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Thai Tofu, Swiss Chard, and Sweet Potato Curry


Serves 6 to 8

  • by from Year-Round Slow Cooker

Serve this creamy, rich aromatic stew over brown rice; to jazz things up, enrich the grains with butter and lime zest. Since different brands of curry paste feature different levels of salt and heat, taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. For speedier prep, buy prechopped sweet potatoes and feel free to skip the fresh ginger, lemongrass, and garlic.

  • 24 oz. extra-firm unflavored tofu
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. red curry (not chile) paste
  • 6 cups 1-inch-diced peeled sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 grinds black pepper
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 Tbs. peeled grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs. minced lemongrass stalk (from the light part only)
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 13-1/2-oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed, strained lime juice
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves sliced 1/4 inch thick, then chopped crosswise (about 2 cups packed)

Instead of vegetable oil, you could use coconut oil, unsalted butter, or peanut oil.
To adapt a slow-cooker recipe to a conventional oven, follow these guidelines: add more liquid, to accommodate for greater evaporation; bring the dish to a boil over high heat in a Dutch oven, then cover the pot and put in a 350°F oven. Plan on the dish taking roughly half the time to cook in the oven as it would in the slow cooker.

Place two layers of paper towels on a plate, then top with the tofu, then another two layers of paper towels, and a large plate. Leave for about 15 minutes to drain. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and curry paste. Add one-third of this mixture to a zip-top, gallon-size plastic bag. Add the tofu and gently coat it with the marinade, using your hands to massage it. Close the bag and refrigerate.

Put the sweet potatoes into the slow cooker, then mix with another third of the sugar-curry mixture and all of the salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbs. of oil in a 10-inch, heavy sauté pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the final third of the sugar-curry mixture, plus the flour (and the remaining 1 Tbs. of oil if the pan is very dry), and cook, stirring, until no white flour is visible, no more than a minute. Add the coconut milk, pumpkin, lime juice, and stock, and bring to a boil over high heat, whisking vigorously to remove any lumps. Cook until smooth, thickened, and some bubbles appear, about 4 minutes. Pour over the sweet potatoes.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low until the sweet potatoes are very tender but still retain their shape, about 4 hours. Stir in the chard and marinated tofu, cover, and cook on high until the chard is tender, about another 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Photo: Andrew Hugh Purcell

I made this on the stove top and it was yummy. We didn't miss the meat. I also added sweet and hot peppers chopped and sautéed and even a fresh chopped tomato. I left out the broth and pumpkin but I think the pumpkin would have made the sauce a little thicker.

My husband and children love this recipe! Who knew tofu could taste good? I've made it twice, first on the stove top to save time, and second in the crockpot. Both times the results were great. The smell as it's cooking brings everyone into the kitchen--and that's why I cook! Thanks Dina Cheney.

I thought it was pretty good, but definitely made some changes. I used a little less brown sugar because mine was hard as rock and I got sick of grating it. Made up the difference with a touch of honey. Thanks to Greg L. for your suggestions, all of which I followed and definitely will incorporate going forward. Also used the oven method, and it only took an hour for the sweet potatoes to be done before adding the tofu & swiss chard and finishing on the stove top. Could be the size I cut them, or just the type; something unusual I bought at the farmer’s market. I added a can of chickpeas with the tofu, because I’d conflated this recipe with another while I was at the grocery store and so had bought one. They suited very well, and I’ll do that again. I’ll also use more swiss chard. My red curry was maybe a little old, because the flavor was quite mild. So Sriracha was our other condiment. Update: This recipe made a ton; I served the leftovers with Thai-style herbed chicken breasts from Epicurious. Excellent combination.

I made as directed, following the oven directions. Overall, I was very pleased- it tasted like a dish I would get at my favorite Thai restaurant. Good curry flavor without being too sweet or hot. The sauce is very rich though and does better when served in a smaller portion over rice. Topping with some salty crushed peanuts and/or fresh cilantro will help cut through some of the richness too. Would also recommend reducing the amount of tofu by about a third. Will make it again. Time in oven was only 90 minutes.

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