I’ve been meaning to do a non-meat dish for a while lest you all think I’m a complete carnivore. While I do like my proteins, I’m happy to take them in any form. Still waiting to try the fried bugs next time we’re in Bangkok, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!
This dish is not traditional Thai, but rather Thai inspired. I love Thai food and fortunately for me, Southern California has the largest Thai community outside of Thailand. This means that not only do we have fantastic restaurants, but great markets filled with just about anything you would need to make Thai food. At minimum, I always like to keep a few cans of coconut milk, a couple of tins of different curries and some fish sauce in my cabinet.
In Thailand, curry paste is sold fresh in the open markets in big, wet, colorful piles. Here in the US, it’s sold in tiny tins, but in a good Thai market you can find many from which to choose.
As usual, you can leave out any of the vegetables you might not have on hand. You can use any type of Thai curry paste if you don’t like red curry and substitute a different size noodle if you prefer. If you don’t have any Fish Sauce, I highly recommend you get some. On it’s own it’s pretty strong, but as an ingredient in Thai and Vietnamese food, it’s integral. You will know it’s missing. You can’t leave out the coconut milk, sorry. If you want it less or more spicy, add more or less curry paste.
1 pkg firm tofu (14 oz), 1/2″ cubes
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 eggplant, diced, 1″ cubes
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup sugar snap peas
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp Palm Sugar (found in Asian Markets, can substitute brown sugar)
2 Tbsp red curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce (Nuok Mam)
3 Tbsp Canola Oil
5 oz Rice Noodles used for Pad Thai
Heat up a large wok and add 1 Tbsp of Canola oil. Cook the tofu, letting it brown a little. Remove the tofu and set aside on a plate. Add in another Tbsp of oil to the wok and add the red bell pepper, the onion, the eggplant and the carrot. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add in the garlic. Make a little room in the bottom of the pan and add the curry paste. Cook for 1 min. Slowly mix in the coconut milk. Add the chicken stock and bring to a low simmer for 5 min.
At this point, soak the noodles in large bowl of hot water (I use water from a tea kettle) for 5-7 minutes to soften them. Drain and set aside. Don’t do this too far in advance, or the noodles will become a sticky mess.
Back to the curry. Add the palm sugar and the fish sauce. Add in the snap peas and the cooked tofu. Mix in the noodles and serve.