Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vegan Grilled Tofu Massaman Curry with Baby Blue Potatoes


A kinder, gentler Thai curry, the Muslim-influenced Massaman is my favorite style of all the coconut milk simmering stews.  There is a subtle, earthy undertone of chiles, spices, and herbs, like the smolder of wet leaves under an autumn fire. It warms without scorching, yet comforts without coddling.

Traditionally prepared with beef or chicken for the observant, the golden pools of sauce nap and lap at slabs of grilled, firm tofu, for those who observe other dietary guidelines. The happy and infrequent find of blue potatoes, no bigger than a thumb tip, provide an oily, musky flavor after a quick pan roasting in coconut oil.

Although this is not a particularly quick meal, it is the slow and steady fire that makes it worth the wait.

Vegan Grilled Tofu Massaman Curry with Baby Blue Potatoes - My own recipe

Servings:  3-4 small-but-filling portions


1 block extra-firm tofu
3 tablespoons culinary-grade coconut oil plus 1 tablespoon for grilling tofu and eggplant
1/2 pound whole new blue potatoes, washed, any tiny blemishes nicked off with tip of sharp knife

1 6-8 inch baby eggplant, sliced into coins of 1/3-inch thick, skins on
1 medium yellow onion, sliced into half moons
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 shallots, sliced into rings
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
2-3 tablespoons prepared Massaman Curry paste (I used Maesri Brand; this is not a sponsored post)

Pulp of 3 very ripe tomatoes
Handful fresh cilantro leaves
Handful crushed, roasted peanuts
Handful bean sprouts

1 cup Thai jasmine rice, uncooked (prepared according to package directions)


Extract water from tofu by wrapping in two layers of paper toweling, then place on cutting board.  Weight tofu down with heavy skillet (cast iron works best) occasionally adjusting the skillet's position as tofu flattens (1 hour).  Slice into rectangles, then optional flat squares.

While tofu is flattening, heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil in large skillet over low heat.  It will thin and shimmer in seconds.  Add potatoes, shaking pan to coat them on all sides with oil.  Increase heat to low-medium, and cover skillet.  Steam-roast potatoes, occasionally shaking them for even heating and to prevent sticking, until they are just fork tender with shriveled skins.  Remove from skillet; set aside in bowl, covered to keep warm. 

Reduce heat to low.  Add onion, pepper, mushrooms, and shallots to skillet.  Stir fry until tender and lightly browned (about 8 minutes).  Add vegetables to bowl of potatoes.

Swirl additional tablespoon oil into skillet.  In batches, brown tofu and eggplant on both sides.  Return all reserved, cooked vegetables to skillet.

In a small bowl, beat curry paste into coconut milk.  Pour over vegetables.  Increase heat just until mixture breaks into bubbles.  Simmer for 10 minutes heat through.  To prevent tofu from breakage, do not bring to furious boil.

Divide curry into bowls, topping with garnishes.  Serve immediately with bowls of rice on side.  Alternatively, you can pour entire curry over a platter of spread rice, serving it family style at table.  Leftovers can be gently heated and even more satisfying after a day's rest to meld the flavors.

This legume-rich recipe is for Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen hosting My Legume Love Affair 61 for Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen.

Aparna will have her round-up online soon.  Stay tuned on her blog for a lively and creative presentation of dishes designed around the versatility of healthy and delicious beans and their derivatives.  Aparna will also announce the two lucky winners of Sandeepa's recently published anecdotal volume of her regional Indian specialties, Bong Mom's Cookbook.

Been There, Done That ~

Mayasian Tofu Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce
Dubu Kimchi

Other Peoples' Eats ~

Caramelized Tofu Recipe - 101 Cookbooks
Shiitake Mushroom and Tofu Potstickers - The Kitchn
Spicy Vegan Peanut Butter Tofu with Sriracha Sauce - Kalyn's Kitchen


  1. A splendid dish! This curry is extremely mouthwatering and wonderfully presented.



  2. Mouthwatering delight. I am here after a very long time. Hope to be a regular blogger now.

  3. "There is a subtle, earthy undertone of chiles, spices, and herbs, like the smolder of wet leaves under an autumn fire. It warms without scorching, yet comforts without coddling."...I think this sums it up perfectly Susan.

  4. Beautifully presented and written. I always miss you when you haven't been posting much.

  5. What a wonderful set up it's so nice a light and balanced I love the earthy colors.

    And the recipe sounds really tasty too :o)

  6. This is lovely. Everyone at my house would love this.

  7. I'm yet to meet a "curry" that can not be good once there's coconut milk in it. :)
    Thanks for participating in this edition of MLLA. :)

  8. How beautiful!! Love how each and every component compliment each other and beautiful photograph as always!

  9. So many colors ! So much vibrance ! So much happiness in one single dish!
    I'm stunned and mesmerized ! And I'll try it for sure :)

  10. I must admit I had not heard of Massaman before reading your post. However you call it, the dish on the photo warms the soul by just looking at it. I have yet to try cooking with coconut oil. I should remedy that. I agree with Lisa: I miss your posts, when you are away for a while.

  11. Such a beautiful dish, Susan.. Peter and I love tofu, I had not thought of using it a curry. Thank you for sharing.