Coconut, lime, tomato curry (with tofu or fish)


This memorable and fragrant Malaysian curry is easy to make, forgiving to substitutions, and keeps well. It traditionally uses any firm white fish (defrosted is fine), but tofu works beautifully. Reduce the quantity of chili if you prefer a milder dish. Serve with brown or white rice and herbs.

Sauce base ingredients (if you have some Universal Curry Sauce, set aside 2 cups of that):
2 Tbsp oil
1 onion or 2 shallots, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped or 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder (optional if you have curry leaves)
2 tsp curry powder (optional if you have curry leaves)
1 tsp salt (or less if using chili sauce or salty ginger-garlic paste)
1 cup of tomato puree

Other ingredients (see the bottom of this post for a simplified version with fewer ingredients):
2 fresh red chilies, chopped (leave seeds in if you want more heat), or 2 tsp chili flakes, or 2 tsp chili sauce or Sambal Oelek
10 kaffir lime leaves (fresh/frozen & bruised is best – but if you don’t have the leaves you can approximate the taste by using zest of 1 big lime)
handful curry leaves, about 15 (these adds a wonderful dimension, but can be substituted with chopped cilantro in a pinch)
1.5 lb tofu/white fish filets cut into large bite-sized chunks
1 can of coconut milk or 2/3 cups coconut cream with 2/3 cup hot water
A few squeezes lime juice, to taste (if you used vinegary chili sauce, it’s ok to skip the lime juice)
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves

In a large pot on medium-high heat, add oil, onion, garlic; sauté till onion is translucent. Add the spices and salt.
>Start here if using Universal Curry Sauce:
Before putting in the sauce, in a few teaspoons of oil quickly fry the chilies, curry leaves and kaffir lime leaves or lime zest, if using. Add tofu/fish and tomato or curry sauce; cook until gently bubbling. Finally add coconut milk – coconut milk should not boil or it may curdle; simmer very gently 3 more minutes (check to make sure fish, if using, is cooked through but not overdone). Turn off heat and stir in lime juice and a dash of sugar, to taste.


Coconut- tomato curry

This is a simplified version of the above curry, with a slightly different flavor, but still memorably fragrant and forgiving to substitutions. Serve hot with brown or white rice, herbs for garnish, and a green salad or simple steamed greens.

Sauce base ingredients (if you have some Universal Curry Sauce, just add the other ingredients to 3 cups of that):
2 Tbsp oil
1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped or 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 Tbsp curry powder (or 1 Tbsp curry and 2 tsp ground coriander)
1 tsp salt
2 cups crushed or pureed tomatoes or canned tomato sauce (unflavored)

Other ingredients:
1 cup of coconut milk or 2/3 cups coconut cream with 2/3 cup hot water
1.5 lb white fish filets/firm tofu/tempeh/Quorn cut into large chunks
½ cup fresh, finely chopped cilantro or parsley to garnish
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice or lime wedges to serve (lemon is ok too, or skip altogether if you don’t have any on hand)

In a large pot on medium-high heat, add oil, onion, garlic; sauté till onion is caramelized (careful not to burn it or turn it too dark). Add salt, curry and sauté another minute before adding tomato sauce. The trick to this curry is to let all the flavors blend really well, so you’ll want to simmer the tomato sauce for at least 10 minutes.
>Start here if using Universal Curry Sauce:
To the curry sauce add coconut milk –simmer very gently on low heat 5 more minutes. In the meantime cut up your fish or tofu. Add fish/tofu and continue simmering for another 5 minutes until well cooked. Taste your sauce. If your curry does not have as much heat as you would like, add red or black pepper to taste. Turn off heat and stir in lime juice and/or a dash of sugar (optional), to taste, using less or more juice depending on the acidity of your tomatoes.

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The goal of this blog is to celebrate delicious food that's also practical. Contrary to certain foodie trends, we believe there is no reason for amazing food to be expensive or complicated or time consuming.

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