Red Curry Tofu Stew Over Brown Rice

Serves 8.

Note: Thanks to prepared red curry paste and canned coconut milk, this curry comes together in a snap. Be sure to read the ingredients on the curry paste, as some brands are not vegetarian. Find the curry paste at most supermarkets with Asian foods. For authentic flavor, use kaffir lime leaves or fresh lemongrass (either six lime leaves or half a stalk of lemongrass in place of the lime zest mentioned below). From Robin Asbell.

• 1 c. brown rice

• 1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk

• 2 tbsp. red curry paste, or more to taste (see Note)

• 1 tbsp. fresh ginger root, chopped

• 1 1/2 c. vegetable stock

• 2 tbsp. soy sauce

• 1/2 medium lime, plus zest pared off it in strips (the peel without the white pith)

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 2 c. diced (1/2-in. cubes) sweet potato (about 11 oz.)

• 2 c. chopped cabbage

• 14 oz. firm tofu, drained and cut in 1/2 in. cubes

• 2 large green onions, thinly sliced

• 1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves, slivered

Directions

In a 1-quart pot, bring 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and let cook for about 35 to 40 minutes. When all the water is absorbed, let stand, covered, off the heat, until time to serve.

In a large pot, warm the coconut milk over medium heat to melt, then add the curry paste. (If you usually order “hot” at a restaurant, add another tablespoon.) Mash the curry paste with a spatula or fork to mix well, and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the ginger, vegetable stock, soy sauce, lime zest pieces and salt. Reserve the rest of lime half.

Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, and add the sweet potato, cabbage and tofu, then gently stir to mix without crushing the tofu. When the liquids are boiling, reduce the heat to medium, for a strong simmer, and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes to thicken the liquids and soften the vegetables. Remove the lime zest strips before serving. Squeeze the reserved lime into the pan and stir it in, adding a little at a time, to taste.

Serve the tofu curry over brown rice in low bowls. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.