Thai Tofu Curry with Potatoes and Pineapple
This sublime dish was inspired by Thai Massaman Curry, which is named for the Muslim people in southern Thailand. It derives its delicate sweetness from pineapple and coconut milk, as well as cardamom, cinnamon, and other fragrant spices. Serve this stew over jasmine rice. To add extra flavor to the tofu, sauté it in a small amount of oil until golden brown on all sides before adding to the stew.
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 Thai bird or serrano chile, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh galangal or ginger
1 teaspoon trimmed and minced fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon tamari or other soy sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 cup water
1 medium-size yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
In a food processor, combine the shallots, garlic, chile, galangal, lemongrass, tamari, and brown sugar and process until smooth. Add the cardamom, coriander, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of the oil and process to form a paste. Blend in the water. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and spice mixture and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Stir the stock, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, 20 to 30 minutes.
Stir in the tofu, pinapple, and coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes longer to heat through. Serve hot.
Thai bird chiles, galangal, and lemongrass are available at Asian markets. Galangal is a relative of ginger that has a more pungent, peppery flavor than regular ginger. Slender Thai bird chiles are responsible for packing the punch in many hot Thai dishes, but a serrano can be used in their place here. When using fresh lemongrass, be sure to remove the tough outer layers of the stalk to reveal the tender inner core, the part used in cooking.