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Vietnamese Vegetarian Curry

Posted Feb 21 2009 11:40pm

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Vietnamese vegetarian food is so good - Buddhist temples, for example, definitely have the best of it, in my opinion.  You can always look forward to some kind of salad of tender bamboo shoots or lotus root; pressed, marinated tofu in soy glaze; vegetarian spring rolls; and some type of cool, coconut and fruit dessert.  One of my favorites is a vegetarian curry loaded with sweet potatoes, tofu, carrots, and mushrooms.  Purple Okinawan sweet potatoes (abundant here in Hawaii, also called khoai lan in Vietnam, or ube in the Phillipines) add color and a depth of flavor.  Unlike many curries that heavily rely on coconut milk, I use only a cup here (compared to using 4 cups I see in many recipes - too much fat!).  The result is a light and very flavorful curry that is abundant with veggies and tofu.  If you love curry (like me!), you should definitely try this one!

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Purple Okinawan sweet potatoes

Vietnamese Vegetarian Curry

Serves 6-8

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp chili oil, optional

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3 pieces and bruised

1 block (12 oz) extra-firm tofu, cubed

1 tray (8 oz) button mushrooms, whole

1 medium-large sweet potato or yam (about 1 lb), peeled and cubed

2 small purple Okinawan sweet potatoes (about 3/4 lb), peeled and cubed

1 cup baby carrots

2 1/2 Tbsp Madras curry powder

1 or 2 dried red chilies, soaked in water and sliced (get rid of the seeds unless you like it really spicy)

2 kaffir lime leaves

1 cup coconut milk

2 cups water (you can omit the water and just add 4 cups of vegetable broth if you wish)

2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth, if you don’t mind that it’s not completely vegetarian)

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste

1 cup Thai basil leaves, torn (optional - can use cilantro if you want)

1.  In a large 4-6 qt soup pot over med-high heat, add the vegetable oil and chili oil.  When the oil is heated, add the garlic and lemongrass.  Sautee for 2 minutes, then add the tofu cubes and mushrooms.  Fry for about 2-3 minutes each side, until lightly browned.  Transfer mushrooms and tofu to a separate bowl.

2.  If needed, add a little more oil to the pot.  Add the sweet potato or yam, purple potatoes, and carrots.  Fry for about 6-7 minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned.  Add the tofu and mushrooms back into the pot, and then add the curry powder.  Stir all ingredients until the curry powder is incorporated, and add the red chilies and lime leaves.

3.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the coconut milk, water, and broth (or omit the water and double the amount of broth) to the pot.  Add soy sauce, and bring to a light boil.  Adjust the taste by adding sea salt or extra soy sauce to your liking.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the curry for about 25-30 minutes, uncovered.

4.  To serve, ladle the curry into shallow bowls, and top with torn Thai basil leaves.

Nutrition Facts, using 6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups curry each: 313 calories, 15 g fat, 38.5 g carbohydrates, 9.5 grams protein.

img_14401

Vietnamese vegetarian food is so good - Buddhist temples, for example, definitely have the best of it, in my opinion.  You can always look forward to some kind of salad of tender bamboo shoots or lotus root; pressed, marinated tofu in soy glaze; vegetarian spring rolls; and some type of cool, coconut and fruit dessert.  One of my favorites is a vegetarian curry loaded with sweet potatoes, tofu, carrots, and mushrooms.  Purple Okinawan sweet potatoes (abundant here in Hawaii, also called khoai lan in Vietnam, or ube in the Phillipines) add color and a depth of flavor.  Unlike many curries that heavily rely on coconut milk, I use only a cup here (compared to using 4 cups I see in many recipes - too much fat!).  The result is a light and very flavorful curry that is abundant with veggies and tofu.  If you love curry (like me!), you should definitely try this one!

img_1433

Purple Okinawan sweet potatoes

Vietnamese Vegetarian Curry

Serves 6-8

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp chili oil, optional

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3 pieces and bruised

1 block (12 oz) extra-firm tofu, cubed

1 tray (8 oz) button mushrooms, whole

1 medium-large sweet potato or yam (about 1 lb), peeled and cubed

2 small purple Okinawan sweet potatoes (about 3/4 lb), peeled and cubed

1 cup baby carrots

2 1/2 Tbsp Madras curry powder

1 or 2 dried red chilies, soaked in water and sliced (get rid of the seeds unless you like it really spicy)

2 kaffir lime leaves

1 cup coconut milk

2 cups water (you can omit the water and just add 4 cups of vegetable broth if you wish)

2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth, if you don’t mind that it’s not completely vegetarian)

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste

1 cup Thai basil leaves, torn (optional - can use cilantro if you want)

1.  In a large 4-6 qt soup pot over med-high heat, add the vegetable oil and chili oil.  When the oil is heated, add the garlic and lemongrass.  Sautee for 2 minutes, then add the tofu cubes and mushrooms.  Fry for about 2-3 minutes each side, until lightly browned.  Transfer mushrooms and tofu to a separate bowl.

2.  If needed, add a little more oil to the pot.  Add the sweet potato or yam, purple potatoes, and carrots.  Fry for about 6-7 minutes, until potatoes are lightly browned.  Add the tofu and mushrooms back into the pot, and then add the curry powder.  Stir all ingredients until the curry powder is incorporated, and add the red chilies and lime leaves.

3.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the coconut milk, water, and broth (or omit the water and double the amount of broth) to the pot.  Add soy sauce, and bring to a light boil.  Adjust the taste by adding sea salt or extra soy sauce to your liking.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the curry for about 25-30 minutes, uncovered.

4.  To serve, ladle the curry into shallow bowls, and top with torn Thai basil leaves.

Nutrition Facts, using 6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups curry each: 313 calories, 15 g fat, 38.5 g carbohydrates, 9.5 grams protein.

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