This Creamy Peanut Butter Coconut Curry uses basic long life pantry and freezer items. Curry paste, tinned tomatoes, tinned beans, coconut milk and frozen veggies all get incorporated into this wholesome and hearty curry. And don’t forget that all-important peanut butter for extra creamy flavour!
When I asked you guys on my Instagram stories last week what recipes you needed right now, the most common request was for recipes that used up basic pantry ingredients.
With the crazy things happening at the moment, more people are cooking at home and more people are needing to cook recipes that use simple and accessible ingredients. Even getting to the supermarket is a bit tricky, so it makes sense that we also try to make the most of items with a longer shelf-life so we don’t have to go out as often.
Okay, that’s all the doom and gloom chat you’re going to get out of me here. Because I’ve got a delicious, creamy Peanut Butter Coconut Curry recipe for you.
This is a simple, flexible recipe that uses all of those staples:
- Tinned tomatoes
- Canned coconut milk
- Peanut butter
- Soy sauce (or tamari)
- Tinned beans
- Frozen veggies
Actually – that’s almost the whole ingredients list! The other ingredients you need are an onion, curry paste, some kind of additional protein and a sweetener.
- The protein can be pretty much anything but I recommend tofu, tempeh, prawns, fish or chicken as they have the quickest cooking time. Beef or pork are yummy too, however when they’re in a curry they need to be cooked for a long time (like a few hours) so the meat becomes flaky and tender. Also, you can also just add extra beans or veggies to the curry if you don’t want to add another ingredient.
- For the sweetener, I used coconut sugar because that’s what I had in the pantry, but brown sugar, rapadura sugar or even just standard white sugar can be substituted. Flexibility is key here!
In the curry pictured, I used a Thai panang curry paste (the brand Mae Ploy, which is my favourite curry paste brand). However, you could also use red curry paste, yellow curry paste or an Indian-style curry paste like a tikka masala paste.
Essentially, you need a mild-to-moderate heat curry paste that’s going to play well with the flavours of tomato, coconut and peanut. I haven’t tried the recipe with curry powder instead of paste yet, but I suspect that would also work in a pinch. If you use curry powder to make this, leave me a comment below so I know how it turns out!
Making this Peanut Butter Coconut Curry is incredibly simple. Brown the onion, add curry paste and cook for a few minutes until fragrant, and then…basically bung everything else into the pot and simmer it.
If you are going to use tofu for your protein, there is one additional (but easy) step I recommend so that you get nice firm chunks of tofu – and that is to bake the tofu in the oven before adding it to the curry. It becomes more firm, less watery (I HATE watery tofu) and gets slightly crisp edges. Kind of like those fried tofu puffs you get in takeaway? And I think it soaks up the flavour of the curry better too.
To bake the tofu, remove tofu from packaging, pat out excess moisture with a paper towel or tea towel, and cut into small cubes. Gently toss in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, spread out over a tray lined with baking paper and bake in the oven at 180C (350F) for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy at the edges. Then it’s ready to go into the curry.
Now, get out all those pantry staples and make this curry, then take a snap and tag me on Instagram so I can see it! You can find me over at @moniquecormacknutrition 🙂
- 1 onion – red or brown, either works
- 2-3 tbsp curry paste – adjust depending on how spicy you want it. See notes below for curry paste suggestions
- 400 mL coconut milk – one standard can of coconut milk
- 200 grams tinned chopped tomatoes – half a standard tin of tomatoes
- 4 tbsp peanut butter
- 400 grams 4 bean mix or other tinned beans – one standard tin of beans
- 3-4 cups mixed vegetables – I used frozen vegetables but you can use fresh
- 300 grams extra firm tofu or other protein of choice e.g. chicken, prawns, tempeh
- 3 tbsp soy sauce or tamari – you may need more or less than this, to adjust taste. I used gluten free soy sauce
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar, brown sugar or white sugar – you may need more or less than this, to adjust taste
- extra virgin olive oil or other oil, for cooking
- Remove tofu from packaging, pat out excess moisture with a paper towel or tea towel, and cut into small cubes. Gently toss in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, spread out over a tray lined with baking paper and bake in the oven at 180C (350F) for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy at the edges. Continue making the curry while the tofu is baking.
- Dice the onion. Heat a wok up to a moderate-high heat and add 1 tbsp oil. Sauté the onion until softened and starting to brown. Add the curry paste and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, peanut butter and vegetables. Stir to combine. Reduce the heat of the stove and let the curry simmer, stirring occasionally so the peanut butter melts into the sauce. Once the vegetables have softened, add the tinned beans (drained and rinsed!) and the cooked tofu, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Taste test and season the curry using the soy sauce and sugar. I recommend starting with 2 tbsp of each and then adding more if needed. The salty soy sauce helps bring out the flavours of the curry, while the sugar balances out the heat and acidity.
- Serve the curry over your favourite rice. If you have some crushed peanuts at home, sprinkle them on top!