This delicious vegan Malaysian curry is bursting with flavor and has crispy bits of tofu to boost your protein intake. It's also easily customizable as you can switch things up to use any veggies you have on hand.
Coconutty and comforting, this vegan Malaysian curry is one of the best things I cooked this year. It's totally dairy-free, of course, but still creamy and super flavourful from a custom mix of spices.
To make this curry, you start by baking tofu until crispy and delicious. While the tofu is baking, you make a delicious aromatic curry that's the perfect vehicle for your tofu.
Just like in any other vegan curry, the level of spiciness can be easily adaptable. If you love your curries fiery, it's easy to add some extra dry chilli flakes. You can also make it family-friendly by leaving out the very spicy stuff.
Ingredients and substitutions
Even though the list of ingredients for this Malaysian red curry is quite long, it's totally worth the effort. Here's what you're going to need:
Extra-firm tofu — Use the firmest tofu you can find for this curry. You need to be able to slice and cube it easily. Your tofu cubes should also hold their shape well, so pressing your tofu even if it's extra firm is always a good idea.
Shallots — use shallots instead of onions in this curry because they are sweeter and milder. Shallots are actually an indispensable ingredient in Asian cuisine.
Garlic, ginger, and lemongrass — Even though it's so convenient to use the stuff that comes in jars, chopping your own fresh garlic, ginger and lemongrass stalks will make a world of difference in flavour.
Potatoes — Use any kind of way potatoes for this tofu red curry. You don't want them to fall apart completely, so avoid floury varieties.
Coconut milk — I make this curry with light coconut milk to keep the calorie count in check, but if you want it to be extra creamy, you can use full-fat instead.
How do you make vegan Malaysian curry?
Start by baking the tofu.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C ( 400°F) and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Cut the pressed tofu into ½ - 1-inch cubes and add it to a large mixing bowl.
- Drizzle the tofu with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sprinkle with the cornstarch.
- Season with salt and pepper and toss gently until all the tofu cubes are coated evenly.
- Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the baking tray and bake until crispy for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the curry.
- Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a large, deep pan or shallow cast-iron casserole.
- Fry the shallot and red pepper for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until they soften.
- Stir in the garlic, ginger and lemongrass and continue to cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Next, stir in all the spices and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the vegetable stock, kaffir lime leaf, potato, and coconut milk.
- Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered with a lid for 20 minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender.
- Stir in the baked tofu and serve over basmati rice, cauliflower rice or quinoa.
Recipe notes and tips
- You can squeeze some lime juice on the curry before serving it for some bright flavour that pairs well with the spices.
- Add a whole cinnamon stick to the curry instead of ground cinnamon if you want to amp up the warmth.
- To make the curry fiery, add some red chilli flakes or fresh chillies.
- This tofu coconut curry keeps well in the fridge for up to three days. Store it in an airtight container and reheat it in the microwave on the stove.
If you liked this vegan Malaysian curry, have a look at some of my other easy vegan curry recipes: