Flavourful vegan red curry made from scratch with carefully selected highly aromatic herbs and spices, seasonal vegetables and tofu. This curry is so easy to make and so delicious, you’ll be making it over and over again!
Curries at our place are usually the Mauritian style with somewhat our own spin. For a little change of things last week, I made a red curry, inspired by the Thai red curry with a few twists and personal touch.
This curry was so delicious that we had it for 3 days in a row! So, I thought I’d better write down the curry gravy base ingredients lest I forget the ratio, and start venturing on other curry spice blends!
What gives red curry its rich gorgeous reddish hue are, of course, the red chillies. There are various types of red chillies that you can use and they will all give good results with subtle or bold differences in terms of flavour, heat, as well as colour. If you want great flavour AND a wonderful gorgeous red colour to your curry, I recommend adding a little Kashmiri chilli powder, also known as Kashmiri Mirch, which is a medium-hot chilli powder with a beautiful bright red hue.
I’ve found that different brands, although labelled as Kashmiri chilli/Mirch, have different heat intensity. The one that I use is medium-hot but, depending on your heat tolerance, some may find it rather hot. So, taste the chilli powder first or use it sparingly to start with, then add more as needed.
In this red curry recipe, I am using a combination of mildly hot whole red chillies and medium-hot Kashmiri Mirch. If you can’t find these, you can substitute with cayenne pepper or any other chilli powder or paste.
Authentic Thai red curry very often contains shrimp paste which imparts both complex flavours and additional rich red colour to the sauce. For my version here, I’m replacing the shrimp with kombu broth, which is made simply by boiling a couple of kombu sheets or strips in water. Kombu broth adds so much dimension to the curry. It can also be prepared in advance and kept refrigerated for 3 – 4 days or frozen for longer. But I find the freshly prepared broth to taste far nicer.
Vegan Red Curry with Tofu & Vegetables
The choice of vegetables may vary depending on what you have on hand. I picked up a punnet full of small sunny yellow courgettes/zucchinis in the grocery store this week. Zucchinis are in full season at the moment and at their peak flavour. They are pretty cheap too for a big bunch.
Cauliflower too is comparatively rather inexpensive at the moment with two orange cauliflower heads selling for $4 this week! So, I’ve kept the choice of veggies seasonal for a sunny end-of-Summer curry! You can swap in chickpeas for the tofu as a soy-free option.
To make the curry:
Vegan red curry is fairly easy to make. Vegetables and tofu are sauteed separately and kept aside. The aromatic sauce base mixture all go into a blender before being added to slightly roasted spices in a deep saute pan. Next, the crushed tomatoes are added and simmered until reduced. This also allows the tomatoes to take on a deeper colour and more concentrated flavour.
The kombu broth and coconut milk are then added followed by the pre-cooked vegetables and tofu. Seasonings are added at this stage and the curry is gently simmered for about 12-15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through. If you prefer a thicker sauce, increase the heat and quickly evaporate some of the liquid.
Adjust seasonings if needed and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Red curry is best served warm with fragrant boiled rice.
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- 1-2 strips kombu
- 1 cup water, and more for cooking
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil, more if needed for cooking
- 1 medium potato, diced, optional
- 275 g firm tofu, cubed or cut into triangles
- ½ cauliflower head, cut into florets
- 1 medium yellow courgette/zucchini, sliced (green courgette is also good)
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil
- 1½ teaspoon paprika
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon coriander seed powder
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder, or 2 cardamom pods
- 120 ml crushed tomatoes, [½ cup]
- 200 ml coconut milk, [3/4 cup]
- 2 whole kaffir lime leaves, or regular lime/lemon leaves
- 2 - 3 bunches fresh coriander/cilantro
- Salt to taste
- 1 - 2 whole dried red chilli
- ½ teaspoon bright coloured chilli powder, like Kashmiri Mirch
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 lemongrass stalk, (about 10cm/4inches), chopped, see notes for substitute
- 3 kaffir lime leaves, or regular lime/lemon leaves
- 1 thumb-size fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped, substitute with galangal
- Water for blending, about 120 - 200 ml [½ - ¾ cup]
- Place the kombu and water in a small saucepan and simmer with a gentle rolling boil for about 15 minutes. Remove saucepan from the heat and remove the kombu from the water (keep it for other recipes). Save the kombu infused water for later.
- In a saute pan, heat one tablespoon of oil in medium-high temperature. Add the diced potatoes and saute while stirring occasionally until almost cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- If needed, add a little more oil to the same pan and place in the cubed tofu. Sprinkle with a little salt and saute while turning on all sides every now and then, until tofu is golden and crispy on the outside. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Saute the cauliflower florets and courgette/zucchini in the same way, but separately and without salt, until they are half cooked. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Blend all the sauce-mix ingredients together and set aside. If using the lemongrass tea, allow the tea to cool before adding to the blender.
- If the saute pan is deep enough to contain everything, you make continue to make the curry in the same pan.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of oil on medium temperature. Add the paprika, ground cumin, coriander seed powder and cardamom powder or pods. Toss and roast for about 10 seconds.
- Next, add the blended mixture and cook for a few minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and whole kaffir lime leaves, and cook until reduced to a rather thick paste. Add the kombu water followed by the coconut milk. Add more water if needed to make more sauce.
- Toss in all the pre-cooked vegetables and tofu, and the two whole kaffir lime leaves. Stir gently to combine, taking care not to break the tofu.
- Season to taste. Then, simmer covered for about 12 - 15 minutes until all vegetables are cooked through and sauce has thickened.
- Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves/cilantro. Serve warm with fragrant boiled rice.
If you can't find fresh lemongrass stalks, you may substitute with lemongrass tea. Choose 2 good quality lemongrass tea bags and steep in a cup of hot water. Allow the tea to cool before adding to the blender. You may not need a lot more water to blend with the rest of the ingredients in this case.
Link to original recipe - Vegan Red Curry with Tofu and Vegetables - https://veganlovlie.com/vegan-red-curry-tofu-vegetables
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280 Total Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 739mg Carbohydrates: 26g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 8g Protein: 9g