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Tofu with Thai Peanut Sauce (Pra Ram)

Tofu with Thai Peanut Sauce is a simple homemade rendition of a vegan takeout favorite- the sweet/salty/spicy/tart peanut sauce is highly addictive!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Keyword homemade Thai peanut sauce, Tofu with peanut sauce, vegan tofu with Thai peanut sauce
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2
Author Denisse

Ingredients

For the peanut sauce

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Thai or Fresno chile seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

For the tofu:

  • 14 ounces firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 pound spinach leaves rinsed

Instructions

  1. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, chile (if using), garlic, lime zest, and red curry paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. 

  2. Add vegetable broth, peanut butter, coconut milk, brown sugar, and soy sauce and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

  3. Remove tofu from package and place over a few paper towels. Press on the tofu gently so that the paper towels soak up any excess liquid, replacing the paper towels as necessary until tofu feels mostly dry. Cut tofu into large cubes.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil to a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add tofu and pan fry until golden on all sides. This is much easier if using a non-stick or cast iron skillet. If using stainless steel wait until the tofu releases from the pan before browning the next side. Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt and set aside.

  5. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water, and fit with a steamer insert. Bring to a boil. Add spinach. Reduce to a simmer. Cover, and steam until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes.
  6. Bring the peanut sauce back to a simmer. Transfer spinach and tofu to a plate and top generously with peanut sauce.

Recipe Notes

Tips for making tofu with peanut sauce: 

  • Make sure you buy firm or even extra-firm tofu as soft aka. silken tofu will break apart when you try to pan-fry it.
  • To keep this dish healthy, make sure you use high-quality peanut butter without any additives.
  • When frying tofu, the key to both crispness and browning is the removal of moisture. The drier you get your tofu to begin with, the better. You can press the tofu to drain excess moisture. Press the whole block between two plates lined with paper towels and top the whole setup with a heavy pot or can. After 30 minutes, you can remove the towels and cut the tofu into cubes.
  • For frying the tofu, use a large, heavy-bottomed pan, preferably cast iron.