Thai Tofu Salad and Spicy Peanut and Coconut Curry Dressing

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

Suggested Use:
A mildly hot chile. Use in sauces, salsa, soups and your favorite chile. A little goes a long way.

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Serves 4.

You will need:
For the dressing
– 6 large dried red chiles, seeds removed
– ⅓ cup chopped shallots/onions
– 7 cloves garlic
– 1/2 tsp coriander powder
– 1 cup coconut milk
– ½ cup water
– ½ cup roasted peanuts, crushed coarsely
– 4 tbsp tamarind juice
– 3 tbsp palm sugar, finely chopped, packed
– ¾ tsp salt (this is a substitute for fish sauce)

For the salad – suggestions only, feel free to use whatever greens and vegetables you like.
– Carrots, cucumbers, icerberg lettuce, deep-fried/baked tofu, fried onions, boiled eggs (cooked for 9-10 minutes in salted boiling water).

For the dressing:
– In a spice grinder/small jar of food proccessor, grind the red chiles into a fine powder.

– Add the chopped onions, garlic and coriander powder to the red chillis and grind to a paste.

– In a pan, boil 1/4 cup of the coconut milk till it reduces to half. Add the remaining coconut milk, the ground paste, water, crushed peanuts, tamarind juice, salt and palm sugar.

– Reduce heat to medium and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Make sure you stir it often to prevent burning at the bottom. Remove from heat when the oil starts to separate and float at the top.

– Let cool completely and refrigerate for up to a week in an airtight container.

For the salad:
– Add the prepared vegetables, boiled egg, tofu and fried onions into a bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.