This past week, I prepared yet another "first" in the kitchen. I cooked tofu, something I'd never done before. In fact, I've only eaten tofu about three times total; this Green Curry with Bok Choy was the third. It's definitely not as scary as I thought it would be; in fact, it's actually pretty pleasant! It's especially good in dishes like this curry, since it just assumes the flavor of whatever it is in. This curry is packed with great, exotic flavor.
The "green" parts of this curry are plentiful. There's fresh broccoli and bok choy in this recipe, along with a heaping helping of fresh cilantro and a couple of serrano peppers. The cilantro and peppers are added to a few other ingredients and processed until they form a smooth paste. This paste becomes the base for the sauce of the dish. More green components, such as Kaffir lime leaves, basil, and mint are added as aromatics, making the dish smell heavenly and taste just as great. I wish that I had Kaffir lime at the time that I made this; I can see how it would have enhanced the dish so much more. It was still wonderful, but the lime leaves would probably have taken it over the top.
The tofu is cut into cubes and added to the sauce to simmer. A can of coconut milk (light, since this is a Cooking Light dish), fresh lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil round out the sauce, and after a brief thickening period, the pre-cooked veggies are thrown in to warm through. The curry is served on top of rice, and garnished with the basil and mint. I loved the ease of preparation here; the whole thing maybe took me half an hour. I couldn't tell you for sure, since I made this in different steps throughout the day, but each step was quick and simple. The dish tasted fresh, flavorful, slightly spicy, and just interesting enough to be deemed fancy. We really loved it. It just goes to show you that a fast dinner with a global flair really can be thrown together in the comfort of your own home!
Green Curry with Bok Choy
adapted from Cooking Light
makes 4 servings
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. chopped, peeled fresh ginger
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground cumin
8 garlic cloves, peeled
3 small serrano chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 large shallots, coarsely chopped (I used 1/2 an onion)
4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli florets (about 1 head)
2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) slices baby bok choy
2 tsp. dark sesame oil
4 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 Kaffir lime leaves (I omitted)
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 (14-ounce) package water-packed organic firm tofu, drained and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups hot, cooked, long-grain white rice (I used brown jasmine rice)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint (I omitted)
1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
2. Cook broccoli florets in boiling water in a Dutch oven for 3 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from water with a slotted spoon; drain and rinse with cold water. Return water to a boil. Add baby bok choy to Dutch oven; cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.
3. Drain water from Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add cilantro mixture to pan; saute 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sugar and next 4 ingredients (through coconut milk) to pan; bring to a boil. Add tofu; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until slightly thick. Add broccoli, bok choy, and juice; cook 1 minute or until heated through, tossing to combine. Discard lime leaves (if using). Place 1/2 cup rice in each of four bowls; spoon 1 1/2 cups tofu mixture over each serving. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. basil and 1 1/2 tsp. mint over each serving.