Thai Tofu Green Curry is a total taste sensation. Made to a traditional recipe learnt in Thailand, it is authentic and really packs in the flavour! Just how it is supposed to be. If you love Thai curries, try this Tofu Massaman too.
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Thai food is our thing – Thai food is one of our specialities! And one of our favourite cuisines so you can rest assured that this recipe is the real-deal. We have spent months travelling in Thailand as it’s one of our favourite countries, so this tofu green curry is made the authentic way. It may not look the greenest, but that’s because it is supposed to be a very pale green. It gets its name from being made with green chillies, not for being vibrantly green in colour (so don’t be fooled by people packing in coriander or spinach into theirs – it’s not authentic and not needed). For more authentic Thai vegan curries try our Thai Yellow Curry, Red Curry and even Panang Curry.
- Traditional recipe but plant-based – tofu (or beancurd) is a traditional ingredient in Thailand and it’s used all over the country in so many Thai dishes. So it makes sense that this would be a tofu green curry! As we learnt to cook this dish from the locals and took cooking classes in Thailand, we use the authentic techniques to make a delicious vegan version with a couple of smart switches. Soy sauce in place of fish sauce, a vegan curry paste (no shrimp paste in it) and if you’re making your own paste – use miso paste, to replace the traditional shrimp paste.
- Famous for a reason – Thai green curry is one of the most famous Thai dishes for a reason. It is the spiciest Thai curry, although people often mistakenly think that Thai red curry is the spiciest, and it is probably one of the most well-known Thai dishes, right next to the classic pad Thai. It’s fragrant, fresh, spicy and creamy. Thai tofu green curry has it all!
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Green chillies – this is where the colour should come from. People often mistakenly put fresh coriander into their Thai green curry paste, but that is not traditional and massively changes the flavour of the paste!
- Kaffir lime – this is synonymous with the taste and smell of Thailand for us – beautifully fragrant and an irreplaceable ingredient if you want to achieve an authentic tasting tofu green curry.
- Light soy – it’s not overly salty and doesn't darken the colour of the curry too much. That creamy green colour is known as "sweet green" in Thai and dark soy makes it too murky. To contrast this though, one of the Thai cooking schools we attended recommended using an equal amount of both light and dark soy sauce when cooking this Thai curry. Although we enjoyed the flavour of this method, we find that it darkens the colour too much, and it becomes brown rather than green. Fish sauce is the traditional ingredient to use for saltiness in green curry. It is possible to find vegan fish sauce now – it's great if you have it, but try 2 tbsp because it is pretty salty.
- Brown sugar – actually, it would be common in Thailand to use palm sugar (not related to palm oil). However, palm sugar isn’t widely used outside of Asia, so brown sugar is the next best thing. If you are keen to try palm sugar, hit up your local oriental supermarket where you’ll find all kinds of amazing ingredients – this is also where we find our kaffir lime leaves and they often sell vegan Thai curry pastes too.
- Tofu – it would be a tofu green curry without the tofu! We actually recommend frying off the tofu first. Either in the air fryer or in a frying pan with a splash of oil. It gives the tofu a great crispy outside and a lovely golden colour.
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements to make this tofu and vegetable green curry recipe.
🔪 Step-by-step Instructions
This is a step-by-step overview with photos for making a tofu green curry. The full recipe, along with measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
First, if you’re making the paste, chuck all the paste ingredients in a blender, and blitz until smooth. Alternatively, pound by hand in a pestle and mortar if you want the traditional experience. If the paste looks a bit dry and isn’t blending, add an extra splash of oil or water.
1. Optional: once the tofu has been chopped into chunks, either air fry for 10 minutes until crispy or fry them in a frying pan until golden. Then set aside. You can also just use the tofu straight from the packet without browning it, we just like the added firmness when frying tofu.
2. Heat your wok over a hot stove, then add a splash of oil. Next add in all of the paste and stir for a few minutes. Then add the ginger and garlic then stir for a few more minutes.
3. Add in the coconut cream. Your kitchen will become fragrant with Thai spices.
4. Pop in the in the kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass, then pour in the coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for five minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Add in all the vegetables and the tofu. Then it's time for the soy sauce and sugar, then simmer gently for another 5 minutes.
Give it a taste and add a bit more sugar if it's too spicy, chilli if you want it spicier or soy sauce if it needs to be saltier.
6. Remove the kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass, then serve with rice. It would usually be served with Jasmine rice but whatever rice you have will work just fine. Alternatively, try serving with pineapple fried rice – another Thai classic! Or checkout these Thai vegetable side dishes for more inspiration.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Paste tips – if you’re making your own paste, we really recommend popping to an oriental supermarket and picking up some galangal. It’s part of the ginger family but doesn’t taste like ginger! It tastes kind of floral and zesty. A very unusual but amazing ingredient that packs a punch in a vegan green curry paste. Alternatively, it can be found in jars in all major supermarkets. We use the brand Thai Taste for galangal in a jar. If you can’t find it, it’s best to leave it out rather than replace it.
- Tofu – first of all, tofu is a well used ingredient all across Thailand. So making a tofu green curry could even be called authentic! It’s important to use extra-firm tofu or firm tofu (but make sure it’s not firm silken tofu, which is a different thing altogether!). If using firm tofu, it will need pressing beforehand so that you get a good texture. If it’s pre-pressed, like the tofu by Tofoo, it can be used straight from the packet. As mentioned above, we recommend frying the tofu off first, but that’s an optional step.
- Versatile veg – the types of veg that work in a Thai veg green curry are endless – we use cauliflower, broccoli and carrot. Traditional options are Thai eggplants or pea aubergines but are harder to find where we live. Sweet potato, sugar snap peas and baby corn all work really well.
- Use shop-bought paste – we include a recipe to make the Thai green curry paste yourself in the recipe card below. While making the paste yourself is rewarding, and we don't think you can beat it, but we can't deny it uses a lot of ingredients and adds time to the recipe. Fortunately vegan green curry pastes exist now, and they’re quite easy to find in shops. So you can use one of those instead! Check for non-vegan ingredients, especially shrimp paste. We recommend Mae Jum or Thai Taste for a vegan green curry paste.
Even Thai veg green curry isn’t usually vegan, but this tofu green curry is! Often it’s the curry paste that isn’t vegan when it comes to getting a vegetable Thai green curry in a restaurant. If the green curry paste is made without shrimp paste, and soy sauce is used instead of fish sauce in the green curry itself, then it should be vegan!
Hands down, extra-firm tofu. Buy the pre-pressed stuff (like Tofoo), otherwise, it needs to be pressed in a tofu press for a couple of hours. Whatever you do, don’t use silken tofu in your tofu green curry! That won’t end well.
Yes, tofu green curry freezes well for up to three months. Pop it in an airtight container and label it to help you later!
Top Tip: if you love this recipe, check out our e-cookbook Vegan Thai Food Made Easy. It's packed with 21 original Vegan Punks recipes featuring curries, curry pastes, stir fries and even the most popular Thai dessert, as well as 3 BONUS recipes!
🍛 Serving suggestions
🇹🇭 More Thai recipes to try
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Vegan Thai Green Curry
For the Thai green curry paste:
- 4 green chillies
- 4 green bird eye chillies
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 inch ginger
- 1 inch galangal
- 1 stick lemongrass
- 2 shallots
- 4 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp white miso
- 3 tbsp groundnut oil
For the vegan curry:
- 250 g extra-firm tofu
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp Thai green curry paste (or whole amount if making your own)
- 1 tbsp ginger – finely chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic
- 3 tbsp coconut cream
- 1 kaffir lime leaf
- 1 stick lemongrass – bashed
- 800 ml coconut milk
- 125 g broccoli – cut
- 125 g cauliflower – cut into florets
- 300 g carrots – sliced
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- If you’re making the paste, chuck all the paste ingredients in a blender, and blitz until smooth. Alternatively, pound by hand in a pestle and mortar if you want the traditional experience. If the paste looks a bit dry and isn’t blending, add an extra splash of oil or water.4 green chillies, 4 green bird eye chillies, 6 kaffir lime leaves, 1 inch ginger, 1 inch galangal, 1 stick lemongrass, 2 shallots, 4 clove garlic, 1 tbsp cumin powder, 1 tbsp white miso, 3 tbsp groundnut oil
- Optional: once the tofu has been chopped into chunks, either air fry for 10 minutes until crispy or fry them in a frying pan until golden. Then set aside. You can also just use the tofu straight from the packet without browning it, we just like the added firmness when frying tofu.250 g extra-firm tofu
- Heat your wok over a hot stove, then add a splash of oil.1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Next add in all of the paste and stir for a few minutes with the coconut cream. Your kitchen will become fragrant with Thai spices.3 tbsp coconut cream, 3 tbsp Thai green curry paste
- Add in the kaffir lime leaf, ginger, lemongrass and the garlic then stir for a few more minutes.1 tbsp ginger, 1 tbsp garlic, 1 kaffir lime leaf, 1 stick lemongrass
- Pour in the coconut milk, all the vegetables and the tofu.800 ml coconut milk, 125 g broccoli, 125 g cauliflower, 300 g carrots
- Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for five minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the soy sauce and sugar, then simmer gently for another 5 minutes. Give it a taste and add a bit more sugar if it's too spicy, or chilli if you want it spicier!1 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- Remove the kaffir lime leaf and lemongrass, then serve with rice. It would usually be served with Jasmine rice but whatever rice you have will work just fine!
- If making the curry paste, and can’t find galangal (related to ginger and turmeric root), then just omit. It can usually be found in oriental supermarkets or in small jars in major supermarkets.
- Mix up the vegetables based on what you have in the fridge. There’s no fixed veggies that are needed.
- If using firm tofu, not extra-firm, it’s best to press it for a couple of hours before cooking.
- Tofu green curry keeps in the fridge for three days in an airtight container, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be aware that tofu will become firmer and chewier once frozen and reheated.
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