In my mind, there is no better cuisine than Thai food. I live almost 9,000 miles from Thailand and I’m surrounded by Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and Kraft mac n’ cheese. I grew up on these foods yet I am more than happy to abandon American comfort food for some pad broccoli. Typically, familiar foods from our childhood become our comfort foods. In my case, Thai food will always be my comfort food. Unfortunately, the local Thai restaurants charge around $12-$14 per person. I’m not entirely sure how tofu, rice and vegetables could possibly cause such a expensive bill. It is also hard to tell what sauces are lurking in Thai meals. Many restaurants incorporate oyster sauce, fish sauce, chicken broth, and other meat-friendly liquids. As a result, I have always wanted to make some good Thai food at home.
When it comes to Italian food, it is rather simple. Fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, a little olive oil and you can do no wrong regardless of what you are making. With Thai food, it is a little more complex in my opinion. You can easily miss the mark and end up serving squishy tofu soaked in soy sauce. Yum.
The taste of my most recent attempt at Thai food has brought the local Thai restaurant kitchen into my own home. It is fresh and light. Sweet and spicy. Healthy and nutritious. Ok, technically… it is “somewhat healthy” and “somewhat nutritious” but that’s ok. What is the point of cooking if you can’t indulge occasionally? I’ve always wanted this indulgent Thai dish to be available in my home whenever I crave it. So here it is… The Meal I’ve Spent My Life Searching For:
- 12-14 oz of extra firm tofu
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp red curry paste
- 1 tsp Thai chili garlic paste
- 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, cut into thin slices
- 1 Tbsp ginger and garlic Asian seasoning mix
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 portobello mushroom cap, cleaned with stem and gills removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
- 1 cup baby spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Drain the water from the tofu. Cut the tofu into 1″ x 1″ cubes and broil the pieces in the oven for 3-5 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Flip the pieces roughly half way through broiling to ensure an even color.
2. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or heavy wok. Add the red curry paste, Thai chili garlic paste, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low so that the sauce is simmering.
3. Add the garlic and onion to the skillet or wok. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the Asian seasoning mix, tofu cubes, red bell pepper, and mushroom cap pieces. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
4. Stir in the sugar snap peas, spinach, salt and pepper. Continue stirring items together gently until spinach is slightly wilted. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Yields: 2-3 servings
*I would consider this dish to be “medium” spicy or a 3 out of 5 on the “spicy scale” that many restaurants use. You can certainly turn the “heat” up or down by using more or less of the chili and curry pastes.