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This one-pot tofu yellow curry recipe is creamy, comforting, and satisfying with tofu, potato, carrot, broccoli, bell pepper, and onion. A delicious, nutritious, 45-minute weeknight dinner!
Low-Budget, High-Flavor Satisfying Tofu Yellow Curry
As much as we love our recipe for crockpot red curry, this simple vegan yellow curry recipe (from our cookbook, The Friendly Vegan Cookbook) is perfect for serving a crowd – especially with spice-wary guests and children. When combined with canned coconut milk, it’s mild, creamy, a little bit sweet, a little spicy, and low-budget.
This yellow Thai tofu curry is full of satisfying, warm flavors and fragrant aromas. Even better, along with tasting great, it’s really easy to pull together in one pan in just 45 minutes (mostly hands-off) – perfect for busy weeknights. It’s also jam-packed with good-for-you ingredients, nutrients, and a hefty dose of plant-based protein to keep you feeling full for longer.
Best of all, you can easily tweak the flavors, experiment with different veggies, and even alternative protein sources. Once ready, serve this yellow tofu vegetable curry with a heaped portion of rice or noodles/ flatbread, and enjoy!
The Ingredients and Substitutes
- Tofu: It’s best to use extra-firm or super-firm tofu, which don’t even require pressing. Firm tofu will also work, though we prefer to press it first. Puffed tofu or even tempeh would work, too.
For a soy-free option, replace the tofu with your favorite vegan protein, like a vegan mock meat or chickpeas.
- Oil: Use your favorite cooking oil, like vegetable oil or coconut oil.
- Vegetables: Increase the color, texture, and flavor with
- Onion (yellow or white)
- Bell pepper (we used red, but any color will work)
- Carrot (thinly sliced)
- Potatoes (Yukon gold or red potatoes. Sweet potato would also work)
- Broccoli (in bite-sized florets and/or cauliflower)
- Curry paste: Use your favorite Thai yellow curry paste- we often use Mae Plot yellow curry paste. Double-check the ingredients, as some brands contain shrimp paste/ fish sauce.
- Coconut milk: Use full-fat canned coconut milk for the creamiest tofu Thai curry, though lite coconut milk will work if preferred.
- Seasonings: Most of the flavor in this easy yellow curry recipe comes from the curry paste. However, we like to boost it a little with:
- Salt (sea salt/kosher salt or use soy sauce for umami-rich saltiness)
- Red pepper flakes (added to taste – or fresh red chilies)
- Brown sugar (or palm sugar – just a little to balance the flavors)
- To garnish: (Optional) chopped cilantro and lime wedges help finish off the vegan Thai yellow curry perfectly.
If you plan to serve this tofu veg yellow curry with rice, we recommend using 4-6 cups of cooked rice, depending on your preferred portion size.
What Could I Add to this Yellow Tofu Curry Recipe?
- Other vegetables: It’s easy (and fun) to play with different veggies in this vegetarian yellow curry. Here are other options for this easy tofu curry.
- Green beans
- Snow peas/ sugar snap peas
- Butternut squash
- Baby corn
- Zucchini/ yellow squash
- Bok choy
- Leafy greens: Like spinach or kale, stir it in at the end to wilt.
- Nuts: i.e., cashews, almonds, or peanuts to add crunch.
- Chickpeas: Or white beans to add extra hearty, plant-based protein to the vegan yellow curry.
How to Make Tofu Yellow Curry
Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and recipe instructions.
- First, rinse, peel, and slice the carrot, bell pepper, and onion, chop the broccoli into bite-sized florets, and dice the potato into 1-inch pieces.
- Then, heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pot. Once hot, add the onion, carrots, and bell pepper, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the pepper is tender.
- Then add the potatoes and curry paste and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the coconut milk, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the broccoli and tofu, stir, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Taste and adjust any seasonings (salt, sugar, chili flakes, curry paste). For crispier tofu, pan-fry the tofu before adding it to the curry.
- Optionally, garnish the tofu potato curry with cilantro and lime wedges, then enjoy it with a side of cooked jasmine rice/ brown rice or quinoa and flatbread/bread.
Leave the vegan yellow curry to cool, and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
You can also freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months in an airtight container or Ziplock bag/s (spread flat and excess air squeezed out). Leave it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Note that the texture of tofu changes when frozen and thawed, becoming spongier/meatier- some people even prefer it that way.
When you want to reheat the vegan tofu curry, do so in the microwave (2-3 minutes, stirring halfway) or gently on the stove. Add water/coconut milk if it’s too thick.
All three are types of Thai curry paste made with common ingredients like lemongrass, garlic, and galangal. They are then differentiated with extra ingredients that affect their color and overall flavor/heat levels.
For example, red curry is a vibrant red color made using red chilies. Meanwhile, green curry (which is hotter) is made with a combination of green chilies, kaffir lime, and several types of green herbs (like Thai basil and cilantro). Yellow curry is the mildest of all three, relying on turmeric to provide a golden color.
Thai yellow curry is a creamy, fairly mild curry dish made with flavors like cumin, turmeric, cilantro, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and chili. Combined with coconut milk, it’s a rich, creamy curry with a somewhat sweet, mild flavor (but plenty of aromatics). It’s perfect for serving the entire family!
Honestly, it comes down to personal taste. However, Mae Ploy and Aroy-D are both very popular vegan options. If you have the chance, making your own yellow curry paste is even better, as you can tweak it to your exact flavor preferences.
Pro Recipe Tips
- Sauté the paste until fragrant: That is an important step to bloom the herbs and spices, releasing their flavor while cooking out any raw taste.
- Change the flavor profile: Simply substitute the yellow curry paste with green or red curry paste to easily change the flavor and heat level.
- Adjust the intensity: By adjusting how much curry paste you use.
- Experiment with add–ins: Just note the vegetables must be added in order of their cooking time, so nothing ends up raw or overly mushy.
- Don’t boil coconut milk: Otherwise, you risk it splitting in the curry.
- Adjust the consistency: For a thinner tofu yellow curry, add some water/plant-based milk. To thicken it, simmer it for longer (lid off) to reduce OR add 1 tbsp of cornstarch slurry.
- For crockpot yellow curry: Follow our recipe for this crockpot red curry, using yellow curry paste instead.
More Vegan Curry Recipes
- Pumpkin Curry
- Vegan coconut curry with apples
- Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potato curry)
- Cauliflower, sweet potato, and mushroom curry
- Butternut squash curry
- Creamy curry pasta
- Tempeh Katsu Curry
- Wooden Spoon
- Large Pot
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- My favorite knives
- Can opener
- Individual Bowls
One-Pot Tofu Yellow Curry
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper sliced
- 2 carrots sliced
- 2 large yukon or russet potatoes about 1 pound, cut into 1-inch bite-sized pieces
- ⅓ cup of yellow curry paste
- 2 13.5-ounce cans of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon of packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes adjust according to your spice preference
- 2 cups of bite-sized broccoli pieces
- 1 16-ounce block of extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into bite-sized cubes
- 4-6 cups of cooked white or brown rice
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over mediumhigh heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and carrots, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bell pepper is tender.
- Add the potatoes and curry paste and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour in the coconut milk, and stir in the brown sugar, salt, and red chili pepper flakes.
- Bring to a boil and cover. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the broccoli and tofu and continue simmering, covered, for 15 more minutes.
- Serve with the rice.
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