RECIPE. Jan 11, 2011

Tofu Curry Squash Stew

It’s snowing outside. Right now. I was supposed to be on my way to pick up my mom from the airport. She just returned from a trip to her home in Mexico and she landed in snow. Great welcome I guess. I am terrified to drive in the white powder but I actually really enjoy how beautiful it makes the world look. Clean, crisp, smooth. I also love the quiet stillness that seems to echo across the day when it snows. Everyone takes it as a signal to stay in, turn up the heat and look one another in the eye. It is also a terrific reason to cook up a large pot of steaming, wholesome stew. So I have just the recipe for your day home tomorrow or sometime this month. All I insist is you make it and soon.

While the ingredient list may seem intimidating, the directions and ease of this recipe is not. A lot of the prep work such as slicing and cubing vegetables can be done the night before or even hours before you start cooking. From start to finish the recipe takes me about one hour. If I do prep work ahead of time it takes less than 30 minutes. I must also note that I did not know how far to slice a leek. Turns out you start at the bottom and slice until you hit the firm green stems on top and discard those. So you really only slice about half the vegetable.

I pair this soup with brown rice and some dinner rolls. I usually decrease the amount of curry powder or curry paste so it isn’t as spicy. If you like heat then you can increase one or both. As is the recipe makes a soup with some kick but not overwhelmingly hot. I usually get all the ingredients ready in bowls right next to the soup pot before I start cooking. This speeds up the cooking process and makes everything effortless.

Heat 2 Tbsp peanut oil in soup pot. Add leeks and saute about 3 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more. Add curry powder, curry paste, sugar, and soy sauce. Stir well, scraping pot.

Add 3 cups water or vegetable stock, coconut milk, squash and salt. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until squash is tender.

Saute tofu in remaining peanut oil until browned. As a note, it is very important to purchase firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe. You can also cut the tofu down the middle horizontally and place paper towels under the halves to drain it of extra water. This helps the tofu crisp up much better when browning in oil.

Serve soup over rice with tofu, cilantro and nuts sprinkled on top. If you would like to toast the peanuts for extra flavor just chop them then add them to the frying pan before browning the tofu. Saute for about 3-5 min or until they look golden and remove from pan and place in bowl. Enjoy!