Vegetarian Thai Red Curry

I was always amazed by the amazing layers of flavors that Thai curries are able to meld together. The richness of the coconut milk, umami flavors from mushroom stock, the sharp, citrus flavors from kefir lime and galangal, and aroma of thai basil combines together for an awesome explosion of flavors that you won’t be RED-y for.

This Vegetarian Thai Red Curry dish was adapted from Hot Thai Kitchen, an awesome Thai chef! This dish is perfect for a vegetarian meal, and can easily be adapted into a non-vegetarian one with the addition of meats and shrimp paste.

Ingredients (approx 6-8 servings)
-4 cups of water
-Approx 2.5 cups mushroom stock (from a result of re-hydrating the mushrooms)
-16 pieces of dried shiitake mushroom
-2 cans of bamboo shoots (16 oz), chopped
-2 cans 14 oz coconut cream (I use Savoy brand)
-1 (4 oz) can of Red Curry Paste (I use Maesri brand)
-2 Tbsp of tomato paste
-1 Tbsp of Maggi sauce
-4 Tbsp of palm sugar
-2 boxes of medium firm tofu, fried
-2 bellpeppers, chopped
-1 stock of Thai basil
-1 tbsp lime zest (only because i couldn’t find kaffir lime leaves)

Ingredients (minus the mushroom stock and Maggi sauce)

Procedure
1) The night before, soak the dry shiitake mushrooms in 4 cups of water and leave overnight in the fridge. The mushrooms will rehydrate and flavor the water into a mushroom stock

Mushrooms after bathing in water overnight. Don’t throw the mushroom stock away!

2) The next day, remove the mushrooms from the stock, and squeeze out excess liquid. Cut into semi-thick strips
3) Rinse the bamboo shoots with water to remove “the can smell”. Chop and blanch for 5 minutes in boiling water
4) In a pot, add coconut milk, curry paste, and tomato paste.
5) Add approx 2.5 cups of the mushroom stock to the pot and bring to a gentle boil
6) Add Maggi sauce and palm sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved
7) Add blanched bamboo, mushrooms, bellpeppers, and fried tofu to the pot
8) Bring pot to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes with light stirring
9) Serve with rice or bread

All in the pot!

Observations/Tips
-If the curry is too thick, more mushroom stock can be added to loosen it up.
-Mushrooms may float, you can place a plate on top of the bowl to help submerge the mushrooms.
-When squeezing the mushroom, make sure the mushroom is flat when squeezing out, or you will crush the poor guy up if you just fold and squeeze it.
-With the absence of shrimp paste or savory meats, the mushroom and tomato paste adds a nice umami UMPH to the dish as a substitute
-For vegetarians: if using an alternate Red Curry Paste, be sure to check the ingredients in the back of the can, as some suppliers may put shrimp inside their paste, making it not vegetarian-friendly.
-If you are omnivorous, feel free to add some shrimps, chicken, or beef to this curry! If you are purely carnivorous, I suggest adding some veggies to your diet.
-I did not add kaffir lime leaves to this recipe, although I definitely would have if I was able to find it. There are some kaffir lime flavors in the curry paste, but adding kaffir lime leaves will definitely bring this dish to the next level with citrusy flavors. Lime zest will act as a do-able substitute.

References
Hot Thai Kitchen’s Red Curry Recipe

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