This Thai Coconut Curry Tofu is made with Thai red curry paste and coconut milk for a delicious tofu dish that comes together in just 30 minutes! Serve it with jasmine rice, rice noodles or your favourite vegetables!

a bowl of coconut curry tofu with chopsticks on top and a napkin on the side

Thai Coconut Curry (Inspired Vegetarian)

Thai food is my all-time favourite cuisine and I share a lot of Thai-inspired recipes on the blog, like my Vegan Pad Thai and Thai Butternut Squash Soup.

Today we’re doing a simple 30-minute vegetarian and gluten-free friendly recipe for this Thai Coconut Curry Tofu. You’ll be truly amazed at how simple it is to make this dish! You need just a handful of ingredients, a pan and 30 minutes of your time.

This recipe is inspired by a Traditional Thai red curry made with vegetarian and vegan-friendly ingredients.

Red Tofu Curry Ingredients

ingredients for thai coconut curry tofu

  • Extra-firm tofu: the base of the recipe. If you like a more pillowy soft texture you can also use soft-medium tofu.
  •  Avocado oil: or any high-temperature cooking oil to fry the tofu.
  • Coconut milk (from a can): The base of the coconut curry sauce. You can use full-fat or light coconut milk. Full fat will taste better.
  • Red curry paste: If you are vegetarian or vegan, make sure to check the label. Some brands of curry pastes contain shrimp paste in them.
  • Soy sauce: Traditionally fish sauce is used, (which you’re welcome to use) but to keep this veggie-friendly, we’re using soy sauce instead. Use gluten-free soy sauce if needed.
  • Coconut sugar: A traditional sweetener used in Thailand for curries!
  • Lime: Used to balance out the flavours
  • Paprika: Optional, if you want a more vibrant red colour.

Can Curry Powder Be Used Instead of Curry Paste?

No. I don’t recommend using curry powder instead of curry paste. Curry paste is more concentrated and has more moisture in it from wet ingredients like lime, oil, and chillies, while curry powder is made with dried ground spices.

Curry paste and curry powder also have a different flavour profiles, since they contain different ingredients and spices. If you use curry powder in this recipe instead of curry paste, you’ll end up with a final dish that tastes completely different.

How to make Thai Coconut Curry?

Step 1

Press as much liquid out of the tofu as possible then cut the tofu into cubes. 

cubed tofu in a clear bowl

Step 2

Heat the avocado oil in a large pan on medium-high heat then add the cubed tofu and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

cubes of tofu in a frying pan

Step 3

Add the curry paste to a saucepan on medium-high heat and let it toast for 30 seconds, then add the coconut milk and bring to a boil so the sauce begins to thicken. Then reduce the heat and add the soy sauce, coconut sugar, lime juice and paprika and mix.

a pan with coconut red curry sauce in it

Step 4

Add the tofu to the curry sauce and mix everything together until the tofu is coated in the curry. 

a close up of cubed tofu in a pan

Step 5

Serve on its own or with rice or rice noodles. 

coconut curry tofu topped with cilantro in a bowl with rice on the side

Best Tofu for Curry Recipes

This recipe calls for extra-firm tofu, which is the best type of tofu to use if you want to fry up your tofu into crispy cubes before adding them to the curry sauce.

However, I’ve made Thai curries with soft-medium tofu mixed with vegetables which is also delicious.

Really, it comes down to the type of texture you’re looking for. Want more firm bites of tofu with a crispy exterior? Go for extra-firm tofu. Want pillowy soft tofu bites in the sauce? Go for soft-medium tofu.

Recommended vegetables you can add to this curry

  • Eggplant
  • Snap peas
  • Potato
  • Peppers
  • Kale
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bok choy
a bowl of curry tofu and rice

Thai Coconut Curry Expert Tips

  • Use a non-stick pan to cook the tofu and don’t try and flip the pieces to quickly, otherwise they can stick to the pan. Each side should be golden brown before you flip and cook the next side.
  • The tofu will naturally lose some of its crispiness the longer it sits in the curry sauce. If you prefer the tofu crispy, serve and eat it right away after adding it to the curry sauce.
  • If adding vegetables to this dish, I recommend to sautee them in a pan with a touch of oil for 2-3 minutes until slightly tender. Then add them to the curry sauce with the tofu.
  • Traditional coconut curries in Thailand have a lose (more liquidy) sauce. If you prefer a thicker sauce, simply boil the sauce on medium-high heat stirring constantly until it begins to thicken, then proceed to add the tofu.

Vegetarian Coconut Curry FAQs

Does coconut curry taste like coconut?

Because coconut curry has so many strong flavours in it, it doesn’t really taste too strong of coconut. The coconut milk flavour is very mild and you will mostly taste the curry paste and seasoning. However, if you are someone who really doesn’t like coconut, this curry might not be for you.

Is coconut curry Thai or Indian?

Most coconut curries are Thai. Thai cuisine uses coconut milk in most of its curry recipes, while Indian curries often use ghee or cream.

a bowl of coconut curry tofu with rice and a lime wedge

If you tried this Thai Coconut Curry Tofu or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on PinterestInstagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!

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a bowl of curry tofu and rice

Thai Coconut Curry Tofu

  • Author: Jessica Hoffman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Coconut Curry Tofu comes together in 30 minutes and is made Thai flavours!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pack extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes
  • 23 tbsp avocado oil (or any other high cooking temperature oil)
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 14oz can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 tbsb coconut sugar (can sub maple syrup or honey)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tsp paprika (optional)
  • Rice, cilantro to serve.

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the tofu to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  3. Heat a separate saucepan on medium-high heat and add the curry paste, letting toast for 30 seconds then add the coconut milk and stir to combine.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil stiring constantly for 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens just slightly.
  5. Reduce to low heat, and add the soy sauce, coconut sugar, lime juice and paprika, mixing everything together. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  6. Add the cooked tofu to the pan with the curry sauce and mix together.
  7. Serve with rice and fresh cilantro.

Notes

Use a non-stick pan to cook the tofu and don’t try and flip the pieces to quickly, otherwise they can stick to the pan. Each side should be golden brown before you flip and cook the next side.

The tofu will naturally lose some of its crispiness the longer it sits in the curry sauce. If you prefer the tofu crispy, serve and eat it right away after adding it to the curry sauce.

If adding vegetables to this dish, I recommend to sautee them in a pan with a touch of oil for 2-3 minutes until slightly tender. Then add them to the curry sauce with the tofu.

Traditional coconut curries in Thailand have a lose (more liquidy) sauce. If you prefer a thicker sauce, simply boil the sauce on medium-high heat stirring constantly until it begins to thicken, then proceed to add the tofu.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 250
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Fat: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 5g

Keywords: Vegetarian Thai curry, coconut curry with tofu