Thai Coconut Curry Vegetables with Tofu

The first time I tried Thai food, I fell in love. Since then I have created a few recipes to emulate the dishes I have come to love. This is my version of Thai red curry. People really enjoy this dish!

Ingredients

1 (14–16-ounce) block of tofu, cubed and baked*
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (to bake tofu)
2 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce (to season tofu before baking)
1 (13–14-ounce) can coconut milk
½ cup tomato puree
½ cup water
2–3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1–2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons liquid aminos (or light soy sauce)
3 tablespoons cilantro (or to taste)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 bunch fresh kale leaves, chopped (you can use other veggies as well)

*To bake tofu:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place tofu cubes onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle tofu with olive oil and liquid aminos or soy sauce. Toss cubes to coat, then spread evenly onto a cookie sheet single layer). Put into preheated oven, middle rack, and cook for about 10 minutes or until bottoms of tofu cubes are browned. Then turn oven to broil and continue to cook the tofu until the top is browned (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from oven, drain tofu on paper towels, and set aside.

Add coconut milk. tomato puree, water, garlic, ginger, curry powder, sesame oil, liquid aminos, cilantro, and lime juice to a blender. Blend until smooth and thoroughly combined. Put into a medium-size saucepan. Cook for 15–20 minutes, adding more water if sauce becomes too thick. Add chopped kale (or other veggies). Continue to cook until kale is tender. Add tofu. Continue to cook for a few more minutes until tofu absorbs the flavors of the sauce. Serve warm or hot with a side dish of rice, Pad Thai or plain noodles. Serves 2–4. Enjoy!

Health Benefits of Coconut Milk

    Weight Loss

New research has revealed that not eating enough fat can actually make you fat. According to Bruce Fife, N.D. in his article “The Fat that Can Make You Thin,” people who include more healthy fats in their diet, such as the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut milk, eat less than those who don’t get enough fat. While all fats help the body feel full and satiate the brain receptors that control appetite, the fat in coconut milk may increase metabolism and perhaps increase weight loss on a reduced-calorie diet.

     Immune System Health

Coconut milk contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which may fight the viruses and bacteria that cause herpes, influenza and even HIV. According to a study led by Dr. Gilda Sapphire Erguiza, a pediatric pulmonologist at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City, children with pneumonia who were treated with antibiotics and coconut oil benefited more than those taking the antibiotic alone.

     Heart Disease

The medium-chain saturated fatty acids in coconut milk may also improve heart health. A study in “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” showed that Filipino women who ate more coconut oil had healthier blood lipid profiles, a major determinant of heart disease. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk may also kill the three major types of atherogenic organisms — bacteria that cause plaque formation in the arteries — that may lead to heart disease.

      Healthy Skin and Hair

Coconut milk is highly nutritious when ingested, and these nutrients may help fortify and condition skin and hair as well. The fatty acids in coconut milk are a natural antiseptic and may help treat dandruff, skin infections, wounds and dry, itchy skin. Furthermore, the high fatty acid content in coconut milk serves as a natural moisturizer for healthy skin and may help repair wrinkles and sagging in aging skin.

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