A couple years ago, I went with friends to eat at Veggie Planet, a restaurant in Cambridge, Mass. While I was there, I had a Thai pizza with tofu and broccoli on it. It was good but I didn't really eat the crust and enjoyed it more as just a main dish.
Tonight we decided to try the non-pizza version of the dish, which is printed in Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons, who also owns the restaurant. I've put off trying this recipe for a long time so it was nice to finally get around to it. And WOW it was great! It was even better than I remembered from the restaurant. The rice was cooked so beautifully perfectly, the tofu was nicely browned, and the lime-peanut sauce was delicious (even though I used lime zest rather than kaffir lime leaves). This is a definite make-again!!!
Thai Tofu with Red Curry Sauce Over Coconut-Scallion Rice
Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons, page 215
10 dried kaffir lime leaves, or 1 1/2 tsp grated lime rind
1 1/4 cups (10 oz) coconut milk
2 3/4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups jasmine, basmati, or long-grain white rice
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, cut in half
1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
1 Tbsp Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce, or 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup canola oil or corn oil
3 Tbsp hot chile sauce, or 2 Tbsp chile paste
1 16 oz pkg firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into small pieces (about 4 cups)
1 cup minced scallions
1. Soak the kaffir lime leaves in 1 quart very hot water for 30 minutes.
2. While the leaves soak, bring the coconut milk, 2 1/4 cups of the water, and the 1 tsp salt to a boil, then add the rice. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Let the rice cook, covered, for 25 minutes.
3. Drain the lime leaves, and, with a very sharp knife, chop them into pea-sized pieces. In a food processor or blender, combine the lime leaves (or lime rind), 2/3 cup chopped cilantro, garlic cloves, and the peanuts. Run the machine in spurts until the lime leaves are pulverized, pushing them down with a rubber spatula if necessary. Slowly, with the machine running, add the fish sauce and 3 Tbsp of the oil, then add the chile sauce or paste. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.
4. Into a wok or nonstick skillet, over high heat, pour the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil. Add the tofu, and cook until the pieces form a golden crust on the bottom. Then turn them with a spatula, and let the tofu form more golden crust on the other side. Transfer tofu to a place.
5. Into the same wok or skillet, put the broccoli and the remaining 1/2 cup water. Cover, and steam the broccoli for 2 minutes. Stir in the lime leaf-peanut paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the tofu and toss.
6. Stir the scallions into the rice. Mound the rice on plates, and spoon the tofu and sauce around it. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro, and serve.
Yield: 4 servings