It’s a Vegan World: Malaysian Tofu Curry


I’ve never met a cuisine from a hot climate that I didn’t like. I loved Thai food and Indian food at first bite. I grew up eating Mexican food, but I can still remember the first times I was introduced to cilantro and cumin as individual ingredients. With the cumin especially, I swooned. I couldn’t get enough. It’s surprising, then, that I’ve never tried Malaysian food. I’m glad I did; I have a new love. (I’m not blushing. The flush is from the chilies. Really!)


For It’s a Vegan World: Malaysia, I chose to veganize this Malaysian chicken curry recipe using tofu and some extra coconut milk in place of evaporated milk. I loved that I had nearly everything on hand for this. I only had to buy tofu, lemongrass and coconut milk. In fact, I meant to buy some green beans and carrots for this recipe, but I forgot, and used vegetables I had left over from other dishes.


Malaysian Tofu Curry
14-16 ounces extra-firm or firm tofu

1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1-2 green or red chilies, minced (I used jalapeños)
2 tablespoons curry powder (I used sambar powder)
2 tablespoons minced curry leaves

1 cup water
3/4 cup coconut milk
1-2 cups vegetables of your choice (I used daikon radish, red bell pepper, and green peas – other good ones would be carrots, green beans, cauliflower or mushrooms)
chili paste to taste (I used Sriracha hot sauce)

Prepare tofu as for Baked Tofu Triangles. Set aside.


In a dry frying pan, toast coconut, garlic powder, turmeric, ginger powder, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes until lightly toasted and fragrant. Set aside.


Heat oil in frying pan to medium hot. Sauté onion, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and chilies for 2-3 minutes. Add sambar or curry powder and curry leaves and sauté for 2 minutes. Add water, coconut milk and vegetables, and simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add coconut and tofu and heat through. Serve with rice.


Serves 4

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7 Responses

  1. Great idea to veganize the chicken curry, Claire, and I must say it sounds absolutely gorgeous! In fact, my mouth’s watering just reading about those spices. Thanks for sending it in!

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  3. The photo alone makes me want to give this a try. Not sure what Kelsey would think of it, but I don’t really care! I may give this a whirl next weekend.

    Uh, I didn’t mean to delete this just now . . .

  4. T. will eat nearly anything spicy. If he is hesitant about something, I just tell him it’s too spicy for him and he says “Oh, you’re on!” and dives right in. Just like his mom. *sniff*

    I’m not sure if the same reverse-psychology will work on Kelsey!

  5. Kelsey loves spicy – the reverse psychology just may work! I don’t think I’ve ever made anything that she thinks is too spicy. We are a little weirded out by curry, though. It smells . . . odd. And I’m questioning the coconut – I hate it. That may be something I leave out. I need to stop by the Indian grocer and pick up some curry leaves and lemongrass. And I’ve never had sambar powder, so I’ll pick that up, too, and use it instead of curry powder. I assume it must be similar to curry since you subbed it in this dish.

  6. Yes, the sambar powder I get is very similar to curry powder. I’m not too sure what’s different about it. I don’t think it has turmeric in it, and maybe there is no fenugreek, also. Maybe you’ll like it better.

    Be careful with the heat if you leave the coconut out. Before I added it at the end, the dish was almost too hot for me! The curry leaves and the lemongrass are an awesome combination, though – I hope you try it.

  7. i could eat this every night for dinner!

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