Vegan Thai Jungle Curry
Have you tried a plant-based Thai Jungle curry yet? If not, then this is the recipe for you! This recipe cooks with ingredients that are brilliant at absorbing flavours, making the flavours of the herbs and spices from the Thai jungle curry paste the star of the dish. You will taste the amazing lemongrass and galangal and feel the heat of chillies and black peppercorn!
I’m cooking with tofu for this recipe and I know that tofu can sometimes fall under bad light for being tasteless, joyless and squishy but it doesn’t have to be like that, I promise! I always give my tofu a quick fry to crunch up the outside and keep it light on the inside, so that it can absorb all the delicious and flavoursome Thai Jungle curry juices and be packed full of spice!
The curry sauce itself is very thin, like a broth because it is made without coconut milk or cream and with water. Jungle curry (Gaeng Pa) originates from the Northern region of Thailand where there are no coconut trees. What I love about Thai Jungle curry is that it typically it is packed with vegetables, which makes it super easy to quickly adapt to a vegan/vegetarian diet. It is delicious, spicy and savoury and I feel it is quite a refreshing change of pace.
The vegetables you can use are incredibly versatile and aubergines, mushrooms and bamboo shoots are a staple in my household. But like all recipes, feel free to swap and changing vegetables around to suit your preferences or use whichever vegetables you have left in the fridge. Other vegetables that work well in a jungle curry are baby corn, bell peppers and green beans.
If you are here reading as a meat-eater and still not convinced by tofu? Then continue to follow the recipe and change the tofu for either pork or chicken.
How to Make a Vegan Thai Jungle Curry
Start by preparing all the ingredients. The mushroom will need to be cleaned under running water and if the mushrooms are large, slice in half. The aubergine can be cut into bitesize pieces and be placed into a bowl of lightly salted water to prevent discolouration and then put aside until ready to cook. The tofu should be pressed if necessary and cut into cubes or rectangular chunks.
Heat some oil in a saucepan or wok and lightly fry the tofu on all sides until golden brown, set to one side until it’s time to be added to the curry. In the same saucepan or wok, fry the Thai jungle curry paste for 2 minutes, to build amora. Season the curry paste with vegan fish sauce or light soya sauce and palm sugar, blending well together to break the curry paste down before adding in the water.
Next, add in the aubergines and bamboo shoots and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add in the tofu chunks with the mushrooms and kaffir lime leaves and allow to cook for a further 7 minutes. For the kaffir lime leaves, it is best the tear them up into quarters leaving the middle stem out, fresh kaffir lime leaves make a great addition to the curry. Once everything is cooked, it’s ready to serve and enjoy with a side of freshly steamed Thai Jasmine rice!
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Vegan Thai Jungle Curry
- 280 g Tofu Firm or Extra-Firm
- 35 g Mae Jum Thai Jungle Curry Paste
- 500 ml Water
- 1 Small Aubergine
- 150 g Mushrooms
- 120 g Bamboo Shoots
- 2 tbsp Vegan Fish Sauce
- 1 tbsp Palm Sugar
- 3-4 Kaffir Lime Leaves
- 1 Large Red Chilli Garnish
- Cut tofu into rectangle/cube bite-size pieces
- Wash and clean the mushrooms
- Cut the aubergine into cubes and part aside in lightly salted water (to stop discolouring)
- Heat oil in a pan/wok and fry tofu until golden brown and each side, then put to one side.
- In the same pan/wok, fry the curry paste for 2 minutes, then season with vegan fish sauce and palm sugar, blend well before adding the water and bring to a light boil
- Add the aubergines and bamboo shoots, simmer for 10 minutes
- Next, tear up the kaffir lime leaves and add to the pan/wok with mushrooms and fried tofu chunks, simmer for a further 7-10 minutes.
- Once all cooked, serve up and garnish with extra red chillies. Enjoy with a side of freshly steamed Thai Jasmine rice.