Today’s recipe is a Chinese-style vegan tofu curry!
Even though it’s Chinese-style, I should mention that it’s not really a dish from China, but more of a Singapore/Malaysian Chinese dish.
Can’t claim that it’s authentic either because I have simplified it, but it’s still good, and that’s what matters, right? :p
Strangely though, even though for a curry it’s pretty simple, it’s one of the longer recipes on this site! I guess you can’t escape the effort when it comes to curry. Sigh.
Unless you cheat and buy pre-made curry paste, which I actually love, but hey, this blog is not just about being lazy, it’s also about being cheap! And those curry pastes aren’t cheap enough for me :/
Sorry – broke college student here 🙁 Can’t help it.
Here, I used a basic chilli paste consisting of just chilli, ginger and garlic. Honestly, real chilli paste is a lot more complicated than that. Way more ingredients, way more technique, and way more effort. If done traditionally, it’s even pounded with a mortar and pestle!
Just thinking about it makes me sweat. Lol.
But fret not, this basic chilli paste with the curry leaves, good quality curry powder, and onions, that’s totally good enough. If you reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally want to go all out in the flavour department, you can always add a little bit of bouillon paste.
I know getting curry leaves may be a bit troublesome for some of you, but it definitely does something here. I’ve tried it without the curry leaves and it’s just not quite right. Try your best to get it!
If you have time, let the curry cook until the potato chunks somewhat disintegrate, which helps to thicken the curry. However I am not a woman of much patience when it comes to cooking, so I usually just cook until the potatoes are soft enough :/ I’m a terrible example, I know.
Also, I know this is technically called a tofu curry, but really, you can do whatever you want with it. You can turn this into a vegetable curry! Heck, I almost made this an eggplant curry (because they’re generally amazing in curries!) but nah, I think tofu curry makes more sense. The original, authentic version of this is supposed to be chicken and potato curry, and you know, tofu is more chicken than eggplant is. Lol.
ANYWAY, I’m talking non-stop again -_- Shall save you guys some scrolling and stop typing now.
Hope you enjoy this recipe! 🙂
Vegan + Gluten-Free
Chinese-style Vegan Tofu Curry
Basic Chilli Paste
- 1 tablespoon ginger minced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 red chilli
- 3 sprigs curry leaves
- 1 1/3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 small potato
- 1 small carrot
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 teaspoons coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
Heat a teaspoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan with at least 2 inches in depth. You'll need the lid later as well. Meanwhile, chop tofu into bite-sized blocks.
Fry tofu in the frying pan on medium to high heat. Sprinkle some salt while the tofu is frying to help it brown.
When tofu is done (don't need for it to look perfect since it will be in the curry anyway!), remove from pan and set aside.
Mince red chilli, garlic, and ginger finely. Deseed the chilli if you don't like things too spicy.
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the same frying pan. Throw in the minced chilli, garlic and ginger, as well as the curry leaves and fry it for a few minutes on medium heat.
Meanwhile, slice 1/2 an onion into medium-sized pieces.
Add 2 teaspoons of curry powder and the sliced onions to the frying pan and cook for another few more minutes until they turn translucent and caramelise a little.
As the onions are cooking in the pan, peel the potato and carrot and roughly chop it into pieces. Keep an eye on the pan and don't let the onions burn - add a few spoonfuls of water now and then if needed.
Add the chopped potatoes and carrots into the pan and add about 1 1/2 cup of water, or enough to barely cover the potatoes and carrots. Cover with the lid and let it cook for at least 20 minutes, adding more water in between if necessary.
When you're ready to serve, add the tofu back into the pan, as well as 2 teaspoons of coconut milk. Feel free to add more coconut milk if you prefer.
Salt to taste and serve with rice.
You need a relatively deep frying pan with a lid for this recipe. You can use a saucepan but if it's non-stick, you will need to use more oil.
The amount of coconut milk here is more conservative (as Chinese-style curries aren't very creamy in general) but you can choose to use more if you prefer.
The type of potato is up to you - I prefer starchy ones but honestly, it's a matter of preference!
Feel free to add/remove vegetables here! I think you can even swap out the tofu if you'd like 🙂
For lazy days, you can just not fry the tofu beforehand. You won't get that slight resistance from the "crust" when you bite into it but sometimes we're just lazy :p