Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Other White Meat.

No, not Babe. And not that girl from high school. Get your mind out of the gutter. Tofu. Who doesn't love or hate tofu. There is no middle ground. Loaded with protein, calcium and iron, it is a wonder food. I don't view it as a meat substitute. I have had some very bad experiences lately with meat substitutes except for a really great recipe for faux Italian sausage .It turned out great grilled and fried but was not so great in dishes with lots of liquids like stews or pasta sauces. It was wonderful with peppers and onions on a baguette. Brought back fond memories of youth in New York. My youth not the youth. Turns out the spice combination in sausage was more important than the flavor of the pork. You should try that recipe.

Tofu can be kind of nothing as it has no taste. It takes on the flavor of what you are cooking it with. And it is important that you use the right kind of tofu and for a dish like this ,that it be drained and pressed to get rid of some of the liquid. Silken tofu is used in soups and dressings and firm and extra firm tofus are used in stir fries, scrambles, bakes and any dish where you want the tofu to hold it's shape and texture.

Tonight we make Green Thai Curry from Vegan With a Vengeance. The book was a gift from Mr. Carnivore's sister. It has not steered me wrong yet.

For the Chili Paste

2 small Thai green peppers or seranno chiles, seeded and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons crushed coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 peppercorns
1 tablespoon fresh chopped lemongrass ( I could not find so used dried)
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1 cup chopped shallots

Place peppers in a bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit for about 15 minutes.

Toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and peppercorns in a small skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Transfer to a food processor and grind to a powder.

Add all other chili paste ingredients, process until smooth and set aside

Everything Else

5 tablespoons peanut oil
1 block tofu, pressed and cut into small triangles
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced into thin half moons
1 (15oz) can coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh basil(Thai basil if you can find it. I could not)

Saute chili paste in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Then add lime juice and maple syrup and test for sweetness. Set aside.

Saute tofu in 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat in a skillet until brown on each side. Then transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. In the same skillet, saute the red bell pepper and onion until slightly tender in the rest of the oil. Place the tofu back in the pan with the peppers and onions and pour over the sauce. Cook for five minutes. Add the basil and turn off the heat and let sit for five minutes or so before serving.

This rocks! Although next time I might double up on the hot peppers.

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