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Tuesday 25 June 2013

Sluttishly Vegan: Thai Jungle Curry

There's been a lot of "how do these people live to 110?" stories in the news, a lot of "they eat a lot of grains, tofu and squid" conclusions, and a lot of furious "there's no WAY I'm eating tofu" comments. Tofu gets a bad press for being bland, joyless and squishy. It honestly doesn't have to be that way. In this recipe, you'll fry it to give it a crispy outside and then let it soak up all the delicious curry flavours. It'll be crunchy on the outside, light on the inside, and packed full of spice.

Thai jungle curry is less creamy than other Thai curries and the spices are fiercer because there's no coconut cream. It originates from a northern part of Thailand where there weren't any coconut trees. Often very spicy - apparently it's traditionally made with 60 chillis - you can add as many chillis as you like. I've gone for a conservative two, because I enjoy tasting other flavours and retaining the use of my tongue. We are not doing a Man Vs Food challenge. We are simply having our tea.

Still not convinced by tofu? Then if you're a meat-eater, replace it with pork, chicken or even wild boar, which were used in the original recipe.

Thai Jungle Curry (serves 2)
You will need:

For the paste:
  • 2 birds eye chillis, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 shallots (or half an onion), chopped
  • 5cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
For the curry:
  • Block of firm tofu, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
  • 2 handfuls of vegetables (mushrooms, carrots, green beans, bamboo shoots - anything that cooks quickly)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, crushed
  • 3-4 lime leaves (don't worry if you can't find any, but they'll make it taste amazing)
  • Small handful of coriander leaves, chopped
Make it!
  1. Start by making the curry paste, by either blitzing or bashing together the ingredients. If you really can't be bothered then just finely chop them and mix them up, but it's more fun to work out your frustration by bashing them in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Heat some oil in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat, and gently fry the tofu for a few minutes until crispy. Remove and set aside.
  3. Lower the heat and fry the curry paste for 2-3 minutes until you can smell the aroma. Add a little water to loosen it, then throw in the pepper, vegetables, soy sauce, lemongrass and lime leaves. 
  4. Add more water to reach the consistency you want, then simmer until the ingredients are nearly cooked. Add the tofu for the last few minutes.
  5. Serve on a bed of rice, scattering the coriander leaves over the top.


  1. You know I won't be budged on my aversion to tofu but I am totally doing this with chicken.

    And also, I need to buy some fancy chopsticks. I can't use them, but you and Caleigh are both carefully placing them on your bowls and making them look lovely in photos.

    1. *cough* I can't use them either. They were STUNT chopsticks.

  2. I've never tried tofu, maybe this is the recipe to try it with.

    1. Go for it! You can get tofu pieces that have been marinaded in soy sauce, garlic and ginger from Cauldron - they'd be an easy way to start.

  3. Yum! Never had tofu before until now but I'd have it again. Love this blog - thanks DS! xx


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