African Red Curry

African Red Curry with coconut and tofu - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan cookbook

This African Red Curry is a hybrid dish which takes a more typically Asian (particularly Thai and Indonesian) curry recipe and changes up a few key ingredients and spices. I love to make Thai curries of all kinds– yellow curry, green curry, red curry, and my personal favorite: Massaman curry, usually with potatoes, tofu, onion, and peanuts. Anytime I see it in my travels I have to try it, and am constantly amazed at how different countries and different cooks prepare it. Massaman curry is by origin a hybrid dish: a Thai recipe enhanced by the aromatic spices that Muslim traders brought to South East Asia in ages past.

When I lived in Boston’s Chinatown and later in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, I experimented often with store-bought curry pastes from the Asian supermarkets. This recipe goes for a more Do-It-Yourself  approach, also altering the base ingredients to make a more world-fusion recipe. I enjoy making my own homemade sauces and curries and I encourage you to try the same. Anyone can buy prepared sauce and paste in a jar, but when you make an awesome curry from scratch and it works, it’s so satisfying!

If I had to locate the Africa in this African curry, I’d trace it back to Mombasa on the Kenyan coast. I had such an amazing, spicy coconut curry at this simple place in the old Muslim quarter of town. I remember how intrigued I was by the Asian influence and artifacts I saw on that first trip to Africa. I was continually surprised by great Indian food and Thai and other Asian restaurants in Nairobi and other cities in East Africa. Even on the other side of Africa, in Senegal and The Gambia, a good decade later, I also enjoyed excellent Asian, particularly Indian food. Just goes to show, people have been migrating, moving, and mixing world cuisines with amazing results for a long, long time.

African Red Curry with coconut and tofu - The Lotus and the Artichoke - Vegan cookbook

Afro-Asiatisches Rotes Curry– mit Süßkartoffeln und Tofu

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Green Bean Sweet Potato Tofu Curry

Indo-German: Green Bean Sweet Potato Tofu Curry

The story of some of my best culinary creations goes something like this: I have a dish in mind but either I didn’t go shopping or otherwise don’t have all the ingredients. I look around in the fridge and comb the shelves. At first glance, I’m always doubtful, but within a few minutes I’ve got stuff all over the counter and suddenly I’m feeling far more optimistic.

This curry came into existence on one such evening. Half a block of tofu and half a brick of frozen green beans in the freezer. One tomato left. Two sweet potatoes and a few shallots just chilling in the cupboard. What to do? I wanted something with Indian and Thai flavors but with a slight spin. Fresh thyme! I put on some music and got chopping…

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