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Tofu Coconut Curry

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This fiery Tofu Coconut Curry will take you to the tropics! Tender and crispy pan-fried tofu is paired with a creamy red pepper coconut sauce that’s infused with smoky, sweet, and spicy flavors.

Coconut Caribbean Tofu in bowl with white rice, garnished with lime wedge and cilantro

When I say this Tofu Coconut Curry is packed with flavor, I mean packed with flavor. The coconut milk-based sauce is simmered with habanero pepper, fresh ginger, garlic, smoked paprika, and brown sugar—and if that sounds good, let me tell you: it tastes even better!

This sauce is perfect for pairing with tofu, which takes on any flavors you add to it. Think tofu is bland and boring? You won’t after making this recipe!

Best of all, Tofu Coconut Curry comes together in just about 30 minutes from start to finish, so it’s an easy meal for a weeknight dinner. It’s also great for divvying into containers with black beans and rice for a week of meal prep lunches!

ingredients for tofu coconut curry: tofu, roasted red bell peppers, habanero pepper, ginger, spices, oil, salt, butter, garlic, coconut milk, and onions

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to pick up to make this Tofu Coconut Curry Recipe.

For the Sauce:

  • Butter – Use dairy-free if you want to make this recipe vegan.
  • Yellow onion
  • Habanero – The habanero is a big player here, and yes, it is spicy! You can use half of a pepper if you like, but I don’t recommend omitting it. For a milder tofu recipe, try my Tofu and Shiitake Coconut Curry Bowls.
  • Fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Smoked paprika
  • Brown sugar
  • Sea salt
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Full-fat coconut milk – Full-fat coconut milk is thicker and creamier than lite coconut milk, so I recommend sticking with the full-fat variety.
  • Cilantro

For the Tofu:

Do you need gloves to cut habanero peppers?

Yes, I highly recommend using thick rubber gloves when cutting the habanero pepper for this recipe. A pepper this hot can irritate your skin, and if you rub your eyes or touch your face with the residue still on your hands, you’ll deeply regret it! Burns from hot peppers are no joke and they can be incredibly painful.

Overhead view of Coconut Caribbean Tofu in bowl with white rice

How to Make Tofu Coconut Curry

If you plan on serving this tofu with rice, start it just before you begin cooking the tofu.

Prepare the tofu. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and pat them dry with a paper towel. 

Cook the tofu. Heat the oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side, until both sides are golden brown and crispy. Season with salt and transfer to a plate.

Sauté the onion. To the same skillet, add the butter and onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are softened and translucent. 

Make the sauce. Add the habanero, ginger, garlic cloves, paprika, brown sugar, and sea salt to the skillet with the onions. Cook for a minute, or until fragrant, then add the pureed roasted red peppers and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly thickened. 

Finish. Season the sauce with additional salt, if needed, and stir in the tofu and cilantro.

Coconut Caribbean Tofu in skillet with wooden spoon

How Do You Cook Tofu So It Doesn’t Fall Apart?

When you’re pan-frying the tofu in the skillet, don’t flip it until the bottom is golden brown. Make sure you use enough oil to fully coat the bottom of the pan, and use a cast iron or nonstick skillet if you have one.

Tips for Success

This recipe is pretty straight-forward, but these tips will help make sure it turns out perfect.

  • Use the correct tofu. For this recipe, it’s important to buy refrigerated tofu, not shelf-stable silken tofu. Silken tofu is softer and doesn’t have the right texture for this recipe.
  • Dry the tofu well. This will keep the oil from spattering when you add the tofu to the pan.
  • Make it a meal. Pair Coconut Caribbean Tofu with rice, quinoa, or any other cooked grain that you like or have on hand.
Coconut Caribbean Tofu in bowl with white rice and fork

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate them for 4 to 5 days. Tofu coconut curry can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium-low heat.

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

This recipe freezes well! Place it in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months. It can be reheated from frozen or thawed in the refrigerator first for faster cooking time.

More tofu recipes to enjoy

Coconut Caribbean Tofu in bowl with white rice, garnished with lime wedge and cilantro

Tofu Coconut Curry

This fiery tofu dish will take you to the tropics! Tender and crisp tofu is paired with a creamy coconut sauce, and it all comes together in 30 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, if vegan, use dairy-free – I use Miyokos
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 habanero, minced
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers packed in water, drained and pureed
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • Cilantro, for topping

Tofu:

  • 1 ½ pounds extra-firm tofu, pressed
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Instructions

For the tofu:

  • Cut the tofu into 1” cubes and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Season with salt and set aside.

For the sauce:

  • To the same skillet add the vegan butter and onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes unti the onions are translucent.
  • Add in the habanero, ginger, garlic cloves, paprika, brown sugar, and sea salt. Cook another minute then add in the pureed roasted red peppers and coconut milk.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes until slightly reduced. Season with additional salt to your taste.
  • Add in the tofu and top with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

How to store and reheat leftovers: Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for 4 to 5 days. Tofu coconut curry can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
Freezing instructions: Place in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen or thaw in the refrigerator first for faster cooking time.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 311 kcal | Carbohydrates: 14 g | Protein: 15 g | Fat: 23 g | Saturated Fat: 12 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g | Cholesterol: 1 mg | Sodium: 2162 mg | Potassium: 623 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 5 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: easy vegan dinner, easy vegan meals, tofu recipes
Recipe Rating




Heather

Saturday 14th of January 2023

We loved the Tofu Coconut Curry. It was delicious! Very flavourful and I like the roasted red peppers in it. Will definitely make this again.