Food/ Main Dishes/ Pescetarian/ Vegetarian

Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu

Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu plated

If you’ve been frequenting this recipe for a while, don’t be alarmed by the change in photos. It’s the same recipe—just with a much-needed makeover in the photo + styling department ;)

Of course, in order to re-photograph this recipe, I had to make it again and gosh, I’m so glad I did. I forgot just how flippin’ delicious this creamy and punchy curry is!

This recipe came to fruition a few years ago when I went pescetarian. Initially, we thought that cooking for both pescetarian and omnivore (for my husband) diets would pose an interesting challenge. Fortunately, a lot of dishes we enjoy are flexible and welcome tofu or shrimp instead of chicken, beef, or pork.

This Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu is a perfect example of that.

Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu being served

Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu being eaten

Now that I’ve phased poultry back into my diet things have definitely gotten easier—but when we make this curry, it’s always with crispy tofu. That’s how good it is; nothing beats the way that crispy tofu soaks up all of that yummy and tangy sauce.

I know there are a lot of tofu skeptics out there, but if you cook it properly, it’s magical. Nobody wants to eat a watery sponge, which is essentially what tofu is when you initially unpack it. But taking the right steps to bring it to a golden crisp is life-changing.

And I’m going to tell you how to do it.

How to get crispy tofu.

For years I was pressing my tofu an hour before starting meal prep. It seemed like a legit method — and with a quick toss in some starch and a trip through the air fryer, I always ended up with crispy tofu.

But there’s a new method in town, and it’s chill AF.

Freeze your tofu overnight, then boil it. (Whut?) Yes. Ready for a science lesson?

Frozen tofu

Freezing tofu is fabulous for three reasons: it gives tofu a chewier, meatier texture; it helps tofu suck up marinades; and it stays in good shape if you happen to forget about it after buying it. (Guilty.)

And instead of leaving it out to thaw on its own, just carefully give it a swim in some boiling salted water.

I know that boiling tofu sounds counterproductive when what we’re trying to do is remove the liquid from it. But boiling tofu in salted water pulls the moisture from it, leaving you with the same result from pressing in a fraction of the time. BOOM.

Boiled tofu

Fried tofu

Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu.

Or not with tofu. If you’re reading this and thinking, “Damn, this would be great with this protein… then DO IT. This recipe is super flexible. You can also swap the veggies I’ve used for veggies you’d prefer. I’ve made his with broccoli before and it. was. dynamite.

If you do come up with your own alterations, let me know about it in the comments.

If you make this dish, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme! I love seeing your creations, and you could be featured in my monthly newsletter <3

Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu plated

5 from 6 votes
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Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu

This Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu is super flavorful and extremely flexible. Though this recipe uses crispy tofu, you can swap in any protein from shrimp to chicken.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4
Author Dana Sandonato

Ingredients

  • 16 oz extra firm tofu, cubed and fried to a golden crisp *See instructions below

Optional Tofu Marinade.

  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 TBSP tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP honey or brown sugar
  • 3 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

The Curry.

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper Green bell peppers don't carry the same sweetness as the aforementioned, so it isn't recommended
  • 1 cup thinly sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 3 TBSP red Thai curry paste
  • 13 oz coconut milk
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce (optional; leave out to make this dish vegetarian)
  • 1 TBSP sambal oelek chili sauce More or less, depending on how much heat you want.
  • 1 lime, zest and juice Zest the lime before juicing it.

Garnishes.

  • Ribboned Thai basil
  • Thinly sliced scallions

Instructions

Optional Tofu Marinade.

  1. Toss all of the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Place your tofu in a large freezer bag or sealable container and pour the marinade over top. Cover, give it a light shake, and place in the fridge to marinade for 30-40 minutes.

Crispy Tofu.

  1. Slice an opening in tofu packet, drain, and seal in a plastic bag. Place the tofu in the freezer overnight. About 30 minutes before you want to start dinner, remove the tofu from the freezer and bring a pot of salted water to a boil. (Make sure the pot is large enough so that the tofu brick can be fully submerged.) When the water is boiling, carefully place the tofu in the water and let it boil for 15 minutes. When done, carefully remove the tofu from the water with tongs and place on a plate or cutting board lined with paper towels. Lightly squeeze the block of tofu with paper towels to rid of excess water. Set aside to cool. (If you're marinating the tofu, do this about an hour earlier so you can get a solid 30-40 minutes of marinating time in before cooking.)

  2. Once the tofu has cooled, cut it into 1/2 x 1/2-inch cubes.

  3. Heat a skillet over moderate heat and add 1 TBSP of olive oil. Add the cubed tofu and sear for about five minutes on one side. Give the tofu a few splashed of tamari or soy sauce if you'd like, for extra flavor. (You can add other aromatics to the pan, but add them closer to the end of cooking time. Especially garlic, since garlic will burn and just become bitter.) After five minutes or once the tofu has developed a golden crisp, carefully flip over and crisp up the other side. All in all, this should take about 10 minutes. When your tofu is done, remove from heat, cover to keep warm, and set aside. Then start your curry.

Red Thai Curry.

  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, bring 1/4 cup of water to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the minced onion, garlic, and fresh ginger. Stir to combine, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are translucent.

  2. Add the sliced red bell pepper and mushrooms. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of red curry paste and stir until the veggies are evenly coated.

  3. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, and lime zest. Stir until the curry paste has dissolved into the liquid and there are no clumps. Let the curry simmer for about 15 minutes on low. Don't let it simmer much longer than that, or the liquid will reduce.

  4. If you're serving rice with your curry, start to prepare that now as per the package's instructions.

  5. Once the rice is ready, serve in a bowl and spoon the curry over the rice. Top with crispy tofu and garnish with fresh Thai basil ribbons and sliced scallions.

Recipe Notes

**This recipe used to call for the tofu being tossed in corn starch post-marinade and before frying. You can still do this. If you do, be sure to shake the excess starch off before frying the tofu so you don't end up with clumps. The reason I've omitted this step from the recipe is to simplify it since freezing + boiling the tofu in salt water has proven to bring the tofu to a nice crisp. Marinating it is optional.

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48 Comments

  • Reply
    Vegetarian Chickpea Curry With Coconut Milk | Killing Thyme
    December 3, 2018 at 11:22 am […] Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu […]
  • Reply
    Anne|Craving Something Healthy
    August 18, 2018 at 2:04 am Who knew about that tofu boiling tip?! Can't wait to try it and make this delicious looking curry dish!
  • Reply
    Marie
    August 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm I love the tofu marinade! So flavourful! Plus the the curry sounds so delicious and warming! Perfect to have on a chilly day!
  • Reply
    Taylor Kiser
    August 13, 2018 at 7:39 pm Gorgeous photos! This looks so delicious! Perfect for an easy weeknight dinner!
  • Reply
    Chris Collins
    August 13, 2018 at 6:04 pm I love thai red curry and your version looks absolutely delicious! Can't wait to try it :)
  • Reply
    Allison - Celebrating Sweets
    August 13, 2018 at 5:42 pm This looks so flavorful and delicious! I can't wait to try it!
  • Reply
    Tracy Koslicki
    August 13, 2018 at 5:34 pm Oooh I need to make this for my husband, the tofu skeptic!! LOVE the flavors in this and can't wait to introduce him to a delicious way to cook tofu!!
  • Reply
    Katherine Hackworthy
    August 13, 2018 at 5:32 pm Tofu is such a great ingredient to use, so easy to adapt. The delicious spices are perfect to flavour the tofu, and the overall dish sounds amazing. Also great photos!
  • Reply
    From our Kitchen to Yours – Recipes We Love – Kitchen and Bath Remodeling MN
    July 26, 2018 at 12:18 pm […] Easy Thai Red Curry with Tofu […]
  • Reply
    Linn
    December 12, 2016 at 9:51 pm HI. Thanks for the recipe, but when do you add the lime and lime zest? It's in the ingredient list, but not in the directions. Thanks.
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      December 12, 2016 at 10:01 pm Hi Linn! Sorry about that — and thanks for pointing it out. I'll have to fix it. Add and stir the lime juice + zest at the very end, right before serving!
  • Reply
    Elias
    April 23, 2016 at 12:02 pm Very good, however, the glaze takes much longer than 20 minutes to thicken as directed. I just let it simmmer, simmer and simmer...it finally thickened up. I suspect that perhaps those that tasted too much vinegar did not let it cook off enough. 
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      April 24, 2016 at 10:06 am Hi Elias. There is no glaze or vinegar in this recipe...
      • Reply
        Ally
        February 9, 2018 at 3:04 pm ....i think there is something wrong with this page. i was just following it for a marinade for the tofu which involved rice vinegar and then corn starch to fry the tofu before it is added to the curry. that has disappeared now. im really, really confused because i left this page up as i was taking a break between letting the tofu marinade and making the curry. did you just edit this? if not, there seems to be a very odd glitch in this page.
        • Reply
          Killing Thyme
          February 9, 2018 at 4:28 pm Hi Ally! This *was* just edited this morning and is still being edited. I'm happy to guide you from here, though. Once your tofu has finished marinating, toss it in a bit of corn starch — just enough to coat. Shake off any excess. Heat a skillet with 1-2 TBSP olive oil and fry the tofu until golden crisp. This might take about 10 minutes to get each side. Once done, set aside and add to your curry when it's ready. I'm so sorry this was edited as you were using it — what are the odds? I've had a lot of people contact me about making the tofu bit simpler, which is why I've edited that part. I hope you enjoy it!
        • Reply
          Killing Thyme
          February 9, 2018 at 4:31 pm And yes, you're right. There is rice vinegar in the marinade. The above comment had me confused with the mention of "glaze" and had me thinking they were using regular ol' vinegar and perhaps in the wrong recipe all together, since there is no glaze or vinegar to cook. The vinegar is in the marinade. Not the sauce.
  • Reply
    Henry
    April 15, 2016 at 4:39 am I recently tried this recipe again, but decided to bake the drumsticks at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I used twelve drumsticks, instead of eight, and added some onions (cut into large pieces). The dish was delicious, and the onions became very caramelized! 
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      April 15, 2016 at 11:43 am Hey Henry, I'm really glad you enjoyed this dish and I love your adaptation of using chicken drumsticks! What a great idea. It really puts a different spin on the dish overall. Thanks for your feedback!
  • Reply
    Amy
    March 8, 2016 at 8:39 pm Made this tonight - it's delicious!! Very straightforward Thai curry recipe. Thank you for posting this. Sometimes I get carried away with Thai curry and try to add too many ingredients and it comes out a mess. Your recipe kept me on track and was super delicious. I used pan-fried tofu. I usually press it in a tofu press first, then pan fry on 3-4 sides. I used only 2 T of curry paste since mine is suuuuper spicy (Maesri red Thai curry paste) Added 2 T brown sugar to offset the spiciness - probably a little too much in retrospect I loved this recipe, thank you so much!
    • Reply
      Killing Thyme
      March 8, 2016 at 10:58 pm Hey Amy, thanks for taking the time to comment with feedback! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I know all too well what it's like to get carried away in the kitchen, so I feel ya ;) I really love how straightforward this recipe is, too. It looks and seems complex, but it's a breeze! I should make it again soon...
  • Reply
    Last Minute V-Day Dinners That Will Get You The V - Effort-Lez
    February 12, 2016 at 11:19 am […] Link: https://www.killingthyme.net/2016/01/13/easy-thai-red-curry-with-tofu-or-chicken/ […]
  • Reply
    Revathi Palani
    January 23, 2016 at 7:18 am A big fan of thai curry right here. I love how easy this recipe is and it looks so bright and vibrant. Love it :-)
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 26, 2016 at 9:43 pm Thanks a bunch, Revathi! Thai dishes always look so gorgeous, but this one definitely delivered on the aesthetics. I was pretty jazzed about it!
  • Reply
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens
    January 22, 2016 at 3:33 pm This looks absolutely outstanding! We love curries here at my house, and this version is just gorgeous! Your tofu and chicken options are so wonderful and add a lot of flexibility, which I really appreciate, too. Definitely pinning!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 26, 2016 at 9:42 pm Thanks so much, Shelley! I've definitely forced myself into a position where I have to create dishes that are both pescetarian and omnivore friendly, but it's kind of fun! I have another coming this week - super excited about it. Stay tuned! Thanks for stopping by :)
  • Reply
    Levan
    January 22, 2016 at 2:00 am Look at how the colors of your curry POP!!!! Love it! Thanks for sharing this easy yet tasty Thai curry. I'm hungry now!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 26, 2016 at 9:40 pm Thanks, Levan! I'm so glad this recipe got you hungry - hope you can make and enjoy this soon! It really does taste as bright as it looks. Love Thai cuisine! Very intelligent folks.
  • Reply
    jacquee | i sugar coat it!
    January 21, 2016 at 10:33 am Love curries - red, green and in between - and the two options. Your photos are mouthwatering!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 26, 2016 at 9:39 pm Thanks so much, Jacquee! I feel like I need to play around with green curry a lot more.
  • Reply
    Lokness @ The Missing Lokness
    January 20, 2016 at 5:55 pm My husband and I are always craving for Thai food. We probably spend way too much in Thai restaurants! This looks just perfect. I can't wait to try it!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 26, 2016 at 9:38 pm I know what you mean - I love love love Eastern and Southeastern Asian foods and it just got to the point where I was like, "I need to learn how to make his stuff, or my wallet and waistline are going to start sobbing soon!" I really hope you enjoy this dish :)
  • Reply
    Annie @ Annie's Noms
    January 19, 2016 at 10:32 am It's taken a long time, but I'm finally falling in love with tofu, so this is right up my street! Loving all the flavours you have going on in this!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 19, 2016 at 11:59 am Hey Annie! I know what you mean. It took me a while to realize how delicious tofu can be and how it's all in the prep and the flavors you put with it. I'll be posting another tofu recipe soon - a vegetarian spin on beef and broccoli. It was a total hit last night! Kind of addicted right now and battling with the idea that I can't ~always be posting tofu, haha.
  • Reply
    Easy Thai Red Curry - Yum Goggle
    January 17, 2016 at 7:19 pm […] GET THE RECIPE […]
  • Reply
    Rachel @ Simple Seasonal
    January 17, 2016 at 1:35 pm Looking at all of the wonderful color in the curry is making so hungry!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 19, 2016 at 2:43 pm Hi Rachel! I hear you. Every time I revisit this post I feel the need to make more.
  • Reply
    Kathy Hester
    January 16, 2016 at 8:23 pm Your photos are beautiful! Thai red curry is our favorite and I can'r wait to make a big pot of it!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 19, 2016 at 2:42 pm Thanks so much, Kathy! I hope you love this when you make it. Let me know :)
  • Reply
    Clyde
    January 16, 2016 at 8:19 pm This looks healthy and flavorful. Your pictures are awesome!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 19, 2016 at 2:41 pm Hey Clyde! Thanks so much for the compliment. It definitely is a flavorful dish, and absolutely on the healthy side. A winning combo in my books!
  • Reply
    swayam
    January 16, 2016 at 2:55 pm This looks gorgeous!! Love the color and of course thai red curry is kinda fave :)
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm Thank you! Red curry really is hard to beat - such a warm and spicy depth of flavor.
  • Reply
    Kathi @ Laughing Spaula
    January 15, 2016 at 10:34 am Beautiful photos! I made my first ever curry last week and apparently I went too heavy with the curry and far too spicy for me. Is it always that hot? Have never cooked with it before. 3 tablespoons sounds like it might kill me!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 15, 2016 at 11:32 am Thanks so much, Kathi! Curry should only be as hot as you'd like it. What kind of curry did you buy/use? The curry I used is A Taste of Thai's red curry paste. But there are so many different variations of curry, so you may have been playing with a really spicy one. Here's a link to the one I swear by! (Hope the link works) Give that one a shot - you should be okay :) Let me know!
  • Reply
    Valentina
    January 15, 2016 at 12:36 am Red curries are my absolute favorite! Always a challenge cooking for a few different dietary needs. Bravo! :-)
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 15, 2016 at 11:28 am Thanks, Valentina! Red curry is my absolute fave as well. It's just spiced perfectly. I do want to get more acquainted with green curry. I've only used it once, and it was with peanut butter in a green curry and peanut broccoli soup. It was delicious! But I feel like I need t explore it more.
  • Reply
    Amber | Quite Good Food
    January 14, 2016 at 8:30 pm Wow look at those colours! I love Thai curries too and now I'm dreaming about dinner already (like 2 seconds after finishing my lunch)...!
    • Reply
      danakristen.b@gmail.com
      January 15, 2016 at 11:22 am Haha, you sound like me - craving things after I've just eaten. Nice to know I'm not alone in that. This dish really is super colorful! And it's so easy to throw together. A total guest pleaser. I'm looking forward to making it for guests some day.

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