My sister and cousins and I have a favorite Thai restaurant in St. Louis that we frequent as often as we can afford it, and probably sometimes when we can't, but our love of Thai curry usually trumps an empty wallet. We each have our usual; my cousins like Masman, my sister prefers yellow curry, and I love the panaang. Of course, for the times when I truly can't afford restaurant Thai food, I have my stock of panaang curry paste at home; a small container that costs $1.79 at an international grocery will literally last you until you can't remember when you bought it. When I made this dish, I was getting ready to move out of my apartment, and I was trying to use all of the food I had in the house already without buying new ingredients, so I grabbed the half empty package of thin rice noodles, some frozen broccoli, half of a red bell pepper, and the fried tofu I'd bought the week before and got to work. Note that this recipe is completely adaptable to whatever type of curry paste you like the best, and with whatever vegetables or meat that you want to add. You could buy extra firm tofu, press it, and bake it instead of using fried tofu as well. What I ended up with was a very delicious and panaang-y noodle bowl that was fast and filling.
Panaang Curry Noodle Bowl with Fried Tofu, Broccoli, and Peppers
1 - 2 tbsp. Panaang curry paste (to taste and depending on how much spice you like)
1 small can of coconut milk (the ones that are roughly 6 ounces)
1/2 - 1 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
5 - 15 sprays of Bragg's GF Soy Sauce, to taste
1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli, defrosted
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1 small block of fried tofu, chopped into bite-size pieces (OR extra firm tofu, pressed, chopped, and baked if you don't want to use fried tofu)
1/3 package thin rice noodles
Cook noodles as directed on package by placing them in boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes. Strain the noodles, then rinse with cold water and leave them in cold water in the pot so they won't stick. Place the fried tofu on a lined cookie sheet in the oven at about 400 F and bake until the tofu is puffed up and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside. In a small pot, heat the curry paste for about 30 seconds, and then add the small can of coconut milk and soy milk or creamer. Stir to mix well and adjust the taste as desired. Add the Bragg's gluten-free soy sauce to taste. Place the fresh or defrosted broccoli and bell pepper into the sauce and cook over medium heat for about 5 - 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add more soy milk/creamer if you need more of the curry sauce. Place the desired amount of fried tofu into the pot and stir to mix. Drain the rice noodles and add them to the sauce, stirring to coat. Be sure to add them in portions so you don't add more than what your sauce will coat. Garnish with another dab of coconut milk if desired and serve.