Curry in a Hurry: Red Vegetable Curry

As I mentioned previously, Thai food is a subtle combination of the sweet and spicy, perfectly melded to make one delicious dish.

While I’m not typically one to order the cream sauces in any occasion, when it comes to Thai food, I’m helpless to any kind of coconut curry.  Red or green. Apple Crisp feels the same way. It’s yet another reason why we’re soul sisters.

I learned how to make it a while ago and don’t nearly make it enough.    All the work is done by using a commercially available red chili paste.

curry paste

This is what I use, found at my trusty Asian grocer. However, I realize that the name of this game is authenticity, so I’m passing on the red chili paste recipe in mom’s Asian cookbook. When I run out of the canned stuff, I’ll give this a whirl and report my findings. Until then, you’re on your own.  If you happen to try it before I do, give a shout and let me know how it went.

Red Vegetable Curry

Serves 4


1 package extra firm tofu, cut into chunks

1 TB oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1-2 TB red curry paste (adjust depending on heat tolerance)

1 ½ cups coconut milk (light is fine)

1 cup water

2 medium potatoes, chopped

¼ cup basil leaves, finely chopped

1 cup grean beans

½ red pepper, cut into strips

10 fresh baby corn spears

2 TB fish sauce

1 TB lime juice

2 tsp brown sugar

Rice, for serving

*You know those frozen stir-fry mixes? You can totally use one of those. I’ve done that before and it makes this dish even easier**


1.   Heat the oil in a large wok or saucepan. Cook the onion for about 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

2.  In a separate bowl, combine the coconut milk, water, lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar.

3.  Add the tofu to the onions and add the liquids.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add the potato, and simmer for 7 minutes.

5.  Add the green beans, red pepper, corn and cook for another 5 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Stir in the basil to finish.


Red Curry Paste

Recipe from The Essential Asian Cookbook


1 TB coriander seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

2 tsp shrimp paste

1 tsp ground nutmeg

12 dried or fresh chilies, roughly chopped

20 red Asian shallots, chopped

2 TB oil

4 stems lemon grass (white part only), finely chopped

12 small garlic cloves, chopped

2 TB cilantro roots, chopped

6 kaffir lime leaves, chopped

2 tsp grated lime rind

2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp paprika


1.  Place cumin and coriander in a dry frying pan and roast for 2-3 minutes, shaking pan constantly.

2.  Place roasted spices and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and pound until finely ground.

3.  Wrap the shrimp paste in a small piece of foil and cook under a hot grill for 3 minutes, turning the package twice.

4.  Place the ground spices, shrimp paste, nutmeg and chilis in a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and process for 20 seconds at a time, until a smooth paste is formed.



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