How To Make The Perfect Vegan Curry

by Terry Hope Romero

Squash the winter blues with this cozy, golden, vegan curry 

Winter is here, and let’s face it, the chilly weather can leave us feeling like a huddled group of penguins in need of some serious warming up. This soothing concoction of winter squash, tofu, hearty potatoes, and trusty ol’ green cabbage in a rich broth of red curry and coconut milk does the trick. It’s also got ginger and turmeric, the dynamic spice duo known for immune-boosting superpowers—much needed during cold season. Choose any winter squash that calls to you! Acorn, delicata, or honey nut can be enjoyed without peeling. Pumpkins, butternut, and thick-skinned kabocha squash should be peeled but the sweet aroma of this simmering curry makes it totally worth it.

Winter Squash Curry

Serves 4

1 14 oz. package extra-firm tofu, drained 

2 Tbsp. avocado oil or coconut oil, divided

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp. ginger powder

1 Tbsp. grated fresh turmeric or 1 tsp. turmeric powder

2 heaping Tbsp. red curry paste

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1½ pounds winter squash, diced or sliced into ½-inch pieces

2 medium-size red or yellow potatoes, well scrubbed and diced

1 14-oz. can Thai coconut milk

1½ tsp. kosher salt or to taste

2 cups roughly chopped green cabbage

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

Handful of roasted peanuts or cashews for garnish

¼ cup torn cilantro leaves or Thai (or regular) basil leaves

Piping hot jasmine rice (cook according to package directions) 

1. Pat tofu dry with a clean kitchen towel and slice into ½-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil and air fry for 20 minutes until browned, or fry in a 2-quart pot over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Transfer to a dish and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt.

2. In a large pot with a lid, heat remaining oil over medium heat and fry onion, ginger, and turmeric for 1 minute. Stir in curry paste and fry for another minute, then fold in black pepper, squash, and potatoes. Stir in coconut milk, 2 cups water, and salt. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes and squash are tender. Fold in the cabbage and fried tofu and simmer partially covered for another 8 to 10 minutes or until cabbage is tender and some of the oils from the coconut milk have risen to the top of the curry. Stir in lime juice.

3. Serve with freshly steamed hot rice and top each serving with roasted nuts and a flourish of cilantro or basil. Get excited for leftovers; this curry tastes even better the next day!

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