).
2. Chop the green pepper and the aubergines to bite size and sauté with baby corn in vegan “fish” sauce until caramelized. Remove the veggies from the pan.
3. Add the brown sugar, the curry paste and the coconut milk to the pan. Stir well and bring it to a boil. Add the veggies and simmer until they are fork tender (for about 20 minutes). In the last 5 minutes add in the mangetout.
4. Cut the tofu into triangles (press first if needed). Coat it in sesame seed and bake or air fry until crispy and golden (15-20 minutes).
5. Prepare the rice noodles according to their instructions.
6. In a bowl arrange a handful of noodles and the green curry on the bottom, and top with sesame tofu triangles and fresh coriander leaves or thai basil.