This Vegetarian Thai red curry recipe is easy to follow and combines shallots, lemongrass, red chillies, galangal, cumin, coriander seeds, kaffir lime leaves, wheat gluten or tofu, yams or sweetpotatoes, Japanese or Chinese eggplant, shiitake mushrooms, and Thai holy basil to create a real vegetarian thai dish that will tantalize the taste buds.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
- 3 shallots OR 1 small cooking onion, diced
- 1 stalk lemongrass (see instructions below) OR 2 Tbsp. ready-bought lemongrass (available frozen at most Asian stores)
- 1-3 red chillies (depending on desired spiciness) or 1-3 teaspoons Thai red chilli sauce
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 thumb-size piece galangal, peeled and sliced (may be substituted with ginger)
- ¼ tsp. white pepper (may be substituted with black pepper)
- 2 Tbsp. chilli powder
- 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, ground with pestle & mortar (or a coffee-grinder)
- 3 Tbsp. regular (light) soy sauce or tamari
- 1 kaffir lime leaf
- ½ tsp. dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. dried turmeric (or 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh turmeric, sliced)
- 10-15 cherry tomatoes, or 3-4 regular tomatoes, sliced
- 3-4 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 small Japanese eggplant, sliced into bite-size pieces (do not peel, as there are vitamins in the skin)
- 1 sweet red pepper, or 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- optional: 1 small sweet potato (or yam), peeled and cut into cubes
- ½ cup fresh Thai holy basil leaves OR sweet basil
- 1 package wheat gluten “chicken” or “beef”, OR 1 package firm tofu cut into bite-size cubes
- 1 to 2 cans coconut milk (depending on how mild you like your curry, or how much sauce you prefer)
- For complete instructions on how to buy and cook with lemongrass, see: All About Lemongrass: Your Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking with Lemongrass.
- To make the paste, place all paste ingredients in a food processor.
- Add ½ can of the coconut milk and process into a paste.
- Place paste, wheat gluten or tofu, remaining 1/2 can coconut milk, and limes leaves in a casserole dish.
- Stir well until paste is thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Then remove from oven and add vegetables. Stir well. (Note: if you prefer more sauce, or if you find the curry tastes too spicy, add 1/2 can more coconut milk.)
- After another 10 minutes, remove from oven. Check to make sure vegetables are cooked to your liking.
- Do a taste test for salt and spice. If not salty enough, add up to 2 Tbsp. more soy sauce (or season with sea salt). If not spicy enough, add another red chilli, sliced finely, OR 1-2 tsp. Thai chilli sauce. If too salty, add up to 2 Tbsp. lime juice. If too spicy, add a little more coconut milk (yogurt will work too if you are non-vegan) and stir well.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves (these can be roughly chopped if too large), and serve with plenty of Thai fragrant rice (white or brown) for a nutritionally complete and satisfying meal.