Tofu Panang Curry

5 Oct

I’ve been having cravings up the wazoo lately. Everything from pizza and burgers to dumplings (soup dumplings!) and curry, from fresh pasta with a buttery sauce to a giant burrito packed with beans rice guac and cheese. From pancakes to French Toast to ice cream and a brownie. I want it all.

I don’t go out to eat very often. I like to make my own breakfasts and lunches. I work in a restaurant at night where they feed me dinner. And on my days off I just want to cook something homemade and hearty.

This Panang Curry really hit the spot for me today. I made it for myself for lunch, my roomies will eat some for dinner, and there will still be enough for leftovers tomorrow and the next day.

The curry is filled with dark green kale, bright orange sweet potato, and soft lean tofu. Fresh ginger and garlic and some spices give this curry a lovely flavor balance of tangy spicy and smooth. Garnished with lime and cashews for a crunchy top-note and spooned over protein-packed quinoa.

As the weather is turning to fall, this curry is the perfect way to warm your body up and keep your spirits high with all the colors and texture and good-for-you nutrients. And leftovers make it so easy to just reheat and not have to worry about cooking for the next few days.

Meat-eaters, gluten-free goers, vegans, vegetarians, and locavores will all delight in the Thai-inspired stew. Now give yourself a pat on the back and serve this up for dinner tonight.


adapted from Chole Coscarelli

*I find it useful to have all my ingredients chopped, measured out, and ready to go before I start cooking

**Also, feel free to sub out the sweet potato for some winter squash, the kale for chard or collards or spinach, feel free to add cauliflower or bok choy, tempeh instead of tofu…


1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely minced/chopped fresh ginger (peel with a spoon and grate on your microplane, or just chop by hand)

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste (just look near the isle where you buy the soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc.)

1 1/2 cups water

1 14-oz can coconut milk

zest of 1 lime

2 tablespoons brown sugar (or maple syrup)

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 14-oz pkg of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes

1 bunch of kale, cut off the stem and torn into pieces

juice of 1 small lime

1/2 cup roasted cashews (I have used those Chili Lime Cashews from Trader Joe’s in this curry before, SO GOOD!)


(If making a grain, start cooking your rice or quinoa first so that it will be ready around the same time as your curry.)

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and let cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in peanut butter, turmeric, cumin, and curry paste and let cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Whisk in water, coconut milk, lime zest, brown sugar, and salt until combined. Add tofu, sweet potato, and kale, and bring to a boil. Let simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Stir in lime juice and adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with cashews and serve over rice or quinoa.


11 Responses to “Tofu Panang Curry”

  1. Janet October 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    Sorry,that’s not my cup of soup,, !! I love the blog, but not the one today. Love JR

  2. alana October 14, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    I actually made this tonight. Subbed peanut oil for canola, and green curry paste for red because that’s what the co-op had. Cut the sweet potato up on the smaller side, took no time at all for them to cook. And the kale was soft/not chewy enough for my jaw, which is awesome. I would have liked more heat, I think, but I did go back for seconds.

    • figsinmybelly October 19, 2011 at 3:35 am #

      So glad you enjoyed the curry! And weren’t you the one who never liked spicy? Haha Are you still making seitan? See you this weekend!!

      • alana November 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

        I actually thought this wasn’t spicy at all–I’m going to cut down the sugar when I make it again (i.e. tonight) and maybe add some red pepper flakes or something.

  3. Koo October 19, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    I am a nyc chef. I tried this recipe and loved it. Yum! Bravo FIMB!

    • figsinmybelly October 19, 2011 at 3:42 am #

      Ah yay can’t wait to hear your critiques tomorrow Mr. Chef.


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