ok, ok, i’m finally in. after resisting the turmeric party for fear of turning everything in my kitchen (to say nothing of my closet…) permanently, irrevocably bright yellow, i finally caved. i’m in. turmeric and coconut vegetable curry, here we come.
truly, it was really just the fear of staining all the things that was holding me back. i like the taste of turmeric, i already had 2 jars of it in my spice cabinet, and apparently it has more health benefits than watching squirrels at play chase each other and execute ice capades*-worthy leaps through the air (that last part *may* not be a scientifically validated claim).
anyway, i recently decided to (put on my least favorite shirt and) be really careful to wipe up spills and just make a turmeric curry already. i mean, let’s be clear: our countertops are made of ground up cereal boxes topped with blueish/green plastic (also known as “laminate”). how concerned about yellow stains can i really be? plus, soft scrub. so, onward.
i started off by just throwing a bunch of vegetables and some tofu together with turmeric, two other spices (*occasionally* i do try to keep things simple), and some coconut milk. aaaaand it was amazingly delicious. kind of like this cider glazed chicken with mushrooms and butternut squash where i wished i’d paid more (read: any) attention to what i was doing so that i could, you know, do it again and tell y’all about it.
on take two, i paid closer attention and took notes on quantities, etc. and it was good, but a little bit less spectacular than round one. so i tweaked some more to get us back to the deliciousness of version one.
and now, here we are. delicious turmeric and coconut vegetable curry, which may or may not have all the health benefits ever but at least definitely tastes delicious. and so far the only “casualty” has been a plastic spoon that looks a little more jaundiced than usual. and i’m sure he’ll make a full recovery after a few more spins through the dishwasher.
so, i’d say give this turmeric and coconut vegetable curry a try, but also wear a shirt that is not your favorite and wipe up spills quickly, especially if you actually like your countertops (or just don’t want them to look any worse).
*apparently the ice capades went out of business in 1995. i had no idea. whiiiich means i’ve been making hopelessly out-of-date references for about 20 years now. nothing new there though…
- 10 ½ oz. (1 ½ cups / 297 g.) brown basmati rice
- 14 oz. (397 g.) extra firm tofu
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- half of a small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¾” (2 cm) cubes
- 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- half of a medium size head of cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
- half of a red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- half of a green bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, see notes
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, see notes
- 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded or not, depending on how hot you want the curry
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 13.5 oz. (399 ml) reduced fat coconut milk, shaken vigorously before opening
- zest of half a lime
- juice of half a lime
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- cook rice according to package directions.
- slice the tofu in half from long edge to long edge so that you have 2 flat planks, like oversized decks of cards. to press out excess water: place a few layers of paper towel on a large plate or cutting board, spread the tofu out in a single layer, put a few more layers of paper towel, then weigh the tofu down with a heavy pan or a cutting board with a few cans on top. let the tofu press while you prep the other ingredients.
- in a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil. add the butternut squash and sauté the cubes for a few minutes, until they are just beginning to soften on the edges. they don’t need to be cooked all the way through; they just need a head start.
- add the onion, cauliflower, and bell peppers. stir occasionally and sauté for a few minutes, until the onions and peppers are softened and the cauliflower and squash are nearly softened.
- while the vegetables are sautéing, heat another large skillet over medium heat with the other two teaspoons of olive oil. cut the tofu into 1” (2.5 cm) cubes. add the tofu to the skillet and use a spatula to turn the tofu cubes over gently so that all sides get covered in oil. sauté for about 15 minutes total, gently turning cubes over occasionally so that different sides of the cubes can turn golden brown. don’t turn the tofu too often as overhandling it will lead to mush.
- when the vegetables are softened, add the grated and minced ginger, garlic, jalapeño, turmeric, coriander, and cardamom. stir constantly for about 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. pour in the coconut milk, including any solid bits that may be stuck in the can. add the sautéed tofu. gently stir everything to combine. simmer for about 3 minutes.
- remove the pan from heat and stir in the lime zest and juice. stir in about half the cilantro, reserving the rest to garnish individual portions.
- serve curry over rice with cilantro on top.
fresh ginger is soooooo much easier to grate when it’s frozen. as soon as i bring it home from the store, i peel it, put it in an airtight container, and pop it in the freezer. then it’s always ready to go – it thaws quickly once grated. a microplane or other very sharp grater also helps.
as with most curries, leftovers are delicious, especially if the rice and curry are stored separately. this recipe could also be made in advance and reheated.