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Mmmm... Vegan Thai Curry

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Thai food can be an issue for vegans. Everything has hidden fish sauce or oyster sauce in it. Luckily, here in LA there is always Bulan Thai, California Vegan, Vegan Glory, and Vegan House. Some Thai Town restaurants will prepare the food vegan upon request. But depending upon where you live, you still might not have a convenient corner takeout. So why not make it at home?

I've made authentic Thai curries from scratch, and it can be an all-day thing - grinding, pounding, making three different "mother" sauces, so I really don't mind buying prepared curry paste. Thai Kitchen makes a delicious red and a green vegan curry paste.

Recipe after the jump!

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THAI VEGAN CURRY

1 (12-oz package) extra-firm tofu
3 cups chopped fresh veggies (carrots, red bell pepper, zucchini, green beans, etc.)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 (13 ½-oz) can straw mushrooms, drained
1 1/2 Tablespoons Thai Kitchen green curry
3 (13 ½-oz) cans coconut milk
½ cup vegetable broth
1 (8-oz) can sliced bamboo shoots, drained
1 cup frozen peas
Cooked jasmine rice

Put a large pot of water on to boil.

Slice tofu lengthwise into ½" slices. Lay flat on a baking sheet. In oven or toaster oven, cook at 275 for 20 minutes to remove excess liquid. Remove from oven and slice into 1" to 2" pieces.

Meanwhile, pour straw mushrooms into a medium bowl filled with water. Swish the mushrooms around and replace water occasionally to remove any grit.

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Add fresh veggies, including potatoes to boiling water. Cook until just al dente (about 8 minutes). Strain and set veggies aside.

Do not shake or disturb cans of coconut milk. Open and carefully spoon off the thickened milk from the top, leaving the clear liquid in the can. Reserve both clear and thick coconut milk.

In a large wok or deep frying pan, combine 1 can of the clear coconut liquid and vegetable broth. Over a medium heat, cook tofu and vegetables in broth mixture until just cooked through (about 30 minutes). If the liquid does not cover the vegetables and tofu, add more broth and/or clear coconut broth.

Add mushrooms, bamboo shoots and peas.

Gradually stir in the thick coconut milk until the curry is the right consistency.

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Add salt to taste. Cook until heated through and serve over jasmine rice.

With the red curry I would probably add peanuts. Throw in anything else that strikes your fancy. This is a mix-and-match kind of dish

*Thai Kitchen brand green curry is found in little jars in the Asian section of the supermarket. I am not sure if other brands of curry pastes are vegan.

(Not everyone separates the coconut milk, but a Thai gourmet taught me this method to get the richest curries. If you don't want to be wasteful, you can add the leftover coconut liquid to soups, boiling vegetables, casseroles - get creative!)

California Vegan
7300 W Sunset Blvd.
at N Fuller Ave.

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Vegan Glory
8393 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Vegan House
2703 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90189
(213) 483-2105

Bulan Thai
7168 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 857-1882
(323) 653-4900

(Photo taken by Elise for LAist. Curry then eaten by Elise for LAist.)