Curried tofu with steamed veggies and rice for a spicy entree on Meatless Monday
Curried tofu is like super tofu -- the "bland" flavor that many people find dull is eliminated with an explosion of spices. (Especially if you toast the cumin seeds yourself and grind them -- yum.) This recipe is adapted from Moosewood New Classics; we're cutting down slightly on the tofu and adding steamed vegetables to help the curry stretch to serve a few more people. The recipe in the book says it serves three; we could feed five to six people with our bounty, especially when the curried tofu is put on top of long-grain brown rice.
You will need:
1 cake firm tofu (10 to 16 ounces; we used 10)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves
8-9 pearl onions
1 fresh green chile
2 teaspoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup of water (maybe more)
5-6 fingerling potatoes
1/4 head cauliflower
3 small carrots
Brown rice (or couscous, or quinoa, or any other kind of grain you want to serve with curried tofu)
Rinse rice before placing it in the rice cooker with water and turning on the cooker. (Or start whatever grain you'd like to eat with the curried tofu.)
1. Toast the cumin seeds over medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant and lightly popping.
Grind the cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle to a fine powder.
2. Drain the tofu and line a plate with paper towels (or a clean regular towel or two). Place the tofu on top.
Layer more paper towels (or regular towels) on top of the tofu and then add another plate. Stack cans, juice bottles, anything heavy you can get your hands on atop the plate to provide pressure, draining and pressing the tofu. Leave it while you continue working.
3. Peel the carrots, scrub the potatoes and wash the cauliflower and cut them all into bite-sized pieces. Steam in a basket over boiling water for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender.
4. Chop the green chile.
Peel and quarter the pearl onions.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet and then add the onions.
Add the chile and press the garlic in, too. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden-brown.
5. By now, your tofu should be well-pressed. Slice it into cubes (or you can crumble it into the skillet).
When the onions are clear and starting to brown, it's time to add the spices.
Add the curry paste, turmeric, cumin and soy sauce -- and even a splash of water, if you like -- and mix together, then remove from the heat.
6. Now throw the tofu in the skillet and return to a low heat, cooking for ten minutes or so, stirring every few minutes.
You'll want to make sure it's coated with the curry sauce.
By now, the veggies should be steamed.
Add them to the curry mixture.
Toss everything together and cook for another five to ten minutes.
Serve on top of rice or your other favorite grain -- you can even stuff this inside a pita. No one will think tofu is bland after trying it this way!
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