Let’s talk about how awesome it is to eat vegetables that taste like cash money.
I mean, not literally, just in the way of, like, you know, when it tastes like, really good, like something that might cost you a lot of cash money, or has the same positive association of money, not that money is everything but, like… gah. You know what I mean.
Have you started school again? Or your kids? O your kids’ kids? Or you’re the teacher? Or you work from home and you’re looking out the window to borrow some back-to-school vibes from the kiddos in backpacks walking to the bus? Back-to-school is upon us all. See also: OH. MY. GOSH.
It sounds so basic to say that I can’t believe that it’s already that time of year – probably because it IS so basic. It’s what I say every season, every year. But with the upheaval and constant grief of this last year, time just feels especially weird. Like it’s been both too slow and too fast all at once. But as usual, time ticks on, and that is, I guess, is how you find yourself staring down the completed ravaged back-to-school section at Target wondering why the pencils are already out because didn’t summer just start? Here we go again.
I’m making it sound like this is a bad thing, but I actually adore everything about the fall season. As a former teacher, I think I will always have a little bit of that super zealous back-to-school spirit running through my veins. At top of my list of things I love about fall is really, really good food. Like, comforting, cozy, wrapped in a sweater kind of good food. Think ancho turkey chili and cornbread after the first week of school. Carnitas and magic green sauce on game day. Detox lentil soup and no-knead bread for your first official on-time dinner in months.
And think curry.
Green curry. Green curry with some weirdo stuff in it (tofu? golden raisins? sweet potatoes?) that is going to make you feel like you won both the nutritional and yumo-food olympics.
At its core, this is just a playful, easy five-ingredient recipe:
- Tofu, browned to crispiness – no more, no less
- Sweet potato chunks
- Broccoli florets
- Coconut milk
- Green curry paste
I added a handful of golden raisins (go on and get wild) and cilantro (WHEN IN DOUBT OBVI) and did not regret either of those very out-of-the-box decisions.
May I also recommend finishing it up salt bae style with a hit of 1) fish sauce, which will make you question everything you ever knew, and 2) brown sugar? Tell me about it, girl.
I thought about making my own green curry paste, but friends, in my googling, I read that many Thai cooks think it’s better to just buy the commercial jarred curry paste than to make your own if you’re going to be making substitutions. Hello. Hi. Good news! Savin’ me some work. And hopefully makes it taste more authentic, according to the internet. I can do that. I can buy up a jar of green curry paste and cook up some curry magic with it.
Words about store bought green curry paste: I used Thai Kitchen green curry paste and found it to be might tasty in this curry. To be fair, I wouldn’t describe the paste itself as write-home level good, but it works for making a green curry real nice and quick with a single, list-less trip to a single, basic grocery store. This is an automatic win. However. Upon further research, I found that many people recommend Mae Ploy brand green curry paste. Any users who can confirm? Leave a comment, you neighborhood curry paste experts.
So for the making of the first 5+ batches of green curry in my life, I used Thai Kitchen green curry paste. But I have, in the last two days, ordered my first little container of Mae Ploy green curry paste – thank you Amazon! – and I will soon get to the bottom of this.
Is Mae Ploy really so much better? Will my green curry go up five hundred percent in deliciousness? Time will tell. (I’ll pop back with an update.)
So here we have it: the first, back-to-school, easy and comfy-cozy recipe of fall.
If steamy rice + creamy green curry + a deep, huggable bowl = fall, I swear I am so ready.
Update 1: As promised, I tried Mae Ploy brand green curry paste and really enjoyed it. However, it is MUCH, much spicier than the one I used in this recipe (Thai Kitchen). If you use Mae Ploy, I would suggest using more like 1-2 tablespoons to start and adding up based on what level of heat you’re comfortable with.
Update 2: I’ve gotten a few comments from people who are wanting to use less coconut milk. That’s totally fine! You could use just one can of coconut milk, for example, and thin the rest out with water or broth of some sort. It is just the difference between a thick and creamy curry (how I like it) or more of a brothy, soupy curry. To be honest, green curry that I’ve had at restaurants is usually soupy, but in making this recipe, I kinda wanted it to stay rich and creamy like a Panang or Massaman curry.
5-Ingredient Green Curry! packed with tons of veggies, an easy green curry sauce, and finished with golden raisins and cilantro.
For the Green Curry:
- 12 ounces firm tofu
- a swish of olive oil + a sprinkle of salt
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4 tablespoons green curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen which can be ordered on Amazon and also often found in the Asian section of many mainstream grocery stores)
- 3 14-ounce cans coconut milk
- 3-or-so cups broccoli florets
- a handful of chopped fresh cilantro
- a handful of golden raisins
- just a lil fish sauce (trust me!) and brown sugar to taste
- Tofu: Press the tofu with paper towels to remove water. Cut tofu into cubes. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the tofu, sprinkle with salt, and pan fry for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
- Veggies: Add sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and curry paste to the soup pot. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until potatoes are fork-tender. Add broccoli and tofu. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until broccoli is bright green.
- Finishing it off: I like to add a handful of golden raisins and cilantro (I know, I know, lots of levels of weird going on here) and I pinky promise that a quick swish of fish sauce and a sprinkle of brown sugar will take this over the top.
Serve over steamy white rice! But hopefully that’s obvious.
Swap tofu for another protein if you like chicken, shrimp, etc.
If you need this to be 100% vegan, then you will need to check your curry paste label! Many use shrimp paste or other fish products in the paste itself.
Sometimes I make this with two cans of coconut milk, maybe thinned out with some water, and sometimes with three when I want it thick and creamy. It just depends on how much extra “sauce” I want with it and what texture you want the sauce to be.
IF USING MAE PLOY OR MAESRI BRAND CURRY PASTE, USE LESS! I love spicy food, but when we tried it with Mae Ploy I just about burned my mouth off. Start with 1 tablespoon and work up from there. However, Thai Kitchen brand is much milder and 4 tablespoons is the right amount for that one.
Nutrition information is for the green curry only. It does not include rice.
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