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Corn Simmered in Coconut Milk with Thai Basil and Golden Tofu

September 19, 2011 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Corn Simmered in Coconut Milk with Thai Basil and Golden Tofu

Sweet corn is very good with coconut and curry. Fresh is ideal, but frozen will be fine, too. This is not the least bit complicated to make. I eat it with tofu and brown rice because I happen to like tofu, but the corn and beans are complimentary in terms of protein.  The corn would also be a great side to grilled or broiled chicken or a pork chop.  

Be sure to season the tofu with salt and pepper and to let it get nice and golden-brown in the pan. You can either have big pieces of tofu with the corn on the side, or add smaller pieces of golden tofu right to the corn.


1 to 2 tablespoons ghee or light sesame oil or other neutral oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon curry powder or a dozen curry leaves if you have them
2 bay leaves
1 jalapeno or serrano chile, diced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
3 cups sweet corn, from 5 ears, or frozen
1/2 cup organic light coconut milk, approximately
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
Thai basil, a tablespoon slivered leaves plus whole leaves for garnish
1 block firm tofu, drained and cut into slabs or cubes
a few teaspoons light sesame oil for frying


Melt the ghee or other oil in a wide skillet with the mustard seeds, curry, bay leaves, chile and ginger. Cook over medium-high heat until the mustard seeds start to sputter and pop, then add the corn and stir it about. Pour in the coconut milk, season with ½ teaspoon salt, a few turns of the pepper mill, and simmer for about 8 minutes, less if the corn was already cooked. Stir in slivered basil, lime zest and juice. Taste for salt and add more, as needed.

While the corn is cooking (or even later if that works out better for you) coat a non-stick skillet with a few teaspoons light sesame oil, then add the tofu.  Cook over medium high heat. The water in the tofu will come out and evaporate, then after several minutes, it will begin to brown. Turn carefully to brown both sides, or, if using cubes, occasionally give it a turn in the pan until golden, about 8 minutes in all. Season well with salt and pepper and add it to the corn.

Garnish with whole basil leaves and flowers, if available. Serve with brown rice if desired.

Serves 3 to 4