To stir-fry successfully, prepare everything before you begin; then cook in batches. Forget the wok and use a skillet large enough to hold a single layer of tofu, which will ensure that your tofu browns and becomes crisp. For a spicier version, you can double the curry paste to 2 teaspoons. Serve with rice noodles or jasmine rice.
Body+Soul, June 2006
Prep Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield Serves 4
1 package (14 ounces) regular tofu, firm or extra-firm, drained
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 bunch Chinese broccoli, stems trimmed
1 small red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup each whole basil, cilantro, and mint leaves
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Cut tofu in half widthwise. Keep the pieces stacked and cut lengthwise into thirds (creates six rectangles), and then cut the tofu horizontally (slicing parallel to work surface) into quarters to create 24 cubes, each about 1 inch. Press the tofu. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, curry paste, and coconut milk until blended; set aside.
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Add the tofu and sear without moving until the cubes have browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn the tofu and sear other side until browned, about 2 minutes more. Turn and sear a third side, again for about 2 minutes. Remove tofu to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat. Add the broccoli, red pepper, 3 tablespoons of water, and salt to taste; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are almost tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Return tofu to the skillet and stir in the sauce. Cook to heat and blend flavors, about 1 minute. Serve immediately, garnishing each portion with basil, cilantro, mint, and peanuts.