I really like Thai curries, and I’ve always been a sucker for anything involving coconut milk and peanuts. But being vegan and eating Thai food means a lot of questions about fish sauce and eggs, and sometimes disturbingly not knowing whether you’re truly getting something without any offending ingredients. (At least in my experience, I’ve been told differing accounts of ingredients for the same dish by different people, and I often get told the bad news by a kind vegan server after I’ve ordered the same dish a couple of times.) On top of this, Rama Spinach Curry is pretty darn rich, what with loads of full-fat coconut milk and unknowable amounts of peanut butter, even for this not-too-fat-content-concerned lady.
So for both reasons, making this dish at home is a pretty good idea. I’m not going to claim this is a low-fat dish, because it’s not, but it’s certainly lower in fat than anything you’re going to get at your local Thai restaurant, without sacrificing the lovely peanut and coconut flavors. You can throw it together while your brown rice is cooking, and you can control the level of wilt in your spinach by steaming it to your own preference (or just going with fresh). This is a spicy, creamy, and ever so slightly sweet curry that would go great with a fresh salad or tangy veggie side dish (I opted for some lightly dressed citrus-y sugar snap peas from my CSA share). While I recommend thawed frozen tofu for a chewy texture, feel free to substitute fresh (or go with mock duck if that floats your happy boat).
Lower-Fat Rama Spinach Curry with Tofu (serves 3-4)
16 oz tofu, frozen, thawed, and cut into bite-size pieces
splash of oil for sauteing
1/2 onion, diced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
3/4 cup light coconut milk
1 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tbsp red curry paste, or to taste (Thai Kitchen brand is vegan)
2 tbsp Sucanat or other vegan sugar
2 tbsp tamari
1/3 c chopped roasted peanuts
3-4 c fresh spinach
Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet or cast iron pan and add onions and tofu. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add ginger, garlic, coconut milk, peanut butter, curry paste, sugar and tamari, stirring to dissolve sauce ingredients. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Stir in chopped peanuts, reserving some for garnish if desired.
Meanwhile, steam spinach until just wilted, or leave fresh. Place a bed of spinach on each plate, top with curry and reserved peanuts, and serve with a side of rice.