Friday, June 11, 2010

Celebratory Tofu!

John's leaving tomorrow (okay, I'm slow at posting . . . he left yesterday) to go hike Mt. Whitney with some friends, and as a bon voyage dinner, I made him one of our favorite meals: Curried Tofu! A while back, we were trying to make something like the curried tofu at Malaya on Collier Rd. and stumbled up on a Thai Tofu dish in Vegetarian Planet. It's now one of our celebration meals. It takes a while to prepare, but I think this time I figured out to making it go smoothly . . . preparing in advance.

Early in the day, I did the prep work - making the sauce & chopping the veggies. I even cooked the tofu.

Here's the sauce:
1 1/2 tsp lime zest (Here's where the microplane makes this a piece of cake!)
2/3 cup cilantro leaves (somewhat packed)
2-3 cloves garlic, cut in half
1/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts

Pulse all that in a food processor. I use my mini-cuisinart here. It's the perfect size.
Next, add the liquids. The top to the mini-prep makes this easy, as it has two cavities with a hole in each side, allowing you to pour a couple of tablespoons of liquid as you process, and the liquid drips down in a steady stream into the work bowl.

1 Tbs fish sauce
3 Tbs hot chili sauce (see the picture up above for the kind I use)
3 Tbs vegetable oil

You'll end up with something that looks like this:
Then I drained, patted with paper towels (to remove the extra moisture), and cut up my firm tofu:
First I layed it on its side and cut into 4 patties.
Then I flipped it back to its base and cut into pieces, like so . . .
Fry these babies up in 1 Tbs vegetable oil over medium heat. It takes a while for them to get golden brown - maybe 10 minutes for the first side, but they'll get there.
Flip and get the 2nd side golden. Then pull them out of the skillet and drain on paper towels.
While these are cooking, you can cut your veggies.

3 cups broccoli - I use 2 or 3 stalks, chopping off pieces, peeling the stalk, and chopping them too. (I LOVE the stalk of broccoli even more so than the florets) I may end up with more than 3 cups. I dunno. I don't really measure.

1 bunch green onions (aka scallions), chopped thinly.

All of the above, I did ahead of time. I think it took me about an hour. Then we went swimming and came home and finished everything else in about 30 minutes. Leave the pan on the stove that you used to cook the tofu, leaving the remaining oil in there. You'll need that for later.

Coconut Scallion Rice
Bring to a boil:
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups lite coconut milk (you can use the regular, just make sure you shake it well to get the solids to be incorporated into the liquid)
1 tsp salt

Add 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice (or basmati). Reduce the heat to the lowest you can, cover, and simmer. (My stove has an ultra-low setting that kicks the gas off for 10 seconds or so, then kicks it back on, every so often. I use this.) Set your timer for 25 minutes.

Pulling it all together
In your tofu skillet, turn the heat up to medium high, until it's hot. Add your broccoli and 1/2 cup water, cover it, and steam the broccoli for about 3 minutes. Remove the lid, add the curried sauce that you made. Stir and mix for a minute or so, then add the tofu back to the pan, stirring until all are heated through.

When the timer goes off for the rice, turn off the heat, remove the lid, add the scallions, and stir until incorporated.

Serve the tofu and veggies over a mound of coconut scallion rice. Mmm . . . it's so good! If you'd like, garnish with a bit of cilantro, but I always forget this part.

Well, by now, John is camping at his base camp. He'll wake up early to begin hiking by 4:45 a.m. (California time). Let's all take a moment to send him good vibes and well wishes. Now if I can only think of what to fix him when he returns. Any ideas?


  1. return meal: homemade pizza! (like a yummy white pizza with fontina cheese and fresh tomatoes and basil, etc... or maybe a "thai chicken" pizza with a yummy peanut sauce, roasted red bells, carrots, and scallions... and if you don't want to make the dough, you can get it from Whole Foods... or is that cheating?) Just a thought.