I made a huge batch of this dish the other night and I'm basically living off the leftovers.
The weather here keeps changing from freezing cold to mild but damp (and back) and I feel like I'm always cold and soggy. But bowls full of big chunks of sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, tofu and bright sugar snap peas coated in a thick coconut milk base curry satay sauce and lots of rice noodles are keeping me nice and warm.
My most favourite curry ever is Panang Curry. Probably because it includes peanut butter...oh where I would be without peanut butter? Panang Curry is spicy, sweet, sour and salty and has more of a Thai influence than an Indian one (spoiler alert: Thai food is my favourite!)
I’ve been dreaming of a Panang Curry for a while now, but since it wasn’t a takeout night, and I didn’t have the time (or ingredients) to make a legit homemade version, I improvised, and turned my “curry in a hurry” sauce into a pseudo-Panang sauce thanks to the addition of some peanut satay paste and fresh limes.
What I love best about this dish is how quickly it comes together - and how much multitasking it does. It's a very rustic dish, which means you don’t have to spend a ton of time dicing and slicing. It’s on the table in about 30 minutes and it’s perfect for cold winter nights.
Golden Satay Veggie Curry
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add carrots and sweet potatoes and boil until *just* barely fork-tender (about 6-7 min). Use a slotted spoon to remove veggies and set aside. Toss rice noodles in the already-boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water to prevent noodles from sticking/clumping together.
While the potatoes and carrots are cooking, heat olive oil in a deep pan on medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent (about 5-7 min) Add mushrooms, tofu, zucchini and garlic and continue to cook until just tender (5-7 min). Add potatoes, carrots and spinach and saute until spinach is wilted.
Stir in coconut milk, vegetable broth, curry paste and satay paste and mix to combine. Simmer for 10 min. Add sugar snap peas. Add cornstarch slurry and stir to thicken, about 2-3 minutes. Toss rice noodles in the pan and gently combine.
Divide into bowls, sprinkle with fresh lime juice and serve.
Put down that takeout menu! This Sweet and Sticky Sesame Tofu will blow the doors off anything your local Chinese place makes. (And it's healthier too!)
Now I need to figure out a way not to eat this all before dinnertime...
Sweet and Sticky Sesame Tofu
For the dish:
2 packages extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package cremini mushrooms, sliced (you can use any mushroom really. We prefer cremini)
1 sweet onion, diced
1 each, red, orange and yellow pepper, chopped
1.5 cups diced fresh or canned pineapple
Sautéing liquid of choice (we use vegetable broth, but oil or water or vegan butter are acceptable too)
2 sliced green onions (optional: for garnish)
For the sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine or apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 tsp sriracha (to taste)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 cup water
1 tbsp maple syrup (or agave/brown rice syurp if you prefer)
¼ cup mirin (or white wine)
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp corn starch dissolved in 4 tbsp cold water
1. Lay tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes until tofu is lightly golden. Set aside.
2. In a large sauté pan on medium high, cook onions and mushrooms until onions are translucent and mushrooms begin to darken, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and continue to sauté until mushrooms are dark and peppers soften.
3. In a medium size bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, sriracha, garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, water, maple syrup and mirin.
4. Add tofu, pineapple and sesame seeds to sauté pan. Pour in sauce and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Pour in cornstarch slurry, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Simmer for 2-3 more minutes.
6. Remove from heat and serve on rice. Garnish with sliced green onions and more sesame seeds.
Seriously, you could order a lean corned beef sandwich AND sweet and sour chicken balls at the same time. To six-year-old me, this was brilliant. In some way, it probably led to my current love of taking everyday favourite foods and giving them an international twist.
Ginsburg and Wong hasn’t been around for a very long time, and even if it were there now, grown up, vegan me wouldn’t have much interest in it, but tonight’s dinner reminded me how much fun it is to mix cuisines and create something wonderful. Like my Asian-inspired “chicken” noodle soup.
My littlest one has been sick all week, and hasn’t has much of an appetite, but bow-tie pasta and clear soup are two things she will almost never turn down. And with the weather being what it is (hello Fall in Canada), soup is pretty much on everyone’s mind lately. When I was sick as a kid, Lipton’s chicken noodle soup was my go-to comfort food. That bright yellow broth and slurpy noodles...it was like a hug in a bowl.
An acquaintance recently introduced me to the vegetarian chicken soup base at Bulk Barn (which is 100% accidentally vegan!) and it’s been my number one soup and flavour base ever since. So off I went to make her some vegan ‘chicken’ soup. But I also had some mushrooms, green onions, smoked tofu and ginger lingering in the fridge that needed to be used up. So I grabbed a little soy sauce, hoisin and sriracha and BOOM! Asian ‘chicken soup was born.
It’s like the hugs of my childhood, with a spicy, rich twist.
Quick and Easy
1 package of pasta/noodles, cooked according to package directions
6 cups water
⅓ cup vegetarian chicken soup base (or two cubes of vegan chicken bouillon)
2 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, diced
1 thumb ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetarian hoisin sauce
Sriracha to taste
½ block of smoked tofu, sliced into strips
Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat oil on medium-high heat until shimmering. Add white onion and saute for 5-7 minutes until soft and slightly translucent. Add mushrooms and continue to saute until mushrooms are lightly browned and soft. Add green onion, garlic, ginger and simmer and additional 3 minutes.
Add water, veg soup base, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sriracha. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Add pasta and smoked tofu to pot. Adjust heat level (sriracha) and seasoning (soy or hoisin sauce) to taste. Serve immediately.