Gracious Vegan Green or Red Thai Curry

By the Gracious Vegan

This recipe started out based on Terry Hope Romero’s It’s Easy Being Green Curry but it's come a long way. I have lately been trying to eliminate coconut milk from my cooking, and Thai curries are a major target. The combination of raw cashews and coconut extract do the trick here--no sacrifice of taste or creaminess. You save a lot of saturated fat (a whopping 12 grams per serving), which should help if you're concerned about your cholesterol levels. The kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil, and Thai thin soy sauce do make a difference in the flavor, so it's worth the effort to find them at a specialty Asian grocery store (and you can freeze the kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil you don't use the first time and use them in later batches). I like Maesri brand of curry pastes (they are vegan, taste great, and are not too spicy).  

Serves 3-4

Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (You can skip this step if you have a high-speed blender.)

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews

Drain and rinse the cashews (if you soaked them) and combine with the following ingredients in the blender. Blend until the cashews are dissolved (from 30 seconds to several minutes). Set aside. 

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or 2 pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon of Thai thin soy sauce or more to taste

In a Dutch oven or other large pan, water-sauté the peppers in 2 Tablespoons water, until the strips start to get tender, about 5 minutes.

  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced into 1/2 inch wide strips

Add the curry paste and lime leaves into the peppers and stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula on low for 3-5 minutes so that the curry paste cooks a bit. Add a little water if it begins to burn.

  • 3-4 (or more) Tablespoons of your favorite green or red curry paste
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or frozen, or the peel from 1 organic lime

Stir in the following ingredients, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, uncovered, until vegetables are tender but still have a little bit of firmness to them. Add a little more water if the sauce is too thick; cook a bit longer if the sauce is too thin.

  • The cashew mixture
  • 8 ounces baked or fried tofu sliced into 1/4 inch thin strips
  • 2 small, slender zucchini, sliced into ½ inch wide strips
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed Thai basil leaves, thinly sliced

Remove from heat and add

  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract 

Taste and season with more soy sauce or lime juice if desired and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with hot rice and garnish with cilantro.

  • Boiled brown or white jasmine rice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Timing: About 40 minutes (assuming you cook the rice in parallel to making the curry)

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed (if you use dates instead of brown sugar)

Gluten-free

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