Thai tofu curry

August/20/2021 in Dinner, Lunch
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Preparation time: preparations 10 minutes, cooking 20 minutes, total 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
Vegan Thai tofu curry

This Thai curry is a new family favorite. It's a real flavor bomb and surprisingly easy to make, if you get a jar of Thai curry paste. The recipe is inspired by a curry from The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook by Nisha Vora, a super nice book with lots of tasty recipes that you can make both with and without an Instant Pot.

I bought this book because I recently got an Instant Pot. I've wanted an electric pressure cooker for a long time, but I really didn't have room for it at our old house. In the new kitchen we do, so I wen ahead and got myself an Instant Pot Duo Plus for my birthday. I'm really happy with it! Because you can set it in advance and it shuts off automatically when it's done cooking, it's super easy on a busy day to dump in your ingredients in the morning and come back to a delicious hot meal around lunch- or dinnertime

The Instant Pot has both a slow cooker and pressure cooker function, as well as sauté setting. In addition, the Duo Plus version can also be used as a yogurt maker and sous-vide, among other things. I still have to experiment with those functions. So far I've made lots of soups and curries. Soup-style recipes in particular do well in an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot, whereas thicker stews tend to burn on the bottom.

What makes this Thai curry so easy is that you don't have to bake or marinate the tofu. The sauce is so flavorful that you can chuck in the tofu cubes without any further treatment and they will soak up all the curry goodness. I often add tempeh in the same way, and even that becomes wonderfully juicy and flavorful from simmering in the sauce (only recommended for tempeh lovers).

Fresh herbs complete this dish, both in terms of taste and looks, but it will still be tasty if you leave them out. If you want to do everything 'right', get special Thai basil from an Asian store. It has pointed leaves and an anise-like taste. But regular Italian basil from the supermarket also tastes good. Fresh cilantro is also delicious if you like it, but coriander haters can safely leave this out.

The vegetables in this recipe are very flexible, perfect for emptying your fridge and freezer. The curry in the photo contains peas, carrots, bell pepper and cauliflower (both the florets and the thick parts of the leaves). But green beans, cabbage, zucchini and eggplant are taste great too.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (400 ml / 14 oz) coconut milk
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) frozen green peas
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 300 g (2 cups) cauliflower florets and/or leaf stems, cut into bite size pieces
  • 500 g (14 oz) tofu, diced (and/or tempeh, chickpeas or chicken pieces)
  • 5 tablespoons Thai curry paste (green, yellow or red)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or vegan fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • A handful of (Thai) basil (optional)
  • A handful of fresh coriander (optional)


In a regular pan

Heat the oil in a deep pan over medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the coconut milk, vegetables, tofu, curry paste and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.

Finally, add the lemon juice and fresh herbs. Serve the curry with fragrant pandan rice, papadums or naan bread.

In the Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker

Heat the oil with the pressure cooker on the sauté function and cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Switch off the sauté function.

Add the coconut milk, vegetables, tofu, curry paste and soy sauce and mix gently. Put the lid on the pressure cooker with the steam valve closed. Set the pressure function to cook on high for 2 minutes.

After the the pressure cook cycle has completed, let the pot sit for another 5 minutes. Then release the pressure by carefully opening the steam valve. When all the steam has escaped, you can safely open the lid. Now add the lemon juice and fresh herbs. Serve the curry with fragrant pandan rice, papadums or naan bread.

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