1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 pint peas, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
12-oz. pkg. extra-firm tofu or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch strips
2 (14-oz.) cans lite coconut milk
2 Tbsp. red Thai curry paste
1 large onion, chopped
1 pint Thai eggplants, quartered
Press the tofu, if using, by wrapping it in paper towels and placing in a colander under a heavy plate for half an hour. When finished, cut into 1-inch cubes.
Meanwhile, shake cans of coconut milk well, then open. Pour 1/2 of 1 can into large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk in curry paste until well blended. Add onion, eggplant and bell pepper, stirring well with rubber spatula (to prevent breaking tender eggplant during cooking) and scraping bottom of pan.
Add remaining 1 1/2 cans coconut milk, sugar, vinegar, tamari and salt, stirring with spatula to mix well. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.
Add tofu or chicken to curry mixture, stirring with spatula to mix. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes for tofu or 8-10 for chicken. Add peas and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot with rice or noodles.