Tofu Pad Prik King is crisp green beans and tofu, stir-fried in spicy red curry sauce. With just 7 ingredients and 30 minutes, you can create this delicious, restaurant-quality Thai dish at home. Get ready for some take-IN!
At a recent visit to a local Thai restaurant, I asked our server a question about the color of the curry I planned to order. She answered my question (red), but also went on to suggest another dish I might like: Tofu Pad Prik King. Always down to try a new dish at a good restaurant, I took a chance, and discovered a new Thai favorite and an awesome quick weeknight meal!
Pad Prik King (or Phat Phrik Khing) is a Thai dish with dry stir-fried green beans in red curry sauce, garnished with Kaffir lime leaves. It can be made with different proteins, including shrimp, chicken, and tofu. I’ve only ever had it with tofu, because there’s just no substitute for the crispy-chewy texture of fried tofu cubes, soaked in all that savory sauce.
Don’t like tofu? This might be the dish that wins you over.
Using Kaffir lime leaves
My love of the bright, citrusy flavor of Kaffir lime can’t be overstated. Noah uses them in Tom Kha Gai soup, a Thai coconut chicken soup with galangal and Kaffir lime leaves. It’s a seriously great soup and I promise to post it on this site sometime!
Kaffir lime leaves are somewhat tough and fibrous, especially where the stem runs down the center of the leaf, so I was skeptical about their inclusion in a dish, not just as a flavoring that’s later removed, as with the aforementioned soup. It turns out that as long as you slice the leaves very thinly – chiffonade them – they are easy to eat and impart a lot of citrus flavor.
Here is a video demonstrating a good method for removing the tough center stem, and chiffonading the leaves.
I wouldn’t use the knife he uses; a very sharp chef’s knife (affiliate link) would be a better choice.
Making Tofu Pad Prik King
I’ve found a few ways to speed up the prep of this dish, so you can make it in about 20 minutes.
- Start some jasmine rice in a separate pan before you begin the stir-fry. It should be ready just about when the Pad Prik King is done.
- I use pre-washed and pre-trimmed green beans. I don’t buy a lot of pre-cut veggies – I usually like prepping vegetables – but there’s something tedious about trimming individual green beans.
- Use super-firm tofu, the firmest you can find. Firmer tofu contains less water, so it takes less time to press the water out. Firmer tofu also holds together better during frying. Feel free to use pre-cubed super-firm tofu if you can find it. Gently press the cubes with a clean towel to remove as much moisture as you can.
- Measure the brown sugar, fish sauce, and water into a small dish so you can quickly pour them into the pan all at once.
Finally, a note about red curry paste. We tried two different kinds in this recipe, and our favorite is Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste.
I would characterize the second kind we tried as a more authentic Thai curry paste. It’s delicious, and we use it in other recipes. But it is unbelievably hot. The same amount of curry paste is easily twice as spicy as the Thai Kitchen brand. That’s the brand this recipe calls for. If you’re substituting a hotter curry paste, you can use less. You may have to increase the water a bit to compensate.
I hope you like this recipe as much as my little photobomber likes sticking his fingers in the rice.
Quick Weeknight Tofu Pad Prik King (Phat Phrik Khing)
- 1 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 (14 oz) package extra firm tofu pressed and cubed
- 4-5 kaffir lime leaves chiffonaded, divided
- 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste (Thai Kitchen brand recommended)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
- hot Jasmine rice, for serving
- If making Jasmine rice, start cooking it before you begin your stir-fry.
- Meanwhile, heat a wok or skillet on high heat. Add peanut oil.
- Add tofu cubes and stir fry until light brown. If necessary, cook tofu cubes in two batches to avoid overcrowding.
- Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. There should be some oil remaining in the pan.
- Add red curry paste and half of kaffir lime leaves to the oil. Stir fry for about one minute.
- Add brown sugar, water, and fish sauce. Stir to combine.
- Add green beans and toss to coat with sauce. Cook beans, stirring often, for about 6-8 minutes or until tender-crisp.
- Reduce heat to low. Stir in tofu until well-coated with sauce. Sprinkle with remainder of kaffir lime leaves.
- Serve with hot Jasmine rice.