Thai is one of my favorite cuisines to eat, and one reason it’s so awesome is that the flavors of a Thai curry are so easy to achieve at home. It’s simple enough to throw together midweek, but feels special enough to make when you have guests coming over.
This recipe for pineapple curry is particularly fun with the unexpected addition of the pineapple, which robust sweetness pairs perfectly with the robust curry spices. Using tofu makes it a great option for vegetarians and the roasted tofu adds a whole new dimension of texture and flavor to the tofu that even meat lovers will appreciate.
Still, one of the great things about a curry is its versatility. You could just as easily make it a chicken (or turkey) curry with leftovers you may have laying around the house or substitute any or all of the vegetables for your favorites. I sometimes like to use kale, broccoli, or fresh green beans in my curry for added color and nutrients, but you could also use whatever you might happen to have around the house.
In my recipe, I used a mixture of trumpet and shitake mushrooms, but button mushrooms still add lots of flavor and canned straw mushrooms are an excellent option to add authenticity.
The galangal root in this recipe also adds to the authenticity and is becoming more widely available in larger grocery stores. If you’ve never worked with it before, it really brings that “Thai restaurant” flavor to your home curries. However, it should be noted that galangal is simply a flavor enhancer and is not meant to be eaten. Cut it thinly to maximize flavor extraction, but large enough that the pieces are easy to fish out. Some places have dried galangal root. If this is the case, use about ½ c of it and steep it for 10-15 minutes in one of the cans of coconut milk that you’ve heated in a microwave safe bowl or in a small saucepan. When stepped, strain out the galangal, leaving you with a flavor infused coconut milk.
The addition of fish sauce is another great flavor boost of authenticity, but if you wanted to make this completely vegetarian or just don’t have any fish sauce available. Soy sauce or salt to taste could be substituted.
Pineapple Curry with Roasted Tofu (serves 6-8)
1, 14 oz. package extra firm tofu
2 T vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°F
- Cut tofu into 1 ½ in cubes. I usually cut the tofu block in half horizontally and then 4×5, making a total of 40 little cubes.
- Place tofu on a parchment lined (or well greased) cookie sheet.
- Drizzle on oil and salt and pepper to taste and toss lightly to evenly coat
- Bake in preheated oven until golden brown on all sides, about 15-20 minutes, stirring once midway through roasting.
2 T vegetable oil
4 large shallots, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 in. piece of ginger root, grated
3-4 in. piece of galagal root (sometimes called thai ginger) cut thinly crosswise into large “coins”
¼ c red curry paste
2 medium carrots, sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 tomatoes cut into a large dice
2, 8 oz. cans bamboo shoots
1 lb. wild mushrooms
1 baby pineapple diced (about 3 cups)
3, 13 oz. cans coconut milk
14 oz. roasted tofu
1 lg. red pepper, sliced
3 T fish sauce (optional-salt or soy sauce may be substituted)
½ c cilantro roughly chopped
1 c basil roughly chopped
-In a large pot in a small amount of vegetable oil sauté shallots, garlic, ginger, and galangal on medium high heat until lightly browned and aromatic.
-Stir in curry paste continuing to cook the mixture while coating the other aromatics, about 3-4 minutes, being careful not to burn.
-Stir carrots, tomatoes, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, pineapple, coconut milk, and fish sauce, and bring just to the boil.
-Once achieved, partially cover the pot, reduce heat to a slight simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-Add in roasted tofu, and red peppers and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
-Just before serving, stir in cilantro and basil and serve on steamed rice.
About the Author
A former baker, chef, caterer, and a forever foodie, John is now a writer and essayist, who has written for newspapers and magazines across the country, and enjoys spending his spare time traveling and collecting bow ties.
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