After last week’s heat wave, the weather has gone from summer to fall in just a couple of days. That chill in the air doesn’t only signify the start of boot season (yes!), but it also means that soup season is officially here. It sure has been a while!
Ever have those days when your body just needs soup? Maybe you’re feeling a cold coming on, or are a bit worn out and in need of a warm, nourishing pick-me-up.
This happened to me on Saturday after spending the afternoon outside in chilly, drizzly weather. My MBA class had an outdoor team-building event which involved solving different challenges and problems in groups. It was a great way to get to know our fellow classmates and figure out how to communicate better as a team. It was such a good time that I didn’t even notice I was chilled to the bone until the drive home (despite being dressed in warm layers). Nothing a hot bowl of soup can’t fix!
Homemade chicken noodle soup automatically comes to mind, but some days you might want something equally warming but with more complex, deeper flavours. Thai cuisine fits the bill perfectly.
If you like Thai food, you’ll love this red curry with tofu. (And if you’re not yet familiar, both this recipe and my spaghetti squash Pad Thai would be good introductory dishes!) It’s a quick one-pot recipe designed to be served in a bowl just like a soup, but you could also ladle some over rice or noodles for a more complete meal. Sometimes I even toss leftover cooked whole wheat spaghetti (plain, of course) into my bowl if I have some in the fridge.
You might think this recipe would be difficult to make, but this is the part where you need to trust me! It’s NOT hard at all. In fact, it comes together in under 30 minutes and you only have to dirty one pot! I’ve made it on weeknights many times for that exact reason.
If you’re not pressed for time, then by all means buy fresh vegetables and chop them up. Prep work is usually what I enjoy most about the cooking process, but some nights it simply isn’t possible to take the time to do it. So to cut down on prep time in this recipe, I used frozen vegetables (a mix of broccoli, carrots, green beans, snap peas, peppers and water chestnuts) and just thawed them out in the microwave before adding them to the pot.
The only other hands-on things you need to do for this dish are mince some garlic, cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces and slice a lime. After that, it’s just a matter of opening various cans and jars and adding things to the pot. See? Easy!
If you’re concerned about the spice level, this dish is not spicy in the least. I didn’t include Thai chiles in the recipe because I haven’t seen good looking ones in my store in a while, and the curry paste itself is sweet and mild. On the other hand, if you’re like me and love spicy food, add as much sriracha to your own bowl as you want.
This recipe is vegetarian, but if you’re not feeling tofu then just toss in some cooked shredded chicken instead.
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 package extra-firm tofu, cut into strips
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste (or more, to taste)
- 2 cans light coconut milk
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 cups frozen Asian vegetable mix (broccoli, water chestnuts, green beans, carrots, snap peas and bell peppers), thawed
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- Sriracha, to taste (optional)
- Place the tofu between sheets of paper towel and press down to squeeze out excess moisture. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the tofu, browning on all sides, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic and curry paste. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes until slightly softened. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and soy sauce and stir so the curry paste is evenly incorporated. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice, green onions and cilantro. Serve with sriracha if desired.