Zucchini and Tofu in Roasted Chili Paste

August 4, 2008 at 6:31 am (A (4 stars, love), Derek's faves, East and SE Asia, Nancie McDermott, Other, Quick weeknight recipe, Summer recipes, Tofu, Vegetable dishes)

This is currently my favorite way to eat Thai roasted chili paste. This recipe from Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott is simple and satisfying. For more color, use half yellow squash, but add it slightly before the zucchini as it’s slower to cook. Alternatively, throw in a handful of halved cherry tomatoes when you add the tofu.

  • 10 – 14 ounces medium-firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tsp. – 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped garlic (4 to 6 cloves)
  • 1 large onion (about 10? ounces), cut lengthwise into thick strips
  • 3 medium or 2 large zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch rounds (about 1.5 pounds?)
  • 3 Tbs. roasted chili paste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit or reduce if your vegetable stock is salted)
  1. Heat a wok or a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and onion and cook until shiny, fragrant, and softened, about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and cook, tossing occasionally, until shiny, tender, and a brilliant green, about 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chili paste, vegetable stock, soy sauce, and salt. Toss well. Add the tofu and cook, giving it an occasional gentle toss, until it is heated through and evenly coated with the sauce, about 1 minute. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot or warm.

Serves 4.

Rating: B+

Derek: A-


  1. Jane and Lane said,

    So, I made the chili paste yesterday. And, I confess, used it with chicken and zucchini. Delicious. Although I’m not certain that I got the paste right, it was still extremely tasty. I used Japones and my hands were *burning* by the end of the stemming and seeding process. I washed with dish soap. I rubbed with olive oil (this seemed to make them worse). I soaked them in cold milk – don’t ask. Finally, I rubbed with vinegar and began to get some relief. Should the paste still be a tad coarse? I couldn’t get it altogether smooth. Now, to try this polenta dish of yours (I made store bought polenta for us last week sauteed and covered with marinara, served over creamed spinach) and the lasagna.

  2. captious said,

    You did it! Wow, I’m impressed.

    That’s odd about the burn. I’ve made it 3 times now and I never noticed any burn at all. Maybe you didn’t toast your peppers as much as I did? Or maybe they were just much hotter. Or maybe you touched the inside of the pepper more? I usually just break off the stem, break them in half, and shake, so there’s not much touching of the spicy parts.

    Maybe next time wear plastic gloves? Or coat your hands in oil before seeding the peppers? I’ve also heard that lemon juice can help with the sting a bit–soap definitely just distributes the burn and makes it worse.

    I hope after all that pain you at least have lots of paste to use in recipes over the next month!

    I think how coarse the paste is depends on your blender/food processor/spice grinder. My spice grinder gets mine smoother than my mini processor, but neither leaves big chunks of peppers or garlic.

  3. Jane and Lane said,

    I definitely got down and dirty with the peppers. I was set on weeding out every seed to minimize the heat in the paste (since, like I said before, I’m a mild girl). So, that must have been the burn issue. I like your glove idea for next time.

    I wanted to use the chilies de arbol, because I recently learned that these are the base for one of my favorite salsas, but my local Whole Foods market was out and only had the japones.

    We still have about a cup of paste left, so I plan on trying one of your tofu dishes next time. And, we’re moving next weekend into our own place, so I’ll have a kitchen all to myself again (!!) – and will make a second batch. I’m also going to look into the Kitchen Aid spice grinder attachment.

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