Tofu in Banana Curry

Here is the vegetarian variation on the Tilapia in banana curry. This portion of tofu that I’ve suggested here assumes that you are making this recipe for 4 people. You can adjust the amount of tofu, accordingly, to make the number of portions you need if, like me, you are usually making a mix of vegetarian and carnivore portions.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 large banana, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons of diced carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 cups of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of lemongrass
  • 2 blocks of firm or extra firm tofu
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. Cut the tofu in half lengthwise. Place the halves on a cookie sheet lined with two layers of paper towels. Top the tofu with two more layers of paper towels. Place another cookie sheet on top, and place a 280z can on top to weigh it down (basically you have a tofu sandwich with paper towels and cookie sheets, topped with a heavy can). Leave the tofu to sit for 1 hour. (This one hour can be in parallel with the ~45 minutes of cooking time that the curry requires).
  2. Heat the canola oil and brown the banana halves over high heat for 30 seconds per side.
  3. Chop the bananas coarsely and transfer to a saucepan.
  4. Add the onion, ginger, carrots, celery, curry paste, brown sugar, coconut milk, basil, cilantro, and lemongrass and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and reduce liquid by half, stirring often with a wooden spoon (about 45 minutes).
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  7. When the sauce is finished, transfer it to a blender and pulse until smooth. Return to the saucepan on low heat to keep warm.
  8. Bake the tofu for 10 minutes.
  9. Transfer the tofu to warmed plates and top with banana curry sauce.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. Bananas turn mushy when you saute them, but it’s a necessary step to bring out richer flavors which you want transferred to the curry. They don’t need more than 30 seconds since you’re on high heat, so be careful. Otherwise, you’ll be scraping burned banana mush from your nice pans.
  2. It’s best to heat the pan to high heat before you add the bananas. This way, all 30 seconds are spent sauteing the banana and not wasted waiting for heat in the pan.
  3. Keep stirring the curry every 5 minutes or so. It keeps the heavier ingredients from falling to the bottom of the pan and burning.
  4. This recipe is especially nice when you put some kind of sauteed greens on the plate, top with the tofu, and then top it all with the curry.