Veganized Green Curry
My vegan take on Thai Green Curry
One of my favorite dishes to get at a Thai restaurant is duck green curry. The crispy barbeque duck skin melts as it hits your mouth and the nice green broth is flavorful and light. I love this dish so much, I learned how to make it at home. This dish can be eaten with a steaming cup of rice or by itself as a soup. It is super delicious. And if you haven’t try this dish, make sure to order it next time you are at a Thai restaurant.
Unfortunately, whenever I make duck green curry, I am always in a rush and never got a chance to share this recipe. Today, I have for you a different version. This is my take on a vegan Thai green curry. Although it might not sounds as tasty as the duck version, the broth is just as flavorful, and the vegetables are a complement to your healthy diet.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did, cooking and tasting it.
- ¼ cup of fresh spinach (optional)
- 2 ½ cup of coconut milk
- 1 tbsp of canola oil
- 3 tbsp of green curry paste (make sure it is Vegan!)
- 3 tbsp of palm sugar
- 3 ½ tbsp of tamari soy sauce
- 2 dried bay leaves (optional)
- 1 small onion
- 1 small red bell peppers (green and yellow ones work too)
- ½ cup of green beans
- 1 small eggplants or ½ of a large one
- 1 pkg. of extra firm tofu
Usually palm sugars come in blocks of different shapes and sizes. They also come in liquid, but the liquid version has some preservatives. This is why I prefer to get the cubes version.
Cut your palm sugar block into tiny pieces. This helps them dissolve faster in the broth. If you are too lazy and don’t feel like it, you can definitely skip this step. However, you might have to wait a longer for them to dissolve. If you do decided to use them as is, make sure to constantly stir your broth. This will help them dissolve a little faster.
Cut your red bell peppers into long strip and tofu into cubes. For the green beans, make sure to trim the ends if they weren’t trimmed yet. Cut the extra longs green beans into half. Thinly slice the onion.
For the eggplants, you want to slice them into about ¼” thick circle. Sprinkle on some salt and let the salt extract out all the bitterness from the eggplants. This takes about 5–10 minutes. Once you start to see droplet of water coming out, remove the water droplets with a paper towel. Cut them into long ½” thick long strip. This will help them from being overcook. If you are using Japanese eggplant, you don’t have to extract out the bitterness with salt.
If you are not familiar with eggplants, here is a quick lesson for you. There are a varieties of eggplants out there. The two types I am familiar with is Japanese eggplant and American eggplant. Japanese eggplants are the one that is skinny and super long. You can find this type at the asian groceries. They are a lot sweeter and less bitter. In most american groceries, you will find the American eggplants. These are 3x the size of the Japanese eggplant width. They are a lot bigger and has a bitter taste. When you use this, you have to use salt to extract out some of their bitterness.
Did you know that eggplants come in female and male version. The female is more bitter than the male, so make sure to pick out the male version. The female eggplants are more bitter because they have more seeds. The male eggplants have less seeds, so they are less better. To learn how to pick a male version out, go here.
First, add spinach and coconut milk into a blender. Blend it up until it is smooth and there is no more spinach chunks. This process will create that nice vibrant green curry color that can be found in restaurant curry. Traditionally, curry paste are made fresh, so this step was not necessary. However, since we are using a pre-made curry paste, this trick helps bring back the green color. If you don’t mind what the color of the broth looks like, then feel free to skip this step.
Into a stock pot, add the oil, curry paste, and bay leaves and stir into it is fragrance. The bay leave is optional, but adding it helps bring out a nice curry aroma. Pour in the milk and spinach mixture. Add the palm sugar and bring the broth to a boil. Season with tamari soy sauce. Taste it and reseason it to your taste and liking.
Add onion and bell peppers. Wait about 5 minutes or until the onion and bell peppers are cooked, before adding in the eggplants. Cook until the eggplants soften. Once the eggplants softened, add in the tofu. Bring the soup back to a boil.
Serve over a cup of cooked rice or enjoy it alone as a soup. You can garnish it with some fresh thinly slice basil or thai basil leaves.
You are probably wondering if I am vegan. Sadly, I am not, but what inspired me to make this dish was an Instructable contest. I really enjoy mini cooking contest. When I saw that they have a vegan contest during this cold winter, I figured, why not take on the challenge. I have to say, being vegan is hard. I tried it, but I guess I love meat dishes too much, I couldn’t last longer than a week. Although, I did enjoyed eating vegan chicken nuggets from Trader Joe’s. They are so good, I still eat it today.
This winter has been so cold, that all I want to eat is soup. I want to wrap my hands around a hot bowl of soup and sip in the warm broth. As the delicious broth goes down your throat, it warms up your body and make you feel so warm and comfortable. I guess you can say, soup is one of my comfort type of food.
As I skimmed through all the recipes posted for this contest, I didn’t see any soup dishes. They were mostly baked goods. Although they are good, I want a real dish. Yep, I sure did joined the vegan contest. I was so excited about it, but was worried I won’t have enough time to develop, write, and publish a recipe. I quickly jotted down my ideas, ran to the store the next day and tested it out for dinner. As it turned out, the broth was just as flavorful as my duck green curry and the vegetables were delicious. Although, I have to say I do missed the crispy duck.
Tips and Tricks
- You can use any type of sugar, but try to avoid brown sugar. Brown sugar will add a brown color to our broth. We do not want that. It called green curry for a reason. Palm sugar is a type of sugar that is made from coconut tree samp. It has a rich and coconut flavor. This type of sugar is commonly used in Thai cuisine.
- Yes you can subst. the tamari sauce with soy sauce. However, traditionally green curry is seasoned with fish sauce and tamari had a sourer and richer flavor than normal sauce sauce. I think that tamari soy sauce is more similar to fish sauce than normal soy sauce.
- If you like a creamier broth, used canned coconut milk. In my opinion, the coconut milk, sold in a carton (locate next to the other types of milk) is not as creamy as canned coconut milk. You can definitely use half coconut cream and half coconut milk for a richer super creamy flavor.
- All vegetables used for this recipes can be substituted with any of your favorite ones. Keep the eggplants though. That is my most favorite part of this dish. Trust me, you will think the same.
- When choosing a curry paste, make sure to read the ingredient. Most green curry paste are made with shrimp paste, which make it not vegan. The brand Thai, available at Target and on Amazon, has a vegan green curry.
- Make sure to adjust the seasoning amount to your taste. Different brands make their curry paste differently. Some are saltier than other.